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“Here is Paradise” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Panama Dive Center

Panama Dive Center
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: We offer SCUBA DIVE products and Services and all PADI Courses at Coiba's National Park, we are the first PADI Dive Resort Authorized in Santa Catalina and also the Lonely Planet's TOP Choice.
Paris, France
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Here is Paradise”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 October 2014

Best experience with Panama Dive Center ! Camilo is one of this few people on earth that change your vision of life forever. Generous and sharing person, he does what he loves and loves what he does, which is basically sharing his passion for diving and the underwater world. Diving in Coiba was a tremendous experience. All instructors I've met, Santi and Peter, become quickly more than just instructors, they became friends. For Sure Camilo knows how to gather the best people around his love for diving. Be ready to encounter the less shy turtles I've met, Humpback Whales, Rays, Frogfishes, Seahorses, the amazing School of Jacks, White Tip Sharks, and even the 3 sea crocodiles that lives on the beach of Isla Coiba (just to mention a few) ! Diving sites are speechless, and combining those with the team at Panama Dive Center really made this an experience of a lifetime !
Mil gracias !

Visited August 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Birdyconnected
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PanamaDiveCenter, Propietario at Panama Dive Center, responded to this review, 6 February 2015
Xavi,
Thanks so much for your comment, sorry for the delayed response on this, but you know how from the heart, give the best of you also. Corrine and you, left here a beautiful memory.
Hope to see you again soon.
Bon voyage!!!
Camilo
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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255 reviews from our community

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English first
Athens, Greece
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Excellent!!!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 September 2014

Very professional and at the same time very friendly people. I would bet it's the best diving center in the area.

Visited August 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Gikas G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Culver City, California
Level Contributor
32 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Friendly Staff and Service”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 September 2014

My husband and I went to Santa Catalina strictly for surfing, but discovered this jewel of a dive shop. My husband has an open water dive certification, but sadly I do not. We arrived early so that I could get my dive instruction, and walked with all of our gear down to the boat. It was a fun, bumpy, turbulent, and 1-hour ride to the island of Coiba. I wouldn't recommend if you get easily seasick. Once on the beach, the guide tried very hard to teach me to dive, but I just couldn't clear my mask, and my lungs filled with water, and I couldn't shake my cough. I ended up deciding to snorkel instead. As they mentioned in another review, if you are going to snorkel, you won't get any guidance or support. They just told me to jump off the boat and into the ocean ("go have fun," they said) and busied themselves with the "real divers." That almost cost me my life when I jumped off the boat with no offer of a life vest and swam into a high-current and rock formation situation. I was drowning and the boat and my husband had to come save me before they went down for the dive. Still, I try to remain positive, and I just sat on the boat alone on a boat with bloody knees and legs (I was caught against some rocks) with the captain and 1st mate and waited for 45-minutes until they all resurfaced.

On the second dive, I was offered a life-vest and they took me to an area that didn't have such a strong current, and told me areas to avoid! I think my near-drowning reminded the team that snorkelers need same equipment and attention to detail. It's still the middle of the ocean afterall.

My rating is so high because my husband had an amazing dive experience and saw tons of sharks, sea horses, turtles, etc. Additionally, on the way back to Santa Catalina we got some tremendous footage of whales and dolphins swimming together and breeching the surface.

Also, I was so happy to see a different part of the country and the island of Coiba is amazing. The sandwiches they offered were pretty tasty, and they cut fresh coconut for us. It was still a great experience even though I paid alot of money for a dive that I didn't take.

When I returned the dive master/owner was super nice to me and greeted me with hugs and kisses, and promised that he could personally teach me how dive when I return to Santa Catalina. Maybe one day! Still a great place to go if you've got the time and a bit more diving experience.

Visited September 2014
Helpful?
Thank keishiag
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PanamaDiveCenter, Propietario at Panama Dive Center, responded to this review, 4 February 2015
We appreciate this comment in order to improve ourselves and the service we offer.
Since few months we have a permanent local snorkeling guide (Andy) with a big heart, and love for ocean life.
Regards,
Camilo
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Munich, Germany
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Excellent Service”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 September 2014 via mobile

Good equipment and super friendly staff. Competent dive guide. Since there are no ATMs in Santa Catalina, we wanted to pay with credit card and this dive shop was the only one not to charge a supplement of 8%. After diving feel free to join the crew for dinner at a fabulous pizza place.

Helpful?
Thank ckoenig2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PanamaDiveCenter, Propietario at Panama Dive Center, responded to this review, 4 February 2015
Thanks so much for your review.
We believe, clientes never have to carrie with the lack of technology in town, we try to make it easy for the people, who, adventurously, decide to come to Santa Catalina and enjoy the beauty of Coiba National park.
Cheers,
Camilo
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Level Contributor
42 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
“Amazing, do not miss dive(s) with Camilo on Coiba Island”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 July 2014

Whales, Dolphins on the way, White tip Sharks, Frog fish, Octopus, Turtles... and 3 m Sea Crocodile on the beach at your arrival. Coiba Island is fantastic and a day/dive with friendly Camilo a great experience you don't have to miss: Pro, safe and realy friendly.
Before that, you won't miss Elena's Breakfast at "La Buena Vida" Hotel ("Santa Catalina Hotel" is also very good.
Thanks for all Camilo and All the best to you.
I loved Santa Catalina spirit and people.
François Delabie

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank FrancescoDe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PanamaDiveCenter, Propietario at Panama Dive Center, responded to this review, 4 February 2015
Dear Francois and family,
It was a pleasure to have you on board. We hope to see you again spmewhere around the world.
Great travelers and a beautiful family.
Cheers,
Camilo
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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