WHAT TO EXPECT ON A COIBA ISLAND MARINE PARK LIVEABOARD
Liveaboards to Coiba Island Marine Park will transport divers to the largest uninhabited tropical island in the world. This special area is included in our Panama liveaboards cruise offers. It's also known as the Devil's Island of Central America; from 1919 to 2004 this island was a penal colony for political prisoners and some of the most dangerous criminals in Panama. The government closed the penal colony in 2004, and turned it into the largest marine park in Central America. UNESCO named it the "Coiba National Marine Park".
Liveaboard diving in Coiba Island Marine Park consists of visiting the island of Coiba itself and it's 37 surrounding islands and islets. There are more than 800 marine species discovered in the waters surrounding the park. On land, Coiba Island is covered by a tropical rainforest, mangroves and white deserted beaches.
COIBA ISLAND MARINE PARK UNDERWATER
On a Coiba Island liveaboard you will experience some of the best adventure diving in the world. You will encounter large schools of big fish, species of sharks, giant manta rays, schooling rays, whales and dolphins plus healthy coral reefs with beautiful macro life. Large numbers of migrating humpback whales mate and give birth around Coiba Island from July to October.
Its marine life is abundant counting 760 species of fish, 33 species of sharks including the white-tip reef shark, scalloped and great hammerhead, whale shark, Galapagos, bull shark, tiger shark, and the bizarre guitar shark. Add to this, a variety of rays, giant manta rays, mobula rays, thurston's devil rays and stingrays. Schooling species include the spotted eagle ray, cow-nosed and golden rays.
Also you can see a great variety of marine mammals, including several species of dolphins, pilot whales, orcas, fin, bryde's and sperm whales, as well as large schools of predators, barracudas, jacks and snappers along with a great variety of schooling reef fish. While diving in the park you can even hear the songs of humpback whales on their migration route.
DIVESITES OF COIBA ISLAND MARINE PARK
Coiba Island dive safari's visit numerous dive sites in the area which may include;
Mona Lisa This site is a huge cleaning station. On the southern slope, large schools of butterfly, king angel fish hover above the reef. Schools of spadefish, barracuda and jacks swarm into the cleaning stations. Here you'll see turtles, schooling rays, bottom dwellers, nudibranchs, octopus and several different kinds of eel and also many white tip sharks that can be seen hunting over the reef at night, thus great spot to do a night dive.
Hill Rocks The best time to dive this site is at high tide due to the surge that comes from the south and is a great spot to see thousands of schooling pelagic fish. Schools of triggerfish, grunts and spadefish, barracuda, jacks and snapper. Huge nurse shark come also to this site together with white tips.
Cathedral Rock These two pinnacles look like the entrance to an underwater Cathedral. Totally covered with corals, this dive site is one of the most dynamic in the park. The cleaning station here is visited by hammerheads and other supersized fish. Currents here can be fairly strong; however the type of site permits the diver to seek the lea side of the current.
Jacob's Ladder This site is situated very close to the drop off and is exposed to the main oceanic currents and swells of the open ocean. There are schools of pelagic, including tuna, snapper, and barracuda, sailfish and marlin have been seen hunting around the shallow part. Also frequent visitors include the Galapagos shark and tiger shark.
TOP TIPS FOR DIVERS
Depths of the waters around the island drop down deep also in the open ocean exposed areas you will experience strong currents. This means keeping a close eye on your depth gauge
Thermocline depth varies throughout the year and can reduce water temperature to 16C. Be sure to pack the right wetsuit.
GETTING TO COIBA ISLAND MARINE PARK
Many flights from all around the world arrive at Tocumen International Airport Panama. There are several domestic flights leaving from Panama to Enrique Malek International Airport, which is 5 mins from where our Panama liveaboard Cruises depart. Coiba Island Marine Park is integrated in certain Liveaboard Cruises.