The Republic of Panama, located in the center of the Western Hemisphere, is bordered by the Caribbean Sea. Panama, is a country of 75 420 km2 located at the southern end of Central America, on the Isthmus of Panama. With about 3000 kilometers of sides and these many archipelagos with multitudes of islands and islets, Panama is full of paradise diving sites with turquoise and transparent waters. Large beaches of white sands, small wild coves or even beaches arranged near a hotel residence or a restaurant, you will always find the ideal beach in Panama.
Where to dive in Panama?
This large island is located 20 km from the coast of Panama. Old prison, it is now a huge nature reserve, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Coiba National Park, founded since 1992, is a protected area that houses abundant marine life. This large island is surrounded by coral reefs and supports various tropical underwater life. Mega Fauna’s observations may include humpback whales, sharks, whale sharks, orcs and more . More than 700 species of fish have been recorded here, including Snappers, Barracudas, Amberjack and Marlins. Coiba is a great destination for a diving trip .
This massive pinnacle attract all year long many fishes. It rises from the depths within 10 meters/33 feet of the surface. It is an exposed dive site and the currents can be strong, but large snappers, jacks, tuna, sharks, whale sharks and manta rays are found on this site.
The Pearl Islands
Located in the Gulf of Panama, Contadora Island is the primary access point for many dives sites. Various rock formations and coral outcrops characterize the diving. Needless to say, pearl oysters are not uncommon.
Bocas del Toro
Bocas del Toro is an archipelago off the northwestern coast of the country. Bocas del Toro offers pristine conditions that are well protected by the country’s national park system. Several dive sites operate from the small town of Bocas, bringing the divers to the caves and rock formations, all within an hour’s boat ride from the shore. The Bocas del Toro archipelago is dotted with coral reef and is bathed in calm and warm waters. Colorful soft coral and sponges house a variety of life like cowry, arrow crabs, nudibranchs and more. You can see the nurse, the reef sharks, the manta rays and the snappers patrolling the reef edges.
Portobelo National Park
Situated, just two hours from Panama City, is the gateway to lush coral reefs teeming with colorful tropics and historic shipwrecks. This park includes beautiful beaches, coral reefs, lagoons and mangroves as well as many excellent diving sites. It is an incredibly diverse ecosystem with several types of sea turtles and more than 50 species of coral.
When to go in Panama?
Dive conditions are excellent all year in Panama. The tropical climate has little seasonal variation. Early morning air temperature may be 24°C/75°F and the afternoon reaches 29°C/84°F, seldom exceeding 32°C/90°F. Temperatures on the Pacific side are somewhat lower and breezes tend to rise after dusk in most parts of the country. The rainy season is from May to November.
Average water temperature: tropical water temperature allows to dive all year off the Caribbean coast of Panama, although June to December are usually the best months for diving. Diving off the Pacific coast of Panama offers surface water temperatures in the low 15m, but dip times in the mid 30 in depth.
Average visibility: the visibility of water varies from 50 to 100 feet, depending on the site, weather and time of year. Diving off the Pacific coast of Panama offers an average visibility of 15 to 25m, depending on the season.
What to see while scuba diving?
In a relatively untouched environment, the marine life of Panama exists happily without the fear of being hunted by humans. Those include on the one coast humpback whales, black and white tip reef sharks, dolphins and killer whales. Humpback whales are most frequently spotted in July through September. In the Pacific, upwelling brings in large numbers of pelagic, such as manta rays, stingrays, tuna, amberjacks and whale sharks. In the warmer Caribbean ocean, the sea turtles flood the beaches in the nesting season and in September to October is the time that sightings are guaranteed. The fish life in Panama are well-catered for on the warmer side of the isthmus. The micro life is strange and fascinating for those willing to get inches away from the reef but look out for lobster tentacles in amongst the shadows when you get that close. Parrot, angel and butterfly fish of every shape and color cloud the exceptionally preserved marine environments.