Santa Catalina was discovered in the 1980s by international and national surf fanatics who for years kept the small fishing village and its incredible surf break a secret amongst themselves. During that time, Santa Catalina was accessible only by a dirt road, offering rustic accommodations and very few dining options.
In 2003 the first land-based dive center opened in Santa Catalina and made diving at the history-rich, UNESCO World Heritage Site of Coiba National Park possible for the first time. The National Park, located within an hour of Santa Catalina, is characterized by warm ocean currents and one of the largest coral reefs on the Pacific Coast. Coiba´s splendid white sand beaches and turquoise water are teeming with enormous schools of tropical fish and other incredible marine life such as humpback whales, various types of sharks, orcas, sea turtles, sea horses and much more.
The growth of the diving business required the development of more comfortable accommodations, restaurants and the more easily accessible tourist infrastructure which exists today.
Though the village is now home to many hotels and restaurants, there is still no access to ATMs, a bank, a gas station or a supermarket. When coming to Santa Catalina please ensure to bring everything you need, including sufficient cash as most vendors do not accept credit cards, to last the duration of your stay.