Expeditions

Lost Coast Diving Expedition

Panama

Location: Santa Catalina, Isla Coiba, Veraguas, Panama
Leader: Capt. Hennie Marias, Dive Master Peter Marias & Jose Smith, Terra & Patrick Boone, Rhett Power
Dates: February 8 – 15, 22 – 29, March 21 – 28, 2020
Number of Participants: 6 – 12

Coiba National Park, located off the southwest coast of Panama, is an United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site that includes 38 smaller islands with surrounding abundant marine area. Coiba National Park forms part of the Eastern Pacific Marine Conservation Corridor composed of the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador), the Cocos Islands (Costa Rica), and Mapelo and Gorgona Islands (Colombia). It is the last refuge for a number of threatened species and an essential area for migratory species. The Park provides the essentials for the maintenance of the ecological balance of the oceanic masses, and valuable habitat for cetaceans, sharks, sea turtles and a large variety of pelagic fish species of high importance to regional level fisheries. The diversity found here is unique and abundant. It is rich and well-preserved in natural resources and is the largest island covered by primeval forests in the Americas.

With over 700 species of reef fish and thousands of species of exotic flowers, plants and birds. Coiba offers an adventure into a beautiful, unique and remote wildlife that is the ultimate sanctuary for all types of mammals, birds and endangered plants. The island hosts more than 148 species of bird: 96 residents, 40 migrants, and 12 accidentals classes of bird. Additionally, there are 36 species of mammals, a few of which you might encounter under the sea.

Isla Coiba is surrounded by coral reefs with a diverse tropical underwater life. Diving here is an experience in pristine, secluded and almost unexplored waters teeming with marine life. A short list of marine life you could encounter in the underwater world includes whale sharks, white-tipped reef sharks, turtles, dolphins, sting rays, large schools of manta rays, lobsters, bigeye jacks, tuna, barracudas, moray eels, wahoos, snappers and of course, lots of colorful butterflyfish and parrotfish.

 

Your Diving Expedition facilitated by the Outdoor Leadership Institute

We cater to our guests in various ways to craft an experience that you will never forget. Safety is of the utmost concern and we provide training and safety standards beyond the required minimum. Our transportation vehicles are properly equipped with first aid kits, UHF radios, satellite communication and are set up for travel and leisure.

     • Our guides have years of experience and knowledge of each area you will visit.
     • Our boats are properly equipped with first aid kits, UHF radios, satellite communication and are set up for diving. OLI Captains are properly trained in water rescue and ocean conditions monitoring.
     • Our dive masters have hundreds of hours of experience and knowledge of the area.
     • Safety is of the utmost concern. We provide training and safety standards beyond the required minimums.

Lost Coast Diving: Providing education from PADI Discover Scuba Diving to Dive Master and Instructor Programs.  

Our dive instructors will assure proper training and education with an ecological marine conservation influence. Not only will you be educated according to the strict PADI regulations and requirements for certification, you will also be shown a marine life that needs protection and positive support. Exploring, learning and growing on the Lost Coast region of Panama can be achieved in safety and security knowing that you are with highly trained instructors and reliable equipment. All of our performance equipment is properly cared for after each dive, and this is also enforced and taught during our program. Each attendee will walk away with a solid experience and foundation to continue their explorations in scuba. 

Daily Activities

The focus of this expedition is to gain a mastery in the desired scuba diving discipline. Knowledge development will occur in the mornings and evenings after each day of practical diving instruction. Once proficiency is gained during confined water dives, the students and instructors will continue with open water dives to complete program certification. There will be times between dives that will allow the use of stand-up paddleboards and sea kayaks for the group to explore the remote and majestic islands surrounding Coiba.

Expedition Highlights

This is an 8-day expedition that includes all vehicular and vessel transportation as necessary. An OLI team leader will greet you at Tocumen Airport upon your arrival and you will be assisted until your return to Tocumen for your return flight. In addition to an incredible dive experience you will also have the opportunity to surf, stand-up-paddle board, and sea kayak. You will learn about marine conservation the local environment, while engaging in talks about local culture and life including visiting local villages in one of the most remote parts of the world.

Primary Accommodations 

Santa Catalina Base Camp and Bahia Honda Base Camp

What’s Included

• Double room accommodations on hotel nights
• Three meals a day
• Transportation by private, air-conditioned motor coach as well as transfers for group, as appropriate
• English speaking guide/interpreter to accompany during the whole touring period.
• Admission and fees to parks.
• Guest speakers at many dinners

What’s Not Included

 • Airfares, international and domestic.
• Travel/health insurance (recommended)
• Other personal expenses like overseas calls and laundry

• Tips for service providers outside of OLI

Physical Level

OLI requires travelers to be in good physical shape and health. The tour may involve: long days (usually 8+ hours), a substantial amount of physical activity in very remote locations. Being in the sun in potentially hot temperatures, long journeys by bus, and other similarly challenging scenarios. If you have questions or concerns, please email info@outdoorleadershipinstitute.org so we can help determine if the trip is appropriate for you.

Base Trip Price: $4,000
Final payment is due 90 days before departure. 

ITINERARY

DAY 1 : ARRIVAL DAY : SATURDAY

Arrival Tocumen International Airport in Panama. You will be met on arrival and transferred to a regional hotel within Panama City. Evening meet and greet with attendees and guides to be followed up with dinner in a local restaurant.

DAY 2 : TRANSPORTATION DAY : MONDAY

Transportation to the remote village of Santa Catalina ( approximate population 420) is roughly a 6 hour drive via minibus or large van. We will take advantage of this time to brief everyone on trip itinerary, what to expect and first aid in remote locations. Arrival into Santa Catalina is followed by set up at base camp and an opportunity to explore the village and enjoy the beach, surfing, paddle boarding or swimming. We will then prepare for an adventure into town for a delicious dinner.

DAYS 3-6 : DIVING DAYS : TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY

Early morning departure from Playa Santa Catalina for an hour boat ride to Bahia Honda Base Camp. The following days are filled with educational and practical assessments in scuba. Each day will be filled with a combination of diving, snorkeling, stand up paddle boarding, sea kayaking and island absorption. Days will be filled with adventure and exploration while learning the skills of scuba. Integrated into our sessions will be lectures on local villages, cultures and marine conservation and its importance to the global economy. Day 6 we will return to Santa Catalina.

DAY 7 : TRANSPORTATION DAY : FRIDAY

Depart from Santa Catalina to Panama City. This is the wind-down. A recap of the week’s adventures, exchange of photos and contacts. Once arrived in Panama City, you will check into your lodging and prepare for an end of trip dinner / banquet.

DAY 8 : DEPARTURE DAY : SATURDAY

Depart Tocumen for home.

 

Itinerary Disclaimer

While we do our best to adhere to the itinerary, traveling to remote parts of the world requires flexibility, and changes to specific interactions and other activities may occur. In addition, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and changes to timetables and transport routes, which can happen with little notice. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time. Each day we will update you on the program and keep you informed throughout the trip.

OLI may cancel a trip at any time prior to departure if, due to terrorism, natural disasters, political instability or other external events, it is not viable for us to operate the planned itinerary. If OLI cancels the trip, traveler can transfer amounts paid to an alternate departure date or alternatively receive a full refund. In circumstances where the cancellation is due to external events outside our reasonable control, refunds will be less any unrecoverable costs. We are not responsible for any incidental expenses that you may have incurred as a result of your booking including but not limited to visas, vaccinations, travel insurance excess or non-refundable flights.

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