How to Get to Coiba from Panama City?

This guide will teach you how to get to Isla Coiba by car, bus, or private flights from Panama City.

Isla Coiba is located in the province of Veraguas, Panama, specifically about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Azuero Peninsula and approximately 25 kilometers (16 miles) from Playa Santa Catalina.

Most boat trips to Isla Coiba depart from Santa Catalina, where the following activities are also offered:

  • Snorkeling
  • Scuba diving
  • Whale watching
  • Sport fishing
  • Visit to the former Coiba Island Prison

Important: Each participant in the trip will be required to pay a $20 cash entry fee to Coiba National Park.

1. Flights from Panama City to Isla Coiba

We recommend hiring the Aero Albrook airplane rental agency. They have the best planes, helicopters, and pilots for charter flights to Coiba or to Playa Santa Catalina, right in front of Isla Coiba.

Depending on the aircraft, this flight can take from 1.5 to 2.2 hours.

If you fly to Santa Catalina, a shared tour or day trip to Isla Coiba can cost between $85 (panamanians) and $100 (foreigners).

2. Own or Rented Car from Panama City to Santa Catalina and Boat to Coiba

Leaving Panama City via the Bridge of the Americas, follow the Pan-American Highway to Santiago de Veraguas for approximately 240 kilometers (150 miles), which takes about 4 hours.

This time may increase depending on the day and the time you leave the city, as there is often traffic congestion in the cities of Arraijan and Chorrera (Province of West Panama).

Upon entering Santiago, turn left at the Shell/Delta gas station (across the street from the El Piramidal hotel and bus station), then turn onto Central Avenue, heading towards the white cathedral.

As you approach the cathedral, stay to the left and immediately turn right after passing it.

Again, make a left in two blocks, following the signs to Soná, which is another 47 kilometers (29 miles) away.

Before entering the town of Soná, turn left at the gas station. You will see signs directing you to Santa Catalina.

If you accidentally enter the town of Soná, you have gone too far. But don’t worry. After about 45 km (28 miles), in the small town of Los Tigres, you will find another sign indicating a left turn towards the destination, Santa Catalina.

Once in Playa Santa Catalina, you only need to take a boat to Isla Coiba. A day trip can cost between $85 (locals or residents) and $100 (foreigners).

3. Buses from Panama City to Santa Catalina and Boat to Coiba

To get from Panama City to Santa Catalina, you will need to take 2 buses.

First, you should go to the bus terminal in Albrook, Panama City, and purchase a ticket to Soná, Veraguas Province ($11). Buses depart at 5:50 a.m, 8:20 a.m, 10:20 a.m, 12:45 p.m, 2:20 p.m, 03:15 p.m, 4:20 p.m, and 5:45 p.m.

Then, in Soná, you will need another bus to Santa Catalina (a 1-hour journey). Buses depart at 5:15 a.m, 11:00 a.m, 01:00 p.m, 3:00 p.m, and 5:00 p.m. If you miss any of the buses, you can also take a taxi.

Day trips from Santa Catalina to Coiba cost $85 (panamanians) to $100 per person (foreigners).

4. Private Driver from Panama City to Santa Catalina and Boat to Coiba

Coiba Fishing offers private land transportation from Panama City to Santa Catalina.

  • Up to 6 passengers: $590 USD per trip.
  • 7 to 10 passengers: $735 USD per trip.
  • Deluxe Cadillac Escalade car: $1050 USD per trip.

With daily departures, tours from Playa Santa Catalina to Isla Coiba can cost between $85 (panamanians) and $100 (foreigners) per person.