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Discover Santa Catalina: A Secluded Surfer’s Paradise in Panama

How to get there, where to stay

Discover Santa Catalina: A Secluded Surfer’s Paradise in Panama

As we unveil the splendor of Panama’s hidden gem, you’ll find that Santa Catalina isn’t just a destination, it’s a serene escape from the ordinary. This tranquil fishing village in the province of Veraguas has effortlessly transformed into a surfer’s paradise, maintaining its quaint charm and offering an adventure for every traveler. Whether you’re eager to catch the legendary waves at Santa Catalina’s beaches, relax in  Lago Bay Hotel, or do as many activities offered by local bilingual guides, there’s an experience tailored just for you.

Inviting surf camps dot the coastline, catering to adventurers from around the world, yet you’ll find that Santa Catalina remains refreshingly unspoilt and budget-friendly. A visit to Santa Catalina guarantees not only an encounter with some of Panama’s best surf but also a chance to blend in with the friendly local community, all while enjoying the natural surroundings. So, if you’re contemplating where your next journey should take you, look no further—Santa Catalina beckons with its waves, charm, and endless discoveries.


Discovering Santa Catalina: Panama’s Hidden Surf Gem

For those with a liking for the surfboard and a taste for the undiscovered, Santa Catalina in Panama is unmistakable. Nestled on the Pacific coast, this slice of paradise captures the essence of a laid-back lifestyle, yet buzzes with the excitement of world-class surfing opportunities. As we explore Panama City to Santa Catalina, our journey unveils a destination that’s both remote and inviting, a place where the waves are as welcoming as the people.

Departing from Panama City, Blue Skies Panama is the only provider of charter flight to Santa Catalina with flights of 45 minutes landing at the Lago Bay Hotel’s private landing strip.  As you disembark, leaving behind the bustle of city life and soaring over the vast blue waters,  Lago Bay welcomes you to it’s villas offering everything you need and shuttles to move you around Santa Catalina town and back.

Best place to stay in Santa Catalina

Lago Bay

Lago Bay has 3 villas suited for groups from 4 people to 10 close enough to Santa Catalina’s town to be there in minutes, and distanced enough to offer privacy and exclusivity.

Hosted by the owner, Lago Bay is constantly well-maintained, all details covered and spacious relaxing spaces with complete kitchens, comfortable beds, a pool,  terraces and breathtaking views.

Lago Bay lodging options are: 

  • The North Villa that hosts 4 people
  • South Villa that hosts up to 6 adults and 2 children and 
  • The Casa Blanca that hosts 10 people.  

Other amenities at Lago Bay

  • WiFi
  • Paid washer and dryer
  • Essentials (towels, soap, bed sheets, toilet paper)
  • Extra pillows and blankets
  • Air conditioner
  • Full kitchen and cooking basics
  • Refrigerator
  • Coffee maker, microwave and oven
  • Dishes and silverware
  • Private fenced areas
  • Hammocks
  • BBQ gril
  • Long term stays allowed (28 days or more)

More lodging options

While Lago Bay is the best option to stay in Santa Catalina, there are other options around, you can ask our staff for

From Lago Bay you can arrange activities like:

  1. Hiking around the area to see diverse colorful wildlife
  2. Go scuba or snorkeling to Coiba Island
  3. Visit nearby town like Mariato to see the marine turtle conservation plans 
  4. Visit Pixvae, a paradise off-grid town recently open to mainland traffic.
  5. Sport fishing
  6. Beach hopping
  7. Bird watching

With its trademark wave La Punta, Santa Catalina draws seasoned surfers from every corner of the globe. A constant gift of nature, La Punta’s tantalizing swells are a year-round presence, ensuring that surfing enthusiasts can find their nirvana no matter the season. But worry not if you’re not the one to dance with towering waves; the nurturing waters of Playa Estero school beginners in the art of surf, with gentle, forgiving conditions.

While you are visiting  Santa Catalina you’ll enjoy the simpler things in life: Meeting friendly locals surfing at the beaches, Amazing sunsets, a round of beach soccer, fishing by the shoreline or simply a tranquil moment embracing the tropical ambience.  Santa Catalina is a humble, yet vibrant nod to the heart of Panama’s natural elegance. So, we invite you to join us amidst these wonders, where each activity enriches the spirit and adds to the story of your travels.

    To our fellow adventurers seeking the thrill of the unridden wave, the allure of tropical landscapes, and the touch of balmy breezes, let Santa Catalina’s hidden charm transform your next getaway into an unforgettable escapade.

    Santa Catalina: A Surfer’s Paradise with Rich History

    Surfing is the heart and story of Santa Catalina, Panama, where waves whisper tales of transformation from a serene village to a surfer’s utopia. Several international surfing have taken place here being the 2023 Pan American Surfing Games the latest to be held here. This is also a recurring spot for capturing great surfing videos or photos that are 50% action, 50% natural beauty and 100% surf.

    Santa Catalina is not only for experienced surfists as you can take lessons and ride waves at beaches like El Estero, a well-known surfing beach for beginners.

    Here, you’ll encounter the pulse of Panama’s surf scene, home to the most reliable and thunderous waves to grace the coastlines of Central America. The once hushed whispers of Santa Catalina’s legendary breaks have now reached the ears of surfers globally. 

    Local Charm and Warm Welcomes: Experience the Vibrant Community

    Besides the excitement of surfing in Santa Catalina, one finds the soul of the village in its warm people and vibrant traditions. Nearby towns and islands like Cébaco Island, Leones Island, Coibita Island and Coiba Island are worth the visit as each one has different activities or things to see there.  Contact Us for more information on how to create a custom trip for you.

    Each visit offers a chance to engage with the community where simplicity meets joy, fishing boats bob in anticipation, and children’s laughter melds with the ocean breeze – an authentic blend of Santa Catalina local culture.

    Our paths through Santa Catalina lead us past modest homestays, cozy surf camps, and the freshest catch of the day, simmering in palm-shaded cafes. Evenings here unravel to the rhythm of strumming guitars, as laughter and tales from the sea ascend into the starlit sky. The Santa Catalina experience is more than a traveler’s respite; it’s where stories unfold, friendships form, and the tapestry of Panamanian life is woven into your very own journey. It’s not just a surf trip, it’s a gateway to the heart of a community enriched by the ocean, by its history, and by the waves that continue to shape its story.

    Comparing Catalinas: Panama’s Gem and California’s Beauty

    When we talk about Catalina and vacations, two distinct paradises come to mind: Santa Catalina Island in Panama, and Catalina Island in California. Each holds its unique charm and beckons travelers with enticing coastlines and a plethora of activities. Panama’s Santa Catalina offers an unspoiled surfing haven, delivering an authentic experience amidst its vibrant natural landscape. Its rugged beauty and the opportunity to interact closely with the local culture make it a favorite amongst backpackers and adventure-seekers.

    On the other hand, Catalina Island California, with its commitment to conservation and a wide array of recreational activities, paints a picture of a more manicured getaway. Here, guests can enjoy everything from leisurely hikes to educational historic tours, all wrapped in the conservational ethos the island is known for. While comparing Catalinas, we recognize that whether you choose the wild allure of Panama or the refined elegance of California, both islands offer a unique escape into their respective paradises.

    Thus, our adventures take us from the raw, untamed waves of Santa Catalina Beah to the sophisticated shores of Catalina Island California. Both are jewels of the sea in their own right, welcoming visitors into their embrace with the promise of lasting memories. 

    Contact Us today to book a custom-made vacational package