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Dive Review of Scuba Coiba in
Panama/Santa Catalina & Coiba

Scuba Coiba, Nov, 2007,

by Loretta Engler, OK, US ( 1 report). Report 3813.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Tonga, Fiji, Bora Bora, Cabo San Lucas, Grand Turk, Dominica, New Providence, Charleston SC, Black Canyon, Finger Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway, Curacao, Catalina, Crystal River, Bermuda, Yucatan, Komodo, Indonesia, Cocos Island, Florida Keys, Florida caverns & caves, and numerous lakes in a dozen states across the US
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather rainy Seas choppy, surge, currents
Water Temp 74 to 80 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 20 to 50 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 100 ft.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 1 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 1 stars Shore Facilities 1 stars
UW Photo Comments By no means photography friendly. No accommodations of rise bucket on boat. Despite providing prior information of our extensive photography interest we encounter that on Isla Coiba an extortion of attempting to charge $3000 a dive to film(in cash!!). We were escorted out of the area by patrol boat like a group of criminals. They also carried guns which was a bit nerve raking. Overall visibility was not good. Primitive conditions made it difficult for camera handling.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 1 stars Food 1 stars
Service and Attitude 1 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 1 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 1 stars
Comments Although there were many email exchanges with Scuba Coiba owner, Herbie Sink responses were lacking in accuracy. Despite pointed questions, he was not forthcoming in accurate information. I was told that the boats had ladders. However, they did not and it was awful pulling yourself up in the boat to encounter your face in urine smelling benches. We were also told the fee included breakfast and nothing was provided. The dive shop was shappy and the description of "primitive" would be generous.

Herbie only met us once, when we arrived to collect payment of which we were not provided all the dives we paid for. Overall there was not a focus on customer services. You were expected to carry you equipment to and from the boat. Jeremy, the Divemaster, was not enthusiastic and did the minimum. Luis, the boat captain was outstanding and very helpful.

The logistics of hotel accommodations and restaurants were not within responsible walking distance and there was no infrastructure in the town (no taxis or buses) to allow transportation to readily get around. The owner of Sol y Mar Hotel went out of his way to assist us. He is in process of openning up a dive shop as well. The beaches were dirty and litter was disturbing. Everything was hard and I lost the will to dive.

Isla Coiba accommodation were bunk house style. About the equal to camping. You need to bring everything including sheets and towels. Be ready to share with strangers. Scuba Coiba actually splurged and provided toliet paper!

This was the worse dive trip I have ever experienced. I have lived and traveled in third world countries since I was 5 years old. I found the conditions shockingly primitive for 2007 and the people overall unfriendly.
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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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