It may just be a quiet fishing village off Panama’s Pacific coast, but Santa Catalina is one of the country’s top tourist destinations. In fact, it is the village’s remoteness and unspoiled authenticity that appeals to most travelers. Adding to that, Santa Catalina is a popular surfing and diving spot with fantastic beaches as well as a frequent gateway to the Coiba National Marine Park.
Santa Catalina is small enough that it can be explored completely by walking. Tourists will not find any major landmarks, man-made attractions or shopping malls in this quaint village, but what they will discover are friendly people, a laid-back atmosphere and sandy beaches offering swimming, snorkeling, diving, kayaking and sport fishing. With some of the best and most regular surf breaks in all of Central America, Santa Catalina is also a surfer’s dream. The idyllic landscapes surrounding the village present horseback riding and birdwatching opportunities. With the village’s close proximity to Coiba Island, tourists can enjoy a spectacular boat ride to the national marine park where they can see an incredible diversity of land and marine wildlife.
While Santa Catalina is small, it has as a surprising variety of dining choices from seafood, pizza, vegetarian and traditional Panamanian eateries to international restaurants serving cuisines like Italian, Mexican and Argentinean. A few bars are also available for drinks, live music and socializing.