This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Santa Catalina.
Santa Catalina, Panama, is a tiny village located on the northern Pacific coast of Panama. Although incredibly small, it has been popular with the surfing community for decades and it's a great place to get a hostel. "The Point" offers swells that appeal to experienced surfers while beginners can seek lessons and smaller waves on the main beach. Coiba Island is also an hour's boat ride away and some travelers use Santa Catalina as a stopover before heading to the famous island. Island day tours, diving, and snorkeling are also offered at an expensive price.
The hostels in Santa Catalina are spread out, with some on the beach (a fifteen-minute walk from the town) and others inside the tiny village. Each one has its pros and cons -- the ones located on the beach are some distance from any shops and stores and the small amount of amenities that Santa Catalina offers. There are two small food stores, one laundromat, and a bakery, but no ATM. Any home cook will be disappointed by the very limited selections of ingredients.
Getting to and from the town can be tricky and long if you do not have a car or wish to splurge on an expensive shuttle (the shuttle companies know how much of a pain it is). You must take a bus from Sona that stops running in late afternoon. A trip from Panama City takes around eight hours door to door, so expect a full day's travel.
Santa Catalina is a lovely surf town with incredibly friendly people, a welcoming vibe, and great waves.
Written by local enthusiast for Santa Catalina hostelsFro