Panama is a maritime country par excellence. Its history and its economy are linked to the sea. It has coasts on the Caribbean (1.207 km) and the Pacific Oceans (1700,6 km). This privileged geographic condition has generated important marine and coastal zones full of aquatic and land ecosystems like marshes, beaches and coral reefs that form incredible landscapes of submarine flora and fauna on both coasts.
In the Panama Caribbean specialists are astonished with the extraordinary submarine beauty of the North and South Zapatilla Keys in the province of Bocas del Toro within the Maritime National Park of Bastimento Island, as well as around the waters of Punta Vieja (Old Point), Punta Hospital ( Hospital Point), Donato, Crawl Cay, Stern Island, Tiger Cay, Wild Cane Cay and Agua Oeste Cay. On Colon Island tour operators provide equipment and guides for safe scuba diving any time of year.
The San Blas Archipelago is famous all over the world for its wonderful islands of coralline origin and its crystalline waters where scuba diving and snorkeling are some of the main activities. The best months for diving are April, May, November and December.
There are meeting sites for scuba diving and snorkeling like Portobelo Bay, Isla Mamey and Isla Grande. It could turn out to be a great adventure to dive in these waters full of the history of pirates and privateers from the XVII century, where stormy battles took place and where the mortal remains of the famous pirate Sir Francis Drake, were laid to rest at sea in a leaden casket. The best diving months are April, May, November and December.
In the Pacific Ocean there are ample zones of sub aqueous beauties like Coiba Island, in the Coiba National Park, that has the most extensive coralline reefs of the Central American Pacific becoming a great natural aquarium. Another possibility is to visit the Chiriquí Marine Gulf National Park where there are species of great size like whales and dolphins among others, or enjoy scuba diving or "snorkeling " to feel the emotions of being in a multicolored aquarium. In these two areas the best months for diving are December to March. The Islands of Contadora and Taboga in the Archipelago of las Perlas (the Pearl Archipelago), are the diving sites nearest to Panama City. These Islands have facilities for the full-featured sport of scuba diving with or without a tank.
In the Wild Life Refuge of Iguana Island there are very well preserved coral reefs that can easily be observed at shallow depths, an excellent and calm site to dive.
The waters next to the Panama Canal, specifically Gatún and Alajuela lakes are also a unique diving destination. Perhaps this is a different diving experience, because the attraction consists in seeing at the depths the remains of the first trans-isthmian railroad and the old dredges that excavated the Canal pathway.
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