Santa Catalina Panama is known as one of the best surf and dive spots in all of Central America
Santa Catalina is the best surfing spot in Panama and an amazing scuba diving location for divers who are looking to be blown away by a large variety of pelagic fish.
For surfers, Santa Catalina boasts great breaks every month of the year. The best (and biggest) waves are from February to August. Waves during these months can reach as high as 6 to 9 meters! During the low season, the average is around 2 to 3 meters. There are many breaks in and around Santa Catalina. Punta Brava and Punta Roca are about a half an hour walk away from the town. If you are searching for some bigger waves, then get a local to take you to Isla Cebaco. Locals will always ask for compensation in exchange for a boat ride. Do not pay more than 10 dollars for the ride and only pay the local after he brings you back to the mainland.
Santa Catalina is a small village located only 300 km from Panama City and lies directly on the Pacific coast of Panama. To get to there, visitors have to be very proactive in searching for bus times. First travelers must catch a bus from Panama or David and head directly to Sona. Sona is the only real town located near Santa Catalina; however travelers should try to avoid spending too much time there. Sona has absolutely nothing to offer travelers, expect for some convenience stores that are ideal for stocking up on supplies.
oasis surf camp santa catalina
Once travelers arrive in Santa Catalina, they will find many different hostels and hotels in the area. One of my favorite places is the Oasis Surf CampThe hotel is only a 10 minute walk away from the centre of Santa Catalina. The Surf Camp has everything a traveler would need and want. The large compound has bungalows located steps from the beach, a restaurant that serves Italian and Panamanian food and a beach bar. Guests can also sign up for surf lessons, rent a board, take a boat trip or just sun bathe on the large beach located just steps from their room. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on who you are) the Oasis Surf Camp is quite secluded. We didn’t have flash light at the time so we stumbled in the dark for more than an hour from our hostel to the reception bar. It was quite the adventure but I would definitely pack a (or ask reception) for a flash light if we were to repeat that adventure once more. At times the surf camp has a car that ushers travellers back and forth between the camp and the main town. If there isn’t a car than you’re in for quite the walk! 
For avid scuba divers, why not take a day trip to the famous Coiba Island. Coiba is protected by ANAM, a government organization that works to protect the environment within Panama. The island was declared a national park in 1992 and UNESCO named it a World Heritage Site in 2005. Many larger fish/mammals, such as whales, sharks and orcas, are known to frequent the waters around the island. The ecosystem surrounding Coiba is comparable to that of the Galapagos Islands.
Scuba Coiba for diver interested in diving in Coiba
Scuba Coiba for diver interested in diving in Coiba
There are two scuba diving operators that run dive trips to Coiba in Santa Catalina. Scuba Coibaand Scuba Charters are both excellent dive operators and are located just minutes apart on the main road. If surfing or scuba diving does not interest you then Santa Catalina is a great vacation destination that will allow you to momentarily forget all your troubles as you watch the beautiful sunset sink behind the horizon.
For questions about reservations at the Oasis Surf Camp please visit
in front of Beach Cabinas Rolo
Tel: +507-6575-0122 (and +507-6429-3560)

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