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My son and I dove this weekend with Dive Base Coiba and it was the experience of a lifetime. Quick backstory before the review. DBC was founded by Kevan Mantell,... read more a British expat who made Panama his home and protecting the Coiba island chain (a UNESCO World Heritage site) his life's work. We became great friends with Kevan over the years and were impressed and amazed with his knowledge of the sea life, his commitment to protecting the marine environment, and his care and love for the local population (mostly small fishing villages and artisanal fishing communities) along the extremely remote coast.
Kevan passed away unfortunately and unexpectedly in 2021, which was a huge blow to Coiba, the local communities he supported, and the hundreds of divers, environmental, and research organizations, in the area. We used to joke that diving with Kevan was like diving with Jacques Cousteau. He knew more about Coiba than just about anyone... And he knew everyone, from the local fishermen to the research scientists from the Smithsonian, National Geographic, BBC, and even the European Space Agency that have been studying the area for years.
I'm happy to report that Kevan's two Panamanian sons, Will and Joshua, are now carrying on his legacy and have taken over DBC. We dove with Will and Joshua for two days and they are consummate professionals. Like their father, they put a premium on safety. Each morning they gave us a full briefing on what to expect, reviewed all of the safety procedures, made sure we were fully informed and answered all of our questions. They are outstanding guides - friendly, professional, knowledgable, and like their father, experts in all of the secret diving spots and the sea life.
As for the dives themselves, what can I say, they were spectacular. We saw bull sharks, white tip reef sharks, huge schools of snapper, dolphins, eagle rays, and even the elusive guitar ray or guitarfish. Between dives Will and Joshua took us on hikes to Coiba and the remote islands where we saw dozens of howler monkeys in the trees and enormous 3 meter caymans. It's as wild as you can imagine, like entering Juraisac Park.
Coiba and Pixvae, the small fishing village where DBC's office is located, are very remote. You feel like you're literally at the ends of the earth because you are. The charming little town is about 90 minutes from Sona, or about 5 hours from Panama City. The road is now paved and the drive in is spectacular. Expect basic accommodations, but all provided by very cool, laid back and very friendly locals. The rooms were clean at Hostal Yosi and guests have access to the kitchen. We ate fresh fish, lobster, patacones and rice across the street each night prepared personally by the owner of Donde Tena as we watched extraordinary sunsets across the bay.
Another huge plus, Pixvae is just a 20-25 minute ride by ponga to Coiba, contrasted to at least a 90 minute ponga ride from Santa Catalina, where many of the other dive operators stage from.
Bottom line, if you're looking for an absolute first rate dive experience from start to finish, want to experience "authentic" Panama in a spectacularly beautiful and untouched area of the world, you won't do better than DBC. It's an unforgettable experience.
This was my first ever dive! I felt so completely taken care of by Joshua and his brother Will. They are masters of the sea, know all of the best... read more spots and they thank their father a Master Diver who has been appointed 'founder' of most of the best spots in Coiba over the last 30 plus years. When they aren't diving with their guests they are working with the Smithsonian Museum tracking coral life, and new fish spieces. People ask me if I will ever dive again, I say "well, if Joshua will be there then -yes.!" So this might get tricky or expensive! lol. We look forward to bringing our children down to enjoy all the Pixvae has to offer as a remote fishing village.
Josh and Will are half British therefore english is their second language to make your experience that much more relaxing if you are an anglo. If you have transport issues, let them know and they will help you out. You need a 4x4 to get in, but this location takes only 30 min to dive sites instead of 1.5 hrs from Santa Catalina. Last thing, they can help you with other excursions while you are there and connect you with the right people in town to hike, go on horseback, kayaks, fishing etc. So amazing, these guys are worth the trek to Pixvae. See you soon!
Best Dive Operator - I am a retired PADI Instructor. I can say without question that diving with Kevan Mantell at Dive Base Coiba is the very best anyone can ever hope for anywhere... read more in the world. Kevan is always teaching us all about the state of the ocean, the health of all the creatures in the sea, how each dive will be conducted, what we may expect to see. Safety is his highest priority. And his enthusiasm and happy demeanor, with all the seriousness that is also so important, always put everyone at ease. Diving with Kevan is a pleasure I hope many others get to experience. On our trip, we saw whale sharks, a baby humpback and momma, lobsters, eels, rays galore. And so many fish, I can’t begin to name them all. But Kevan can! I cannot recommend him any higher.
Amazing diving in Panama - We were lucky enough to get a ride to Pixvae with Kevan’s charming son Will who met us in Sona, I wont lie the journey was hot and... read more bumpy but the scenery was stunning. It was a long nearly 2 hour trip on a bumpy dusty track (only to be done by a 4x4).
The journey was so worth it, the village of Pixvae is charming with a fantastic beech. When you are this far off the beaten track don’t expect 5 star luxury. There is no mains electricity and your mobile won’t work.
We were shown to our accommodation which was a basic hostel where we had a twin room with shared bathroom, lighting was provided by solar powered lights. The only other guests were also there for the diving and we quickly discovered the nearby bar for a well earned cool beer.
We met Kevan a few hours after arriving, as he had been working away for five days on a scientific trip. He was tired from a days technical diving and probably just wanted to get his head down for a sleep, but he made us feel so welcome and gave us an introduction brief and made arrangements for the following days diving.
The first day diving was on a quiet site, there were five divers including the pair of us and the abilities were mixed from newly qualified to very experienced. So Kevan did the right thing and took the newbies for a check out dive first, then a slow gentle dive. He is extremely safety conscious and his attention to detail is to the highest standard I have seen in a dive company.
For the next two days diving it was just the pair for us, we had some wonderful dives seeing all the beauty the ocean had to offer. Big and little together. My highlight was to witness loads and loads of Diamond Rays so close up, I have never seen so many Rays together. The diving was great, Cobia is fantastic and our dive guide was brilliant. Kevan is one of the nicest passionate and professional people we have had the pleasure to meet. He is so knowledgeable, funny and has great stories to be told. The food was lovely and plenty of it, Luc is a great cook.
We happened to be there in very peculiar times, at the start of the coronavirus spreading world wide, with us in Pixvae oblivious to the quickly changing outside world, after news did drip through, Kevan looked after us so well, Kevan even shared his rum!!! On a serious note he made sure we were able to get out and was always in contact with us after leaving Pixvae until we made it home safely to the UK.
When the world returns to normal, we will be back to Panama and we look forward to diving again with Kevan, if he will put up with us again.
dive with an absolute Pro - well, the way to Pixvae is an adventurous drive but that's the guarantee you will not end in a dive base packing 20 people in a dive boat. Kevan is... read more an absolute pro, knows what he's talking about, secure and reliable. But most of all, you can learn about the ocean and it's life. With all his scientific experience Kevan shows and explains so many things you def never heard before about marine life. He and his charming wife Laura take care about everything during your stay. But you have to be willing to stay in a very simple town, with basic electricity, no hot water and no A/C.
Amazing Diving - We just returned from another outstanding dive trip with Kevan. Kevan’s attention to detail and safety is excellent. He is very knowledgeable about the Coiba area. ... read more We saw many large schools of fish, hammerhead sharks, white tip sharks, manta rays, turtles and interesting corals. If you ever want to dive in the Coiba National Park, Kevan is definitely the dive master to go to.
Amazing Experience for kids and adults alike - We just got back from a weekend at Pixvae. We were a large group of 18 people with several Padi Junior Divers among the group. Kevan and his team did... read more an amazing job of finding dive sites that were both shallow enough for the junior diver but interesting enough for the rest of the group. He is extremely safety conscious and runs a first class operation. I would highly recommend !
Kevan is an amazing dive-master. He is the most experienced, helpful, caring, safety-conscious, and educational guide we've ever had, and we've dived the world! He works... read more with Smithsonian Institute scientists, BBC filmmakers, National Geographic explorers, and the occasional Hollywood star, yet still makes regular teens and adults feel like they are the reason he does what he does. He is passionate about the environment, is very involved in helping his local community of Pixvae, and has personally aided in the saving of Coiba Island as a UNESCO world heritage site. His stories will educate, entertain, and inspire, whether he is on the boat or having dinner with you in the evening.
Dive Base Coiba is located in the small fishing village of Pixvae, and is a bit of a challenge (although a fun one) to get to. Because of the proximity to Coiba Island and the surrounding dive and snorkel sites, you save about 2 hours of boat time per day, as opposed to Santa Catalina, where all the less personalized operations are. You can catch the "bus" from Sona, or rent a vehicle, like we did. Kevan has great directions he will send you, but this 1.5 hour drive in the Panamanian mountains on steep little winding, dirt, rocky roads, at one point over a small stream without a bridge, is not for the faint of heart or inexperienced driver. If you drive yourself, be sure to get a 4x4 Jimmy (or preferably bigger 4x4), understand the difference between low and high 4x4, and check the road conditions with Kevan first.
The fishing village itself is a very interesting experience in the real culture and conditions many Panamanians live in. Think of it as camping with someone to cook for you! We had our own little room in the hostel, but shared a bathroom. We paid extra for the air conditioning, which came on for the evening. Electricity came on in the evening too. The meals were made with Panamanian authenticity, and were simple but very good. It was fun eating with the other diving couple (there were only 5 guests on board at all times), comparing photos, and chatting about our experiences. Although things are rustic, you won't notice because you will be listening to Kevan's stories, or remembering the amazing dive or snorkel trip you were just on!
Diving and Snorkelling
My husband and son were diving, and I was just snorkelling, so Kevan took the time to drop me at small island snorkelling places while he took the rest diving. His time and attention to everyone's needs are what makes Dive Base Coiba special.
This was an unforgettable trip, and we will remember it for the rest of our lives. At the end of the dive, we snorkelled with a whale shark for half an hour. Kevan knew where they would be, and one happened to find us at our boat as the group finished diving. Although some would say this was just a chance encounter, I believe it happened in large part due to Kevan's knowledge of the area, the fact that he could go places those from Santa Catalina didn't know about or have time to visit, his patience, and experience. Dive Base Coiba (don't confuse it with similarly named operations) with Kevan is not just a "dive or snorkelling trip," but an amazing experience--one that makes vacations memorable, and a real adventure. You won't be sorry.
Highlight of our trip ! - This was, hands down, the most special time of our road trip from California to Panama.
We found out about Kevan and Dive Base Coiba randomly. After exploring his... read more web site, and reading comments here on trip advisor, we decided it was right up our alley : a secluded, small village, at the end of a challenging dirt road our 4X4 was made for, a place untouched by mass-tourisme, a postcard paradise beach, and a professional diver with massive knowledge and love for what he does.
We made that decision last minute, on a Sunday night, send an email in the middle of the night, and drove out there without waiting for an answer.
We got to Pixvae Monday afternoon, were stunned by its beauty, and drove across the sleepy village, all the way to a beautiful beach where we set up camp. We were quickly welcomed by a very friendly local family, who helped us understand how things were working here, where and when we could get online to communicate with Kevan. Without news we spent our Tuesday free diving in 4 différents beautiful location, and the afternoon cooking with the family.
Kevan had been out on sea on an 8 days scientific diving mission, and only got our message on Tuesday. Needless to say, we were his first ever « walk-in » customers ! He was super responsive to us, and after a very short night with his family, drove from Santiago to Pixvae on Wednesday morning, to take us on what was gonna be the 2 most epic days of diving of our life.
Playful jumping humpback whales and dolphin on our way to and back from the dive sites, incredibly beautiful and rich marine life during the dives (countless colorful fish, sharks, turtles, garden eels, lobsters, barracudas, and to top it off, a majestic Manta Ray ).
Kevan is a true, passionate professional, with both his head and his heart in the right place. He uses the local community for his diving activities, and strives in many way to have a long lasting positive impact here. He loves the ocean, and it radiates in all the stories he will share with you. He is one of the most knowledgeable diver I have ever met, and his very long history working with scientists and production crew in the area makes him, without comparaison, the most in depth specialist of the underwater area. He is also safety oriented, in ways you probably have not very often encounter in « diving in paradise » type of operation.
Over all, he has been beyond helpful, welcoming and accommodating with us.
I could not recommend him more, and we’re already making plans to come back to this very special little corner of the world!
The absolute best experience! - I have lived in Panama for almost 13 years and have been to Pixvae and with Kevan Mantell several times. It never gets old or boring.
... read more /> This trip is only for experienced travelers who are looking for adventure. If you're boring and need the comforts of an air conditioned hotel with animals in cages then this isn't the place for you. Go to Disney.
I have traveled here with friends, husband and my 3 kids ranging in age from 6-16 years old several times. From Sona to Pixvae, it's 2 hours on a rough gravel road. A strong SUV is necessary, some snacks, a beer or 2 and a love of adventure. It's up and down, curvy, through creeks, waving to the locals on horseback, waiting for the cows to move, watching the butterflies float past the car, listening to the howlers in the distance. Pretty boring right?
This past weekend was the best to the point that my now 7 year old asked why we kept stopping to watch all the Humpback whales. From the boat we saw more whale than we could count, jumping dolphin and jumping rays, sea turtles, flying fish, other jumping fish. Snorkeling we saw sea turtles, white tipped shark, octopus, eels, so many fish. The scuba divers saw all of that plus a 15 foot manta ray.
And to top off all of that, Kevan Mantell is an amazingly experienced and knowledgeable marine biologist who knows the ocean like it's his backyard. When I was snorkeling, he told me to go to a specific area where I would find a specific coral and there would be a shark there. And he was exactly right. Another spot he told us about the giant male sea turtle that lives in the area and sure enough, we found him too. His gentle nature and massive amount of knowledge about the ocean puts the cherry on top.
The house he sets up for us is a basic concrete structure with the bare necessities so be prepared for a cold shower and simple rooms. Bring your own cooler packed with snacks and ice. The town has no electricity. The ladies cooked breakfast and dinner for us - delicious meals that filled us up after a day out on the boat.
This trip is really only for those who love adventure. If you're looking for a touristy destination with some pre-packaged enjoyment, this is not for you. But for the adventure seekers, it doesn't get much better than this.
DBC, a hidden Gem! - Dive Base Coiba is definitely a top notch Dive Center and more than that. Pixvae is a lost paradise!. Look no further if you’re and adventurous person who’s willing to... read more have a real life experience at all levels.
Pixvae is a very remote village located in the Veraguas province, -just in front of the Coiba National Park, even closer than Santa Catalina- with less than 500 residents, (very friendly BTW) away from the ordinary modern world commodities (there’s no cellphone signal nor Internet access –except on weekends between 5pm and 8pm-), and electricity is provided by solar panels. To get there it takes between 2 to 3hrs from the town of Sona. The drive there is intended to be made with a 4WD. The drive over mountain ridges and passes, rain forest, small creeks and amazing landscapes, starts to make your trip a truly out-of this world experience. On our way in into Pixvae, we were driving at night and so a clear clean dark night made it even more special and mystic. The area of Pixvae is still so pure and away from city lights that you can definitely spend all night awake looking at the sky and stars. We were amazed of the fact that we were able to see the band of white light of the milky way arching across the sky with our own eyes.
As soon as you enter the town you feel the amazing vibes and relaxed living on the shore of a beautiful bay.
Once in the place, you’re welcomed by Kevan Mantell, what an AWESOME guy. From the very moment you shake his hand and start talking to him you feel the presence of a highly knowledgeable professional. Kevan and his team (Luz and Silveria) at Hostal Yosi will make you feel at an old friend’s home. The place is simply, comfortable, clean and just perfect to start a magic journey around the area (there’s even an option to have a fuel power-plant to recharge your cameras, lights and even turn on the A/C on the rooms). They cook amazing-tasteful local meals, using very fresh ingredients, ohh, remember to ask for Kevan’s home made spicy sauce.
The diving experience: WOW, AMAZING!, as soon as you enter the door of the CDB, Kevan will treat you as a family member, he’s not just a divemaster, a truly professional with detailed attention to details, safety (Radios both in land as in the boat, first aid kits, oxygen, GPS, even marine sonars) and provides you top class diving equipment. At the dive center, the first thing you’ll notice is a big map of the Coiba National Park and Isla Contreras area, he'll give you a really comprehensive overview of the marine biology, environmental history, geological history of the park and the surrounding area to which after an initial individual assessment made by him of your diving experience and of course weather / water conditions, will explain and decide the places to go.
Kevan knows this area like the palm of his hand. He has been diving the area for over 20 years, in which he has led research expeditions for the BBC, National Geographic, the European Space Agency, Smithsonian, UNESCO, even celebrities, so basically you’re with an all-in-one “open book” modern Cousteau dive professional, marine biologist, climatologist, research scientist, environment and conservationist. His knowledge of the Pacific Latin America island ecosystem (Cocos, Coiba, Malpelo & Galapagos) will delight you for hours and hours.
Diving in Coiba and Contreras means strong currents, on this season there was great visibility and cool water temperature and full of marine life of all types (sharks, seahorses, school of barracudas, lobsters, etc., even whales), Kevan took us out to explore a new diving site (you my ask him for “bajo tico”) and it’s amazing coral life and deeeeeeeeep walls. On our second to last dive of the 2nd day of diving we were delighted with sound of surrounding whales, which at the end of our dive (while at the safety stop) one of the whales passed by less than 60feet away from us), this leaves you speechless.
Once back on land, and our last night of dives and expedition in Pixvae, Kevan invited us to his home for an incredible dinner and an amazing chat on many many topics. Definitely worth every second with DBC and their amazing people.
Can’t wait to be there back soon!
Incredible Dive and Snorkel Experience! - I have lived in Panama for a little less than one year and have made the 5-hour trek to Dive Base Coiba for three of those weekends. My first visit... read more to Pixvae was with a group of 16 people and we spent two days with Kevan snorkeling multiple sites. This was by far my best snorkel experience in Panama. We revisited two more weekends to get scuba certified with Kevan where we saw even more amazing things over a span of 8 dives - islands, coral, octopus, sharks, millions of fish, rays, sea turtles, starfish, lobster, and more! Kevan not only was an incredible and attentive instructor, he prepares you for any activity - swimming, snorkeling, diving, hiking - by making sure you understand his safety protocols as well as introducing you to the plant, animal, and marine life you will likely see. His knowledge and experiences make visits to Dive Base Coiba something you cannot get anywhere else. On top of all of this, the town of Pixvae, surrounding islands, and Isla de Coiba are all magnificent in their beauty above and below the surface. This is unlike anything a resort will offer you with individual attention that cannot be beat. I would highly recommend this as your #1 scuba visit in Panama!
Amazing experience - Dive Base Coiba is the best dive shop in Panama. Kevan Mantell is a true professional and his attention to detail and safety is at the highest level it... read more can be. The area we dove in the Coiba National Park was rich with sealife and we saw just an amazing variety of species, including octopus, turtles, spotted rays, stingrays, shark, barracuda, huge lobsters and thousands of reef fish as well as Kevan pointing out smaller sealife that is still unknown to me. A great adventure for myself and my wife and two friends. As newly certified divers Kevan was patient with us and very safetyk conscious. His pre-dive briefs were thourough and made sure we were not diving above our experience level. He passed on two sites because of current issues. We were happy to move on to other sites that made our diving a better experience for our level of certification. We made six dives over three days. Louis, also an experienced diver, came with us on all the dives and was quite helpful to us. The boat captain was knowledgeable about the area and was always where he was suppose to be when we surfaced. Radio and first aid kits and oxygen were on the boat, a simple panga, and we took our surface intervals on pristine beaches where we ate lunch and relaxed and snorkeled. Pixvae, the location of the dive shop and our accommodations, is a small pueblo of 300 and very basic. But if you are into diving in an area of excellence with a dive master that is a professional, this is the place and dive shop for you. Thank you Kevan! KZ
The dive instructor was hospitable and has unbelievable experienced.
The knowledge of the area and its history was almost as amazing as the dive sites themselves. Our dive instructor... read more is so experienced in this area that he even named some of the dive sites. I felt very comfortable as this was my first time scuba diving and am now hooked thanks to Dive Base Coiba.
Look no further, This is the Panama Dive you are looking for. - I usually don't leave reviews but felt compelled in this instance...
Kevan Mantell owns Dive Base Coiba, he is as professional as it gets, even down to the amazing... read more BBC English accent we have all grown so accustomed to learning about nature from. More than a diver, but a true proponent of the environment and conservation. Few can say they have fought to keep Panama (specifically Coiba) preserved more than Kevan. As a professional diver who has been contracted for many large-scale productions (many of which you are familiar with), you can rest assured that the equipment is of high-quality name brands and checked several times prior to use.
It had been a while since my last dive. I made many mistakes however Kevan was always keeping an eye on me. For example, after we finished our dive I tried to get back onto the boat with my weight belt on. He was down below and unfastened my belt for me before I even knew I had left it on. Amazing attention to detail. I'll never forget when I dropped my GoPro5 while we were making our ascent after our dive. I got on the boat upset that my GoPro5 was gone forever, somewhere on that ocean floor. Kevan noticing it's gone (again, great attention to detail) asks me "what happened?". I tell him I dropped it, hanging my head hopelessly. Still trying to come to terms with a $500 loss of my GoPro at the beginning of my 4-month trek. Kevan, without hesitation, puts his mask on, the regulator in his mouth and disappears. Less than 7 minutes later he is back at the surface holding my GoPro5 in hand.
Thank you Kevan 100 times over again... If I could leave a 10-star review I would.
I really don't know why anyone would consider diving with anyone besides Dive Base Coiba. We saw so many amazing fish, turtles, sharks. The location is prime migratory territory, thus you are guaranteed to see some truly memorable wildlife. (While on our way back a school of Pilot whales just happen to swim by. A member of our group jumped into the ocean to capture the awesome display as they pass.)
The instructor is the highest tier of professionalism with stories that will leave you in disbelief (Ask him about the trip he took on the whales tail that changed how he wears his shoes. Its quite possibly the coolest story I've ever heard.). The lunch was really good too. It is truly an amazing area that has been made better by the impact of this organization. I don't always dive Panama but when I do, I dive DBC.
Perfect adventures, thanks to Kevan and Dive Base Coiba! - Kevan and his team at Dive Base Coiba could not have been any better. Kevan took us on three days of adventures for the five of us; some of... read more us are experienced divers and I'm a novice diver, and we all had an excellent time. We did shallow dives, deep dives, snorkeled, and even hiked the forests. First, Kevan has been diving for over 20 years in this area so he knows EVERYTHING about it. Second, he is smart, patient, detailed, and committed to safety. Third, he thinks of everything and took incredibly good care of us. And finally, he's very knowledgeable and friendly and enjoyable to hang out with. I give Dive Base Coiba the highest possible recommendation, and we are eager to return for more dives and adventures with Kevan and his team.
Second dive trip with Dive Base Coiba - Long overdue review, but my son, friend and I did our second weekend with Kevan Mantell in late November. Once again, truly an amazing weekend. Saw dozens of white tipped... read more reef sharks, sea turtles, schools of tuna, corvina, etc.
On our last dive, second day, we saw an enormous sea turtle that appeared at first to have gotten wedged between a couple of rocks on the sea floor. We watched him closely for about 5 minutes, and eventually he got loose and swam away.
As I wrote last time, diving with Kevan really is like participating in a research expedition.
During our latest trip, he even let us participate in helping contribute to his research in our own small way. One of the divers who joined us brought a drone and Kevan asked him to take photographs and video of the coral beds in one of the bays that he could use to build out a more comprehensive research map of the area.
His knowledge of the area is extraordinary. When you arrive to Dive Base Coiba, he has this huge map of the Coiba National Park on the wall, and he'll give you a really comprehensive overview of the marine biology, environmental history, geological history, and even political history (Coiba Island was the site of a notorious prison during the Noriega years) of the area. Fascinating stuff.
At another point while we were at the surface, Kevan stopped the boat just as a pod of dolphins was swimming towards us. Kevan urged us to jump in with snorkels and mask. We watched as they whooshed by right underneath us. Incredible.
The other thing about Kevan: He gives his full attention and professionalism to every one of his clients whether its recreational divers like us; professional and research divers from National Geographic, the European Space Agency, or BBC: or his VIP clients like Mick Jagger, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones, and several well known billionaires (yes, he's taken them all diving at Coiba) He puts a premium on safety and will walk you through a full safety briefing before every dive and do several safety check ins during your dives.
We'll be heading back for our third trip in 2018.
Dive Base Coiba - an amazing eco-tourism underwater adventure - I and three marine biologists studying the coral reef ecosystem at Uva Island scheduled a trip for four days of diving with Kevan. We were treated as royalty by Kevan... read more and his warm and highly competent staff. From the lovely Panamanian food made by Luz, to the competent and efficient boat handling by Mistolin, we were able to focus our energies on our work. In the few days we spent with Kevan, we felt we were in the hands of a highly competent person with a deep passion for the environment and the people of Pixvae. Kevan works hard to improve the livelihood of the local people, helping them develop their infrastructure in collaboration with local authorities to offer them a better way of life. Kevan is deeply knowledgeable of the surrounding environment, both on land and at sea, and shared many valuable insights. The accommodations are rustic, but if you love undersea adventures in a pristine environment and enjoy meeting locals who are humble, lovely people, Kevan and Dive Base Coiba will provide you with an unparalleled experience!!
Amazing People, Beautiful Location, Unforgettable Experience - We have dove with Kevan Mantell/ Dive Base Coiba ten times. There are two things that stand out to me about their dive operation.
1) Safety first -... read more Regardless if you are a novice or an advanced diver, he takes time to go over hand signals, checks equipment, shows you where safety equipment is stored on the boat and evaluates your situations before you jump in the water. Everything is "tranquilo" and you feel extremely comfortable to jump in the water.
2) A true passion for the environment - You will learn so much from Kevan about the ocean's ecosystem and the Panama area in general. From the smallest wrasse to the cleaning stations of surgeons, he educates, answers your question and shares his passion for the sea.
As far as the diving, Coiba offers sooo many amazing things to see. From dolphins to a huge population of white-tipped reef sharks; sea turtles to morish idles; beautiful corals to waving sea fans; eels to schools of Jacks - we saw it all!!! Plus, you get to enjoy the captivating, Jurassic-park esque beaches of Coiba during surface intervals.
I would highly recommend Dive Base Coiba over any other shops in the Santa Catalina area. You will not be disappointed!!!
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