Santa Catalina’s is 15 mins from Lago Bay. The famous point break, “La Punta” offers the most consistent advanced surf break in Central America. “The Point” offers powerful hollows that break both left and right. National and international surf competitions are regularly held in Santa Catalina. There are many places to rent surf boards or have private lessons.
According to the Lonely Planet, diving around Coiba Island is the best Pacific diving from Mexico to Colombia. Coiba is an hour boat ride from Santa Catalina. Diving here is fairly deep, and contains some of the most beautiful aquatic life imaginable. Coiba as a mixture between the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador and the Cocos Islands, Costa Rica. Mainly, because it's the same underwater island chain. This area is virtually virgin territory for the scuba diver. The water temperature at the surface is in the low 80's, and thermo clines are common at depth dropping the temperature to the mid 70's. Currents are variable depending on the tide. An 8ft to 12ft tidal exchange is present around the islands and can sometimes make diving challenging. The visibility on average is around 70 feet.
There are many dive sites in the area. At every site, large schools of fish are seen, including snappers, grunts, barracudas and jacks. Large moray eels are common here and the white-tipped reef shark is also ubiquitous. Intervals between dives are spent relaxing on white sandy beaches such as Granito de Oro, or simply taking in the beautiful scenery on the many islands around Coiba. From the boat, chances are good for spotting whales, dolphins and turtles.
Diving in Coiba is completely different to Caribbean diving, from the distinct reef formations to the less colorful but larger, fish species. The general consensus is that diving in Coiba is the best diving in Panama.
Fishing in Panama is unrivaled both in abundance and quality of catch. 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. In addition to the local dwellers, Santa Catalina Panama’s location and warm waters make it a seasonal home for fish from both hemispheres escaping their respective winters, providing year round action.
Typical fishing trips out of Santa Catalina involve hiring a local “panga”, and taking a ride out to “Puente de Parga.” Parga is the Spanish name for snapper and they are here in large numbers. If you are willing to fish the local method and jump on with a panga that is already going out, this type of trip can be extremely affordable; sometimes costing nothing more than contributing to the cost of the gas. The local method of fishing is essentially hand to fish combat. The line is reeled off the plastic spool on which it came from the manufacturer and is hand rolled on as you fish!
If you prefer a more advance fashion of fishing, boats are available in Santa Catalina Panama for private charter using the appropriate equipment and lures. The boat of choice will still most like be a 25 ft panga with a 70 hp outboard. Half and full day trips can range from $150 to several hundred dollars. The cost of and difficulty in acquiring fuel is the largest factor in determining cost.The panga is a deep vee’d bowed fiberglass boat with a wide flat beam across the back preferred locally because of the large tide changes. With daily tide changes of 15 to 20 feet, the boats are moored just past the beach break and are brought to the edge of the sandy beach to be loaded and unloaded. Establishment of docks and protected harbors is inhibited by the large Pacific Ocean tide changes. This makes the panga the boat of choice for fishing villages up and down the Central American coast.For a complete Panama fishing adventure, Ricardo (Richard before slipping out of Florida!) at Santa Catalina Boat Tours can arrange for multi day trips to Isla Coiba National Park and other excellent fishing banks int the Santa Catalina area. Using his personal Panga and a Panamanian captain, Ricardo offers one of the only organized fishing packages out of Santa Catalina.