If you want to visit Coiba National Park, Santa Catalina is the perfect place to do this. It can be reached safely and easy on new roads, offers a number of hotels, hostels and cabins to spend a night or more and a variety of restaurants and bars. As bringing tourists to Coiba is a regular business in Santa Catalina, it is the only place, where you will be able to share a boat with other travelers and do not need to be a part of a bigger group or rent the whole boat.
Depending on your reason to go to Coiba – scuba diving, fishing, eco- or snorkeling tour – you can prearrange a trip with one of the dive shops, guides or local captains via website, email or telephone. OR you can make arrangements upon arrival with a local boat/tour. Normally trips are confirmed in the evening for the following morning. For a last minute option, you can go to Santa Catalina Beach around 7:30 in the morning and ask around for a ride.
The boat trip to Coiba Ranger station will take between 1 to 1:40 hours, depending on boat and conditions of the sea. It will follow the almost uninhabited coast line, where you can see dolphins, turtles and whales in the right season and cross over into the national park after around 50 minutes.
Estimate a price of USD 50.00 to 60.00 per person for a day trip of snorkeling, beach combing and visit of the area around the ranger station. In addition to this you have to pay entry fee to the national park ($ 20 visitors / $ 5 residents) and have to bring your own food. Most operators will provide water and snorkel equipment, but make sure of it and ask beforehand.