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“Believe in experience”
Review of Scuba Coiba

Scuba Coiba
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US$160,00*
and up
Full-Day Diving for Beginners at Coiba National Park
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Diving tours to Coiba National Park and dive sites close to Santa Catalina, snorkeling tours and dive courses
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children
Reviewed 9 March 2017

SCUBA COIBA dive center is maybe not a shop which would attract you from the first look. But you will be very surprised when to get on to the trip with them.

Dive shop has a great location, it is the only one on the beach. As much it is great, it is also bad for the customers, as they all get caught on the was from the bus, from the closer places. But Scuba Coiba is here the longest time and offers interesting diving trips to different destinations.

Herbie, the owner of the place, is at Santa Cataline since 2003, I guess, so he knows the place from inside out. The diving trips are going to Scuba Coiba national park almost every day, but the shop offers also the local diving, cheaper option, and multiday Coiba trips. The instructors here are ready to explain you the best option, as sometimes the visibility is not good, there are currents, and diving is changing every day. Coiba is usually the long day option, and sometimes you can make the same dives closer, and the same interesting.

Diving at Coiba National Park is very challenging, specially the temperature, visibility and current wise. Very hard to pretend anything, as diving is changing every day, even at the same place and same time. The best option is always to ask the instructors, and let it all on them.

Scuba Coiba offers 2 or 3 tanks per day trip, which include equipment, dive guide, sneak or lunch, water and coffee.
But dont forget! It is Panama! So sometimes there is no water in the shop when you come back. Sometimes the schedule is a bit longer. And sometimes the nature makes your diving different than you would expect. But when it is nice, it is nice. You could see big stuff, now specially the pelagic animals - many rays, sometimes mobulas, mantas and different rays, sharks on every dive, same as many huge schools of fishes, which make this diving really special.
You can also hire the underwater photographer on place, professional with experience, who makes your day really unforgettable memory. Dont forget to bring your USB!

Volunteers here take care of the equipment, so all you have to do is to check your gear, and bring just basic things to the boat. The rest is done for you.
And dont forget again, it is Panama!

Thank KristinaEgypt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (170)
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7 - 11 of 170 reviews

Reviewed 15 February 2017 via mobile

Dove with this outfit for a one day trip to Coiba. Dive masters were experienced and safety conscious. Boat s are in ok condition. Captain and crew experienced and capable.

Issues:

1. One of my tanks had a weird chemical taste in the air . Wasn't just me either. One of the dive masters had same issue.

2. No water at their dive centre. So no rinse tank and no flushing toilet. A temporary problem likely but not what you expect when paying full price for diving. Infrastructure in Santa Catalina is lot reliable;probably not their fault.

3. Equipment is getting worn out. Mouth piece on my main reg was missing bite tabs - had to use my spare. I expect better when paying rental fees. That said, the equipment was in good working order and did not comprise safety.

The good:

Massive morays
Dozens of reef sharks
Turtles, schools of jacks
Porcupine fish

Just be prepared to swim and deal with current at depth and haloclines. A bit more attention to the equipment and facilities in the shop and this dive operation would get a better recommendation.



Thank scubanorm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Herbie S, General Manager at Scuba Coiba, responded to this reviewResponded 19 February 2017

Dear Norman,

thank you for taking the time and reviewing Scuba Coiba. I think your review characterizes our shop, crew and the diving pretty good. We have experienced dive guides (each single one has thousands of dives as dive professional), our captains have many years of working with us and our equipment is in reasonable good shape for a dive center rental. And the diving is without any serious competition in Panama.

That small issues happen with rental gear is unfortunate but many times unavoidable. As you have been asked to check your equipment in the shop before leaving you have not noticed a missing bite tab and found out under water yourself evidently. I am sure the mouthpiece has been exchanged after your dive, as we carry an array of spare parts for these kinds of mishaps. The day you dived we swapped some tanks for logistical reasons with another dive shop. I have checked my compressor after the dive guide told me about the air and the air of your tank (plus 2 more tanks) has not come from my compressor - however I am ready to take the blame for it, I did not check it before.

Santa Catalina is a rural fishing village in an impoverished area of Panamá and the infrastructure has been pretty much installed end of the the former century with almost no tourism and a lot less hotel beds.

I think it pretty unfair from you to blame Scuba Coiba for a community water problem and for a power cut what made you shorten your stay and cancel a second night and second day of diving, because it was too much discomfort for you.

I think, water shortages and electricity cuts are not unusual in such areas and should been taken into consideration travelling to such locations, looking for virgin diving in an unspoiled though less developed area. Somebody who cannot handle it should go to to better developed and more crowded destinations maybe.

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Reviewed 29 January 2017

I choice Scuba Coiba because of Tabea (who works there). She was sitting outside and was very pleasant to talk to and very enthusiastic. She directly made me feel good about diving with them.

For there it only got even better. We had a great day with Elwynn as our dive instructor. She too was so enthusiastic, experienced and she gave me a very safe feeling. Diving with them was the best. I did 3 dives and on the first dive we saw dolphins haunting!
Elwynn filmed it so we have a great memory! Both Tabea as Elwynn took many pictures.

It was a great day. They provide a very nice lunch and show you some of the best dive spots.

Thank Marjolein6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Herbie S, General Manager at Scuba Coiba, responded to this reviewResponded 19 February 2017

Dear Marjolein,

thanks for the roses. I have submitted your positive comments to Tabea and Elwynn.

We wish you many more nice dive experiences.

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Reviewed 16 January 2017 via mobile

Diving at Coiba is amazing!!! The environment both above and under water is great!

We have been diving with Scuba Coiba for 2 days. Very Nice company. Both Ben and Elli were professional and good fun!
As i am a unexperienced diver (OW) they made sure I was comfortable under water.

Booked the trip way in advance. Communication is good and clear
Accomodation at Coiba is simple and nice. Food was great!

They speak your language
English, french, spanish, german)

Great company! Thanks Ben, Elli () for this experience!

Thank ivk1986
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 January 2017 via mobile

Shop owner Herbie was very helpful when we were planning the trip. We got info about accommodation, instructions on how to get to Santa Catalina and so on. The Coiba diving was excellent and their chefs at the island were amazing. We ate one of the best meals of our whole vacation from Scuba Coiba chefs. Instructor Ellie during the dives is a pro!

Thank Reijonens
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Herbie S, General Manager at Scuba Coiba, responded to this reviewResponded 19 February 2017

Thank you for the nice review. Multi-Day trips are our signature trips, where people expect to get the best Coiba has to offer and we try hard to give it to them. This includes to offer the best possible service regarding food and accommodating them at a government run and remote ranger station, where you have to bring everything except the mattresses basically.

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