Lago Bay is located near the popular surf town of Santa Catalina where you will find many international restaurants, and boutique shops. The Point offers the best waves in Panama. Estero Beach has a more gentle beach break with a perfect sunset. The surrounding islands make for great beach hopping and fishing.
Nearby Coiba National Park has the best diving in Panama.
What to Do
Coiba is Spectacular. The most unique and exotic snorkel/diving destination in Panama is here at Central America's largest Island. Once a penal colony until 2004, Coiba has been preserved with all flora, fauna and marine life intact.
Humpbacks come through July until November. Whale sharks are present all year but most active in our dry season from December through May. Turtles, manta rays and an incredible variety of tropical fish are usually at play every dive.
The waves of Santa Catalina's 'Point' have a consistent and powerful break both left and right. A good mix of locals and international surf aficionados paddle out for the year-round swells. The Point is found at the center of town between Santa Catalina's two beaches. At lower tides, the rocks present a challenge. Reef shoes are highly recommended. The Point, in general, is for high intermediate to advanced surfers.
Playa Estero is Santa Catalina's beach break. It has a consistent yeat smaller break than the Point. With a sand bottom, it's perfect for beginner and intermediate surfers. Surf classes and board rentals can be found at:
Dive & Snorkel
Coiba is spectacular. The most unique and exotic snorkel/diving destination in Panama is here at Central America's largest island. Once a penal colony until 2004, Coiba has been preserved with all flora, fauna and marine life intact.
Humpbacks come through July until November. Whale sharks are present all year, but most active during our dry season from December through May. Turtles, manta rays and an incredible variety of tropical fish are usually at play every dive.
Fishing in Panama is unrivaled both in abundance and quality of catch. Warm waters make it a seasonal home for fish from both hemispheres escaping their respective winters, providing year round action. Within minutes of the Santa Catalina beaches, fishermen can be surrounded by a war zone of dive bombing seabirds attacking wounded baitfish that huge schools of tuna have driven to the surface. The variety ranges from bottom fishing for snapper, grouper and other reef dwellers, to trolling for world record marlin, sailfish and other deep water species.
Several islands, the shoreline and the Gulf of Montijo have several points of interest for exploring the area by boat. Mangroves are to the north of Lago Bay with Isla Cebaco to the South. Across the gulf to the east is the Azuero Peninsula. while the Coiba National Park is to the west.
The best bird watching in the area is right here at Lago Bay. For the casual birdwatcher, one of our balconies or rooftops does the job with morning coffee in hand or an evening beverage. For the more active birdwatcher, you can expect a good many check marks in your journal or logbook. Our trails that run through permaculture groves and tropical hardwoods, around lakes and along the beach are all filled with an impressive variety of tropical birds.
Lago Bay is roughly 90 minutes by car from Santiago. Taking the local bus will take more time (roughly 4 to 5 hours). We recommend taking the car or coming in with the new airstrip. If you are taking the car, watch out for the Lago Bay sign and just follow the road until you see a white gate ahead of you. We may also be able to provide shuttle service.
From Panama City
You will need to take a minimum of two buses (either direct to Soná and then to Santa Catalina) or three buses (direct to Santiago, then to Soná, and then to Santa Catalina). The commute by bus is approximately 7.5 hours.
At Albrook Bus Terminal take one of the five daily buses on the Transporte San Isidrio bus line departing to Soná. The current schedule has departures from Albrook to Soná at the following times:
5:50 am, 8:20am, 10:20am, 12:45pm, 2:20pm , 3:15pm, 4:20pm and 5:45pm
At Albrook Bus Terminal you can also take a direct bus to Santiago. Schedules are more frequent all day and night. (All bus services going to David will stop in Santiago.) In Santiago, take a $2 taxi to the local bus terminal, and catch the bus to Sona (offered every 30 minutes with the last bus leaving at 6 pm).
Take one of the five daily buses departing to Santa Catalina (Duration 1.5 hours).
From Soná to Santa Catalina, the current schedule is:
5:15am, 8:30am (no Sunday), 11:00am, 1:00pm, 3:00pm (no Sunday) and 4:30pm
You can also take a taxi from Soná to Lago Bay for approximately $30.00 – $40.00 (USD) for an hour ride.
You can request to the driver that you be dropped at the LAGO BAY sign on the main road, we are just after Farfan and before the town of Hicaco.