UNESCO World Heritage Site
Coiba National Park, situated in the Pacific Ocean off Panama’s coastline, stands as a protected haven covering an expansive area of over 503 square kilometers. As the largest island in Central America, Coiba captivates visitors with its breathtaking landscapes, vibrant coral reefs, abundant marine life, and remarkable diving possibilities.
Coiba Island served as a Panamanian penal colony from 1919 to 2004, maintaining its exclusivity from the public and preserving the surrounding marine ecosystem. In 1991, the island and its waters were designated a national park, safeguarding its diverse wildlife, such as the Coiba Island howler monkey and agouti. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, Coiba National Park stands as a pristine haven of exceptional biodiversity.
Today, Coiba National Park is a popular destination for ecotourism and is known for its excellent diving and snorkeling opportunities. The park is managed by the Panamanian government and is protected by law to ensure its conservation for future generations.
Coiba offers exceptional diving experiences with its diverse marine life and natural wonders. If you plan to visit between December and April, you’re in for a treat as this is the whale shark season. During this time, you have a higher chance of encountering these majestic creatures while exploring the underwater world. Swimming alongside whale sharks is an awe-inspiring experience that shouldn’t be missed.
A Year-Round Diving Paradise
For those visiting Coiba Island from July to September, the humpback whale season provides another incredible spectacle. Witnessing these magnificent creatures as they migrate through the area is a truly unforgettable sight. The island’s pristine waters become a haven for humpback whales during these months, offering a unique opportunity to observe their acrobatic displays and hear their haunting songs.
In addition to these seasonal highlights, Coiba Island boasts a year-round diving paradise with warm water temperatures averaging 27-29°C (81-84°F). The visibility ranges from 15-20 meters (50-70 feet), providing excellent conditions for exploring the vibrant coral reefs and encountering a variety of marine species. It’s worth noting that the February to April period may feature thermoclines, where cooler water from deeper regions mixes with the warm water, creating an exciting contrast.
From April to early July, diving enthusiasts have the exciting opportunity to witness the hammerhead shark season. These incredible creatures can be spotted in the Archipielago of Contreras, located near Coiba. Swimming alongside hammerhead sharks is a thrilling experience that attracts divers from around the world.
Whether you’re an avid diver or a nature enthusiast, Coiba and the Archipelago of Contreras underwater wonders offer an incredible experience. From swimming with whale sharks to observing humpback whales, the island’s diverse marine ecosystem is sure to leave you in awe. Plan your visit accordingly to make the most of these remarkable encounters and the optimal diving conditions Coiba Island has to offer.
Archipielago of Contreras
Diving in the Archipelago of Contreras is an exceptional experience that offers a glimpse into the diverse marine life and coral reefs of Panama. The waters around the archipelago are home to a wide variety of marine creatures, including schools of tropical fish, vibrant corals, and fascinating macro life. This makes it an ideal location for experienced divers looking for a challenge and a unique underwater adventure. Dive sites in the Archipelago of Contreras are just a 20-minute boat ride away from our dive center, making it a convenient and accessible location for our guests. The dive sites in this area offer an opportunity to explore stunning walls, deep drop-offs, and underwater canyons, providing a thrilling diving experience. Divers can expect to encounter an array of marine species, including sharks, rays, and sea turtles, as well as unique macro life such as nudibranchs and seahorses.
The Archipielago of Contreras serves as a hotspot for hammerhead shark sightings, adding an extra layer of excitement to your diving adventures.
At Dive Base Coiba, we offer a range of diving packages tailored to the needs of our divers. Our expert guides will accompany you on your dives, ensuring that you have a safe and unforgettable diving experience.