Panama is a quintessential marine country, whose history and economy have long been linked to the sea. It has coasts on the Caribbean (1,207 km) and the Pacific (1,700.6 km) Oceans. This privileged geographic condition has generated important marine and coastal areas with such terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems as mangroves, beaches and coral reefs, that form incredible underwater landscapes of submarine flora and fauna on both coasts.
On the Panamanian Caribbean Sea submarine specialists are astonished by the extraordinary underwater beauty,
The North and South Zapatillas Keys in the province of Bocas del Toro, part of the Bastimentos Island National Marine Park,
The waters nearby Old Point,
Wild Cane Cay and East Water Cay.
On Colón Island, tour operators provide the necessary equipment and guides to safely practice this activity. Here you can go diving year-round.
The San Blas Archipelago is famous worldwide for its beautiful islands formed of coral and crystal clear waters, that make diving and snorkeling the main activities performed in this place. The best months for diving are April, May, November and December.
Portobelo Bay, Mamey Island and Big Island are meeting places for divers and snorkelers. Diving in these waters, awash in history from pirates and corsairs of the seventeenth century, can turn into a grand adventure. These waters were the scene of stormy battles, and the underwater grave for the famous pirate Sir Francis Drake, tossed into the sea in a lead coffin. The best months for diving are in April and May, and in November and December.
In the Pacific Ocean there are large stretches of underwater beauty, like at Coiba Island, in Coiba National Park, where the largest coral reef on the Pacific coast of Central America converts the area into a vast natural aquarium. Another possibility is to visit the Gulf of Chiriquí Marine National Park, where going tankless diving or snorkeling is an emotional journey, like in a multicolor fishbowl, but with large species like whales and dolphins. In these two areas, the best diving is had during the months of December to March.
The Contadora and Taboga Islands in the Pearl Islands Archipelago are the closest sites to Panama City for diving. These islands offer all the facilities for diving with or without a tank.
The coral reefs at Iguana Island Wildlife Refuge are perfectly conserved, creating ideal conditions to easily observe at shallow depths and making it an excellent and calm place for diving.
The waters near the Panama Canal, specifically in the Gatun and Alajuela lakes, are a globally unique diving destination. Diving here may become quite a different experience, because the appeal is to peer into the depths to seek out the ruins of the first pan-isthmian train and the ancient dredges that excavated the Canal bed.
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