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Santa Catalina, Panama

In this Panama Special Report, we introduce you to Santa Catalina, Panama, on Veraguas province’s Pacific coast. What first brought outsiders here some 40 years ago is the same thing that draws them today: the surf.

Santa Catalina is off the beaten path, and as a result, disconnected from the realities of day-to-day life. It’s home to a small but diverse expat population who’ve brought with them vestiges of their home cultures. This is especially true when it comes to gastronomy: From authentic Italian pizza and gelato to Panamanian ceviche to Argentinian empanadas, the dining options in Santa Catalina run the gamut.

Santa Catalina’s proximity to Coiba National Park is another major reason people journey here. In the not-too-distant past, Isla Coiba was a penal colony synonymous with death. Today, the island and its surrounding waters are world-famous for the abundance of life they support—nature-lovers and adventurists won’t be disappointed. It’s not easy to get to, but whether you go to surf, scuba dive, or simply unwind, Santa Catalina is worth the trip.

$ 14.95

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