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Dive Review of panama divers and dutch pirate in
Panama/bocas del toro and portableo

January, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by bill mashek, ca, usa
Report Number 2337
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
mexico east and west coast, costa rica, honduras, thailand, california,
florida keys, hawaii
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
82   to 0    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
80   to 0    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 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):
3 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
3 stars    
We went to Panama for fun,  I am a multi sport type and Panama is a good
place for a lot of activities.  We also attended spanish school in Bocas
Del Toro.  
I made diving arrangements with Panama Divers ahead of time, we flew into
Panama City and the next morning, Clay, owner of Scuba Panama picked me up
at my hotel. We drove to Portobelo to a small hotel and one boat dock.  It
only took about 15 minutes to get to our dive spot near Drakes Island. 
Diving out of Portobelo is deep.  Our first dive was about 110 ft.  Most
places I dive everything worth seeing is between 40-70 ft.  Deep diving is
just something to do. In this area of Portobelo things didn't get
"provacative" until you hit 90+ ft.  Lots of interesting corals.
A couple of turtles, lobster, strange macro's made for excellent pictures. 
Lots of spotted drums.   Nothing "epic"  but fun.   Cost was
$125, which made multiple dives out of my reach.  

The next day did a couple days of great rafting then went to Bocas Del
Toro.  For surfers, there are some great surf spots, the two I went to were
bluff and bouncers.  Strong reef breaks, best for short boards due to the
steep drops.  
While in Bocas I attended Spanish School (Spanish by the Sea)for a week. 
Bocas is your typical Caribean backpackers island.  Nothing real fancy
lodging is simple and inexpensive, food around the island is varied and ok,
not great and lots of inexpensive crafts from street artists.  The language
school experience was excellent.  Part of their program included diving.  I
took advantage.  I dove with Dutch Pirate.  Rolf (owner and instructor) is
a great guy and his girlfriend/divemaster is a teacher at the spanish
school and use to be a dolphin trainer at Anthonys Key Resort in Roatan. 
We dived six different spots between Isla Colon and Bastaimentos.  Diving
was shallow, no deeper than 40ft. The water was extremely calm, no
currents.   Almost like diving in a swimming pool.  We dived one
interesting wreck.  Diving Panama (on the Caribean side) was OK.  Not
fantastic.  Fish are not "prolific".  Everybody says Coiba Island
is the place to dive.  Suppose to be many Pelagics.   Next time.   
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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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