Scuba Diving Panama
“Think of the number of fish you have seen elsewhere and double it. Think about the size of the fish you have seen and double that as well. That sums up the promise of diving Coiba”
Panama’s biodiversity is staggering. It hosts one of the most complex ecosystems on earth: primal rainforests, untouched beaches and high cloud-shrouded mountains. Whether snorkeling or scuba diving, the diving enthusiast is bound to find his and her appeal in any of the various waters of Panama. Panama offers both, the lively and colorful clarity of Caribbean style or the vast and mysterious Pacific Ocean full of large marine species, exactly where Balboa discovered it; and the jungle encircled Gatun Lake, bed of the Panama Canal. Water visibility varies from one dive spot to another, and is always dependent on weather conditions. The months of September and October are traditionally the better months, due primarily to more suitable climatic and warmer water conditions.
Coiba National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the neighboring islands and archipelagos of the Gulf of Chiriquí, offer some of the best adventure and exploratory diving in the world. While diving Coiba Island, you will encounter large schools of big fish, several species of shark, giant mantas, schooling rays, whales and dolphins plus healthy coral reefs. Large numbers of migrating humpback whales mate and give birth to their calves in Coiba Island’s calm and warm waters from July to October.
Thanks to the creation of a penal colony on Coiba Island (1919-1991), seventy-five percent of the island is untouched, including the ocean’s bottom surrounding the chain of islands, which is linked to Coco’s and the Galapagos Islands by the underwater Coco Ridge mountain chain. Turning it into a National Park in 1992, the Panamanian government has succeeded in protecting the 760 different species of fish that can now be found here. “Think of the number of fish you have seen elsewhere and double it. Think about the size of the fish you have seen and double that as well. That sums up the promise of diving Coiba” – (Diver Magazine, May 2005).
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