Although Panama’s Caribbean coast – Bocas del Toro in particular – attracts tourist crowds, the Pacific coast still offers travelers the feeling of an undiscovered world. Situated in the Veraguas Province, along the country’s pacific coast and just west of the Azuero Peninsula, Santa Catalina is synonymous with surfing. As well, it serves as a gateway to Coiba National Park, which offers intrepid travelers world class scuba diving, snorkeling, white sand beaches, in addition to numerous other outdoor activities. Once a small fishing village off the beaten track, the town of Santa Catalina is still relatively small, but it’s growing quickly.
Arguably Panama’s most famous surf spot, local and international surfers frequent Santa Catalina to enjoy its consistent and powerful surf, not to mention its relaxed, laid back atmosphere.
Santa Catalina has two beaches, Estero Beach and Santa Catalina Beach. Both beaches are black sand and covered with a large amount of volcanic rock. The tide change at both beaches is tremendous, during low tide you’ll find a whole world of tidal creatures exposed in the pools among the volcanic rock.
The town of Santa Catalina covers a short distance, and the road is lined with residential homes, hotels, restaurants/eateries, dive shops, fishing outfitters, and numerous tour agencies. There is only one intersection, near to the ocean, and on the far corner you’ll find the local supermarket, but don’t expect too much here. Most do their shopping in Sona or Santiago, this is a small market for last minute items only.