Santa Catalina

All you need to know about

Santa Catalina is an authentic fishing village located on the Chiriquí Gulf in the state of Veraguas. There are approximately 400 inhabitants here, both local and ex-pat.  It existed in quiet seclusion until discovered by adventurous surfers in the 1970s. Protecting their hidden world class surf, Santa Catalina was kept secret by the surfers for quite some time.


Today, Santa Catalina offers a smattering of surf camps, low cost to high-end hotels and a few eating establishments. Still fairly secluded, the closest town with ATM, grocery, other basic services is Soná which is about an hour away.


Literally a tropical paradise, Santa Catalina offers some of the best surf in Panama, the closest access point to Isla Coiba, a UNESCO World Heritage site and marine wonderland.


With its world class diving, great local dives and fishing and quiet charm for relaxing. Its beautiful beaches, lush forest and friendly people make it a great stop for travelers wanting to enjoy some of the best of Panama’s natural beauty and local flair on a minimal budget.

in Santa Catalina

January is the busiest month in Santa Catalina and one of the best times to visit as it is the start of dry season. Panama is a country with two, six-month seasons: rainy and dry, and in Santa Catalina, in both seasons, temperatures hover between 90 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit (30-34 Celsius) during the day and drop into the 70’s (20’s C) at night.


Santa Catalina offers world class diving, and January is one of the best months of the year for it. Whale sharks can be seen on Isla Coiba during this time, attracting a crowd of SCUBA divers looking to bring in the New Year with the blessing of these gentle giants. January is a month with almost no rain, creating perfect sunny days spent relaxing on the beach and in the crystal blue ocean.


February through May mimic January’s dry air, warm sun, and cool waters. Catering to the diving crowd, March is the season of the giant Mobula manta rays which can be seen on Isla Coiba while diving or snorkeling. The waves in this time of year are beginning to improve from the smaller waves of the beginning of the dry season.


Starting in June, Santa Catalina enters the start of rainy season. Rainy season is different every year in terms of when the rain begins, how long it lasts and total precipitation. June calls for a light, much-needed rain, typically once or twice per week. In this time Santa Catalina receives light rain showers during the mid-afternoon, cooling off the atmosphere and creating a relaxing breeze. The end of June is the beginning of Whale season, bringing in the orca and humpback whales to begin calving.


June, July, and August are all busy months in Santa Catalina as tourists from all over the world visit on their summer vacation. The surfing crowd begins to get bigger too as it chases big waves throughout Central America.


September through November is a quiet time in Santa Catalina because rainy season has officially set in bringing heavy rain and thunderstorms until December.  A common misconception of travelers is not to travel through Panama and Santa Catalina during these months, but it is also the best time for world-class surfing as barrel waves greater than four meters tall hit almost every day at the point break.

Current weather

Map of Santa Catalina

Shuttle From Santa Catalina

Santa Catalina to Boquete

Duration: 5 hours






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