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Best dive center in Catalina

The time I spent at scuba coil as a volunteer seemed to have passed in a second such I enjoyed my... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
Cedric is the best guide!

I am a repeat customer of SCUBA Coiba. I return to this shop because Herbie, the owner, is the... read more

Reviewed 9 September 2018
Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina
via mobile
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Reviewed 1 week ago

The time I spent at scuba coil as a volunteer seemed to have passed in a second such I enjoyed my time there. Herbie was the first to open a dive center in St Catalina and has the nice spot next to the beach for grabbing a beer and watching sunset after an amazing day diving in Coiba. Beside being a fantastic guy, always trying to accommodate everyone, putting up with last moment requested and looking that all the customers have a great time he knows this part of Panama like his pocket. Likewise, Ben (the instructor working with him) has so many dives there that he s like Coiba's encyclopaedia. Plus if you have high interest in environmental conservation he's your man! He is very involved in conservation project and organises frequent beach cleanups with Scuba Coiba to keep this place beautiful. I really recommend scuba Coiba for the teams great personalities, professionalism and experience!

Date of experience: July 2018
Thank AlineH575
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 September 2018 via mobile

I am a repeat customer of SCUBA Coiba. I return to this shop because Herbie, the owner, is the pioneer of diving in this area and knows the area like none other. His instructors, Cedric and Jose, are the nest. I have to give a special shout out to Cedric, with whom I have dived many times. He is the very best instructor and guide. He knows everything SCUBA! And his enthusiasm and aura of wonder and love of the sea permeates everything he does. I have to say, our dive on August 10 was the best ever! (30 years of diving, BTW.). Not only did we see the most beautiful Mantas, huge schools of great barracudas, jacks, and octupi, eels and humpback whales. Yes, 3 humpback whales!!! The water was a bit murky but when we saw this odd white thing, at first thought, that’s an odd looking Manta. A fin stroke closer, oh my, that’s a pectoral fin of a humpback whale! Oh my, that’s a huge whale! To my left, another! And the first moved and right there, another! His eye was on is the entire time. We saw from the tip of his head to his fluke! Our excitement was off the charts! Thank you Cedric for another perfect day!

Date of experience: August 2018
Thank Shreks_Mom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 August 2018 via mobile

I chose Scuba Coiba for my Open Water Padi certification... and what a great choice it was. Thank you so much Aline for your awesome teaching skills and enthousiasm. Not only did I feel extremely safe by your side, but you showed us the best diving spots! We saw so many animals... many more than expected. Aline speaks French, English and Spanish fluently. Thanks to Alex as well, who was the first person to welcome us to the diving school and is a lovely guy. Thanks to you guys, my diving years are just beginning ! Can’t wait to get back into the water. Awesome !

Date of experience: August 2018
Thank fi0na34
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 June 2018 via mobile

I only had 16 dives before coming here - diving in South Asia is totally different where the water is quiet. So in the very beginning I was shocked under the water as we had to “fight” against surge and current and visibility was not good in the rain season. I joint a 2 day 1 night trip to Cobia and saw lots whitetip sharks. The instructor taught me a lot, e.g. how to deal with surge, etc. The staff in this shop are very helpful as well. However, I still feel people here are a bit different - much colder. In other parts of Panama or other countries, people are relaxed for diving, taking photos to each other, posing, playing, but here I feel people thought they were frogmen with mission -rush rush rush (maybe if we don’t rush, we gonna be taken by the current). Here is a place diving for adventure, not for relaxing. The only thing I dislike was the food... the local lady cooked them tooooooo dry. Maybe it’s the local cooking way but I really hate dry chicken... hope the cooking skills improved!

Date of experience: May 2018
Thank Annabel H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 April 2018

I took my 2 teenage children on a day diving trip with Scuba Coiba and we were all very happy with our dives. We saw more fish than any other dive we've done in the past including many reef sharks, octopus, eels and giant rays. Our dive master was very experienced and we also had a dive master in training who was very enthusiastic. Both were easy to talk to and answered all our questions.

As others have posted, the dive shop and boat could use a little work but they do the job and the owner was very pleasant.

All in all, we had a great day! Thank you Herbie and crew.

Date of experience: March 2018
Thank Christi1969AD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 March 2018

I booked a three day trip to Coiba Island and the dives were incredible. We did 9 dives and all of them were difficult because of currents, visibility and thermoclines but we've seen lot of marine life. The boat that take us to the dives were small but can provide the dives even with 9 people and all the dive equipment. After the first dive our Dive master said that we do not need to care about our equipment because they would change the tanks for us. For help the changing we always stop in a paradisiac beach to eat and hydrate while the crew (boat pilot and a sailor) changed our air tanks. In the first day there was no problem, but in the first dive of the second day when I was checking my equipment inside the boat in the dive site I notice that my second stage was without the plastic and the valves that stays in front the part that you use to breath and we use to purge. This time I got very angry but the DiveMaster, Jose, quickly changed my regulator for another one in the boat and told me no worry because if they didn't find it in isla Honda(the island that we sleep and had dinner) or in the other boat( they changed boats in the first night) the owner(Herbie) probably would have one peace to replace. After finishing the trip I asked the people from the dive center if they found that peace and they didn't. They tried to find something that fit in the place but they didn't. So Herbie just said that "this thing happens" and thats was all... I stayed with my regulator injured and he simply did nothing.
I am just writing to reenforce that We have to take care about our own equipment, even if someone said to you to Don't care and for Herbie train better his boat crew to take care about his boat and his equipment( I saw they stepping, sitting, beating and putting the tanks without care over the dive stuffs).I imagine that this rude way to change tanks and care about diving stuffs could made the damage in my regulator. After all no one care more about your life than yourself.
Thanks for the attention,

Date of experience: February 2018
4  Thank guicunha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Herbie S, Gerente at Scuba Coiba, responded to this reviewResponded 25 April 2018

Dear Guilherme,
Thank you for your review. Especially your comments that you liked the dives, although you were diving in a week of very bad visibility compared to average conditions. I am sorry, that you lost your exhaust cover, we did not find it on the boat. I assume by pulling the equipment up into the boat, the 2nd stage of your regulator caught the border of the boat and fell off and went down in the water. These are things, what happen, unfortunately. I tried to replace it at the dive center, but as you had a brand of regulator we do not have, none of the exhaust valves I had in the workshop fitted on your regulator. And there is no other shop in Santa Catalina what has your brand of regulator where I could buy one. The price of this part - on the brands of regulators we use is between USD 4.00 and 10.00 dpending on the model, so I did not think, that it is such a big problem. Well, obviously it was for you, I am sorry, but there was nothing I could have done to put the part back on your reg. I hope you keep the nice dives in your memories.

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