La Casa Verde

Santa Catalina

Santa Catalina offers several activities including Surfing, Scuba Diving, Snorkeling,Fishing, Birding, Sailing, Horse Back Riding and Exploring the area or the neighboring islands of Santa Catalina, Gobernadora, Cebaco or Octavias.   When you want to just relax, you will find the area beaches very peaceful and beautiful.  You can also check out the local library where you can find books in several languages.  For Worship Services, there is a Catholic and Evangelical Church.

Even though La Casa Verde is a short walking distance to the local restaurants, you have the option of purchasing local fresh fish and lobster.  You can wait for the boats to come in during the afternoon and deal with the fishermen directly or go to one of the two small fisheries to see what they have.  Check the blog link for recipe's for Coconut fried snapper, Coconut bread, Coconut rice and Coconut fudge with fresh coconuts right off the tree at La Casa Verde.  There is grocery store in town that carries the basics.  For a larger selection, it may be a good idea to stock up at the grocery in Sona'.  Contact Ricardo for assistance in arranging any of these activities.

Isla Coiba

Santa Catalina is also one of the closest access points for the famed Isla Coiba..  For those who have not heard, Isla Coiba  is renowned for its pristine birding, scuba diving, Eco-tourism and fishing along the Hannibal Banks.  Imagine world class fishing at your doorstep.  Further, Isla Coiba is well known for having the best diving anywhere in Central America and has been declared a World Heritage Site because of it's biodiversity on the island and the many reefs that surround it.  Google Coiba National Park or email me for a direct link for more information on Isla Coiba and the Hannibal Bank. You can also contact Richard at http://www.santacatalinaboattours.com/ for guided trips to Isla Coiba.

Currency

The official currency is the Balboa and is equivalent to one US dollar. US dollars are widely accepted everywhere in Panama.  When traveling to Santa Catalina, it is a good idea to bring small bills as some merchants may not be able to break large ones.   Even in the city of Santiago, it is not uncommon for merchants to require an authentification form filled along with your passport number for each large ($50's and $100's) bill submitted for payment.  Further, cash is the primary form of payment in Santa Catalina and few establishments accept credit cards. 

Entry Requirements

A valid passport is needed to enter. The requirement for visas to enter Panama has been waived for some countries. It is best to check with a Panamanian consulate before traveling. Tourists will need to purchase a Tourist Card for $5.00 per person.  After exiting the plane, follow the signs for immigration and then look for the sales counter located just before the lines for immigration.  Do not get in line for immigration without the tourist card, because it will be required it before officials will process your immigration.   If you are going to overstay your allotted time, extend your visa or tourist card with immigration. Fines can be levied for late exiting.

Traveling With Surfboards / Large Objects

Before arriving at the airport with your surfboard, windsurfer, etc.  Be sure to check with the airlines to be sure they are not implementing a "board embargo".  This is particularly important  for travelers coming to Panama during Carnival and those flying with Continental Airlines.

Hollidays

 

January 1st
January 9th
February 28th
March-April
May 1st
October 12th
November 3rd
November 10th
November 28th
December 8th
December 25th
New Year's Day
Martyr's Day
Tuesday of Carnival
Easter Friday
Worker's Day
Columbus Day
Separation from Columbia
First Cry of Independence
Independence from Spain
Mother's Day
Christmas Day