As an ideal geographic location for abundant biodiversity, a land bridge for two continents and two oceans, Panama enjoys extraordinary marine wildlife in its warm waters that make it a destination spot from beginner to avid scuba divers.
Seasoned divers tend to enjoy Portobelo, a World Heritage Site with miles of colorful reef and more than 250 fish species. The underwater ruins, ship and plane wreck in the depths of this historic, colonial town make this undersea world a highly recommended diving area. Coiba National Park is another popular diving-only location, and as one of the largest marine parks in the world with the second-largest coral reef in the eastern Pacific Ocean, it is quite possibly Panama´s best diving area. With sharks, manta rays, sea turtles, humpback whales, dolphins and orcas, the park encompasses 39 islands and the vast marine wildlife of the surrounding waters.
In addition to Coiba National Park, the coast and waters of Chiriqui province also allow for several prime locations for diving. The uninhabited, nationally protected islands and waters have allowed for healthy coral formations and marine wildlife exciting for divers. Between July to September, humpback whales come to calve in and around the Gulf of Chiriqui National Marine Park. Pedasí is a hidden gem from most tourists, and is slowly developing scuba culture. Pedasí’s Isla Iguana and Frailes are definitely worth the venture, with Isla Iguana 200 species of reef fish not far from its white sand covered beaches. Continue along the Panama’s ¨Tuna Coast,¨ the nickname used by avid fisherman to refer to the region, to Boca Chica, Isla Secas and Islas Ladrones.
For beginners, the calm, shallow and easily accessible waters of Bocas del Toro have made this Caribbean archipelago a favorite for both snorkeling and scuba diving. The San Blas Islands allso present some good dives, in addition to snorkeling and sailing, and are also ideal for beginners.