Diving and snorkeling trips are offered by Boca Brava Divers in Boca Chica and by Coiba Dive Center and Scuba Coiba in Playa Santa Catalina. The Santa Catalina operators also offer nature tours of Isla Coiba. Guests at Islas Secas Resort can arrange chartered flights to the island.
Several operators offer multiday deep-sea fishing trips to the waters around Coiba. It’s worth doing some research before settling on a package, as they tend to be quite expensive and some of the operations are not well run and either use dilapidated boats or go out of business overnight.
Operations tend to be run out of either Puerto Mutis, a port 24 kilometers southwest of Santiago, or Pedregal, David’s port.
A fishing group that enjoys a good reputation is Coiba Adventure Sportfishing (Panama tel. 998-8108, U.S. toll-free tel. 800/800-0907, www.coibadventure.com). The operation is run by Tom Yust, who has been running fishing trips to Parque Nacional Coiba since 1991 and was the skipper on the original Coiba Explorer mother-ship. His current operation doesn’t use a mother-ship, but rather a 31-foot Bertram and a 21-foot Mako. He also has a 14-foot inflatable and two sit-on-top sea kayaks.
The outfit offers four- to six-day fishing trips. Rates are US$3,625–7,375 depending on the trip length, number of anglers, and choice of boats. Prices include a round-trip charter flight between Panama City and Coiba, all meals, and a room at the ranger station.
The Panama Big Game Fishing Club (tel. 6674-4824, U.S. toll-free tel. 866/281-1225, www.panamabiggamefishingclub.com) offers several fishing packages. Their boats run out of Pedregal, and guests stay at their high-end cabins on Isla Boca Brava.
Another group to consider is Pesca Panama (U.S. toll-free tel. 800/946-3474, www.pescapanama.com). This fishing operation is run out of Pedregal and uses a cozy 70-foot barge as a mother-ship. It sleeps up to 16 in four air-conditioned guest cabins. Fishing is from 27-foot Ocean Masters. The standard package consists of six days of fishing. Per-person rates are US$2,995–3,895 depending on the number of anglers per boat. The package includes two nights in a luxury hotel in Panama City and food and accommodation during the five nights on the barge. Transportation and food in Panama City and transfers to David are not included in the rate.
© William Friar from Moon Panama, 3rd Edition