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

panama divers and dutch pirate, Jan, 2006,

by bill mashek, ca, usa . Report 2337.

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

Weather cloudy Seas
Water Temp 82 to 0 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 80 to 0 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions none
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 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 N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments 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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