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Santa Catalina is a sleepy town 30 minutes from Sona, in the province of Veraguas. It is best known as a place for surfing, diving and fishing. It is close to the National Marine Park of Coiba Island, named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2005, encompassing the largest live reef on the Western coastline of the American Continent and many visitors take advantage of its proximity to get to the park.
However, Santa Catalina is more than that, it offers some of the best surfing spots in Panama, first class diving, birding, whale and dolphin watching, hiking, yoga retreats, comfortable accommodation and the best food you can find in this part of the country.
There is a good-sized English speaking community and the locals are friendly, always receiving visitors with a smile and advice about the best places to discover in this charming town, from the best surfing beaches to places where you can see whales frolicking in the warm Pacific waters.
To enjoy everything Santa Catalina has to offer, it is better to spend a few days there. Hotels in Santa Catalina are limited to having only 20 rooms, resulting in a small group of family-owned-and-operated hostels, B&B’s, and boutique hotels, each offering their own individual touch and charm, with a very personalized service.
There are a few options to choose from, one of them is Villa Coco that is pet friendly, offers WiFi in the common areas, restaurant, bar, infinity pool and, best of all, it is only a minutes’ walk from the famous surf area of La Punta. For more information visit www.villacocopanama.com / or call 6887-2403
Another option is the Hotel Santa Catalina, located directly in front of the world class surf break at Santa Catalina, and the paddle out channel. It is just a few minutes’ walk from all the best restaurants, bars, town center and other beaches. Its El “Pescao” restaurant offers a tasty and varied menu. The rooms are comfortable with memory foam beds They offer WiFi, Free Bicycle and skateboard use and the staff can also arrange tours to Coiba and Cebaco for you, as well as offering yoga lessons. For more information visit www.hotelsantacatalinapanama.com.
The Restaurant Hotel Sol y Mar, is an environmentally-friendly establishment that offers great food and good accommodation. It has a diversity of trees and plants such as mango, avocado, cashew, lemon, papaya, guanabana, orange, banana and lime trees, as well as free range chickens. The rooms are tastefully decorated and the restaurant serves delicious food made with fresh local produce.
If you are looking for adventure, Pacific Adventure Tours offer an unparalleled wildlife show, close encounters and photo opportunities with stunning natural scenery. They have options of boat excursions and fishing tours. You can choose from different destinations, such as Gulf of Montijo, Cebaco, Mariato and the fascinating Coiba island. For more information visit www.pacificadvent.com.
Santa Catalina has many wonderful hotels, restaurants and tour operators. For the best establishments see the map