How to Get to Santa Catalina from Panama City?

This comprehensive guide provides you with various transportation options for reaching Santa Catalina from Panama City, ensuring a hassle-free journey to this charming destination.

Santa Catalina, a picturesque coastal town, serves as a gateway to numerous activities, including exploring Coiba Island, snorkeling, scuba diving, whale watching, sport fishing, and even visiting the historic Coiba Island Prison.

Important Note: Be prepared to pay a $20 cash entry fee per participant for access to Coiba National Park.

1. Flights from Panama City to Santa Catalina

For a convenient and swift trip to Santa Catalina or Coiba Island, we recommend Aero Albrook, a reputable airplane rental agency. They offer a fleet of high-quality aircraft, helicopters, and experienced pilots for charter flights. The flight duration varies depending on your chosen aircraft, typically ranging from 1.5 to 2.2 hours.

Since 2023, Aero Albrook has a new compacted dirt runway in Santa Catalina.

2. By Car: Panama City to Santa Catalina

Embark on a scenic road trip with these driving directions:

  • Depart from Panama City via the Bridge of the Americas, and follow the Pan-American Highway towards Santiago de Veraguas. This route covers approximately 240 kilometers (150 miles) and typically takes around 4 hours. Keep in mind that travel times may vary due to traffic congestion, especially in Arraijan and Chorrera (Province of West Panama).
  • Upon arriving in Santiago, make a left turn at the Shell/Delta gas station, situated across from the El Piramidal hotel and bus station. Continue towards the white cathedral.
  • As you approach the cathedral, stay to the left, and immediately make a right turn after passing it.
  • Afterward, take a left turn within two blocks, following signs that lead to Soná, approximately 47 kilometers (29 miles) away.
  • Just before entering the town of Soná, make a left turn at the gas station. Look for signs directing you to Santa Catalina.
  • If you accidentally find yourself in Soná, don’t worry. After traveling about 45 kilometers (28 miles), you’ll encounter another sign indicating a left turn towards Santa Catalina.

3. By Bus: Panama City to Santa Catalina

To reach Santa Catalina from Panama City, follow these steps:

  • Begin your journey at the Albrook bus terminal in Panama City, where you can purchase a ticket to Soná, Veraguas Province, for $11. Buses depart at various times throughout the day.
  • Upon arriving in Soná, you’ll need to catch another bus to Santa Catalina, which takes approximately 1 hour. Bus schedules are available 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 these buses, taxi services are also available.

4. Private Transportation: Panama City to Santa Catalina

For a comfortable and personalized journey, 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.