Santa Catalina
Best months:
March to October

Santa Catalina

Veraguas, Panama
LAST UPDATED 30/04/2009
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introduction

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Desconocido; Ciudad de David; 2007

One of the finest and most consistent surf regions in the world. Dont expect it to be huge but you can count on surfing quality waves for over 50% of your holiday here. Doesent sound like much? Talk to the guys that just came back from Fiji and either surfer 100% or 0% on their last trip. Santa Catalina avoids the whole all or nothing approach for travelling surfers and is continuing to earn a reputation as a consistent delivery.

All the bad things that go with this are becoming evident in the area. The local infrastructure is not really set up for basics such as regular rubbish and waste removal when the tourist population swells uncontrolably. 'Less than environmentally aware' surfers have contributed to this problem by depositing as much plastic as they can on the shore line of surrounding beaches. By all means come here, it is a fantastic set of breaks with a range of options and some excellent regional culture; try setting the example when it comes to caring for the beaches though - instead of following some of the bad examples currently in place.

surfing

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Julian Watkins: Chagres River, Panama; 2007

Santa Catalina offers easily the best wave on the West Panamanian Coast. The blend of super consistent waves with often superior surface conditions ensures that there is no shortage of takers howevers, any plenty of returning customers to contend with. The southern exposure of the bay here will take any swell that ratchets up the coast from the South Pacific. Many of these swells have travelled a considerable distance prior to arrival so whilst swell decay can be an issue, take stock from the fact that whatever does arrive will be in excellent shape and form.

There is more to Santa Catalina than..um, Santa Catalina. There are several other quality breaks in the area with a fraction of the crowd.

where to stay

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Copyright Punta Brava Surf Lodge: View From the Lodge; 2006

The nearby town of Santa Catalina offers fine accomodation for the travelling surfer. The Punta Brava Surf Camp regularly receives excellent reviews and would definetly be worth investigating. This camp is right in front of the break. Some nice options here for familes as well but with limited cabin availability they book out fairly easily into the season.

There are several othere camps scheduled to open their doors to the eager surf communitiy here, well worth doing your homework thoroughly however prior to bookin to avoid bitter disapointment.

what to pack

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Mohylek-Fujifilm Finepix S9000; 1 April 2007

Definitely take along some bug repellent spray, good sunscreen and sunglasses! Better take your medicines with you (esp. anti hastamine tablets), as the brands can be unfamiliar. By the way, getting a trip medical insurance would be a good idea. Bring your own toilet paper and anti-septic hand-shower stuff.

All the gear if you plan to camp: a good sleeping bag and tent; special gas container u can use for heating food and water; a sturdy backpack or a cargo pack with a good daypack. Invest in a portable water filter or at least take some puri-tabs or boil the water.

Bring plenty of memory for digital cameras and bring plenty of batteries. And take a good protection for your camera from the sand. 

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