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Dive Review of Marina Las Perlas/Barcelo Playa Blanca in
Panama/Gulf of Panama

December, 2004, an Instant Reader Report by Ken Robertson, Alberta, Canada
Reviewer   (5 reports)
Report Number 887
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
All over the Caribbean, Mexico (both coasts), Galapagos, Greece, Tahiti,
Cook Islands, Fiji, and Canada's West Coast
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

choppy, noCurrents  
Water Temp
83   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
10   to 15    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Very flexible with experienced divers.    
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
3 stars    
The all-inclusive Barcelo Playa Blanca resort is in an area that was once a
restricted military base of first, the Americans and then later of the
Panamanian Army. Both President's Torrijos and Noriega had residences about
one mile from our hotel.  The hotel had only been opened for about two
months  but was easily 4 stars. To the common surprise of myself and two
other experienced divers who were staying at the hotel it had no dive
operation (as advertised) and the marina owners (sub-contractors)had tried
to BS us that they were not diving because the visibility was bad. Once we
discovered what was up, we found a dive operator at the neighboring
Decameron Resort (nice place!)and arranged to dive with him.  Pablo Garrido
of Marina Las Perlas proved to be a great guy and kindly arranged some
diving for us.   The best dives we had were at Octoque and Bona Islands. 
Vis was not the greatest - but hey, we have had worst, and it was,
afterall, at the end of the rainy season there. There were more corals (but
far less than the Caribbean side)and a little less alga than we had seen
closer to the coast the day before at Farallon Island.  Saw some small
groups of large parrotfish, some juvenile jewfish, bonito, purple
surgeonfish, numerous small spotted rays, groupers, balloon fish,
triggerfish, blue striped and yellow snappers, barberfish, blennies, a
small octopus, butterflyfish, king angelfish, damsels, sergeant majors,
wrasses and trevally.  I think if I returned to Panama I would head further
up the coast toward Costa Rico - most of the locals said the diving was
definitely better there.  The canal is well worth checking out and a great
way to spend your off-gas pre-flight day. The history of the canal makes
great beach reading.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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