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

November, 2007, an Instant Reader Report by Loretta Engler, OK, US (1 report)
Report Number 3813
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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

choppy, surge, currents  
Water Temp
74   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
20   to 50    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
100 ft.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  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  
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):
1 stars
1 stars
Service and Attitude
1 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
1 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
1 stars   
1 stars    
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

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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All Panama Dive Reviews and Reports
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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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