#5 Santa Catalina
When we first arrived in Panama over 10 years ago, we made the circuit through the 8 most popular and not so popular tourist destinations of Panama scouting a potential spot to build our Eco Resort. Although we settled in our favorite spot, Panama is full of incredible places to experience and explore. Honestly, that's exactly what it feels like for most people here - a place to explore. Compared to neighboring Costa Rica, a country that developed tourism, especially ecotourism back in the 80's, Panama was rather late to surf that wave. It wasn't until around 2005 that got the word out, and tourism became a focus. Since then, their tourism campaigns have not been shall we say, consistent nor powerful. But, there's always a silver lining. Always. Panama is not on the radar for most travelers and never really has been which means we have a country that, once you leave the city, still has wild jungles, raw coastlines, undeveloped beaches, uncrowded surfing, and an undeniably friendly culture of people.
If you are looking for places to get away from it all and I mean IT ALL, you will find them all over Panama. So, one of our favorite spots that is particularly awesome for Scuba diving and snorkeling, is Santa Catalina. Here you will find the protected Marine Reserve of Coiba National Park. In 2004 it was designated a UNESCO Heritage site because it is truly that awesome. If you like to SCUBA, snorkel, or even admire the sea from above in a boat, this is an exceptional place to visit.
Santa Catalina is not only an access point for Coiba, it also has great surf. I mean, World Class surfing for all levels. It has become a popular destination for many years now so you will find a well developed community of surfers in the area and with it, some fun restaurants and a bit of a night life. I would not call it a party town but there is a vibrant community and an energetic vibe to be a part of. If this sounds like a place you would enjoy, look no further than Catalina's Hideaway for a beautiful place to stay where you will be well cared for.
Our friend and hostess Jori is there waiting to host you in one of their beautiful casitas or treehouse, and take you on great adventures of the area.
Your Friends in Morrillo, Cari and Ryan Mackey Owners and Hosts Morrillo Beach Eco Resort