Last week I visited Bocas del Toro, A island located in the north of Panama. I always wanted to get my PADI scuba license for open water diving and decided that Bocas del Toro would be the ideal place to get it.
Bocas del Toro is one of the cheapest and most beautiful places to learn diving. There is plenty of marine life in the ocean and some interesting dive sights.
What you need to know before scuba diving
Before you start your diving adventure it’s best to be well informed on the different diving schools that are in Bocas del Toro. There are plenty to choose from and pretty much all of them are very helpful and polite.
I ended up diving at the Bocas Pirates A small dive shop in the middle of Bocas del Toro. As soon as you set foot in the place you will feel welcome and helped.
Bocas pirates are the cheapest dive school on the island, however, you will get good equipment and friendly instructors.
Note: Alex, the owner of Bocas Pirates speaks dutch as well
Getting your PADI open water certificate
PADI is the largest diving organization in the world and when you go diving in Bocas del Toro I would highly recommend getting your certificate. This way you will be a licensed diver for the rest of your life.
To get the PADI open water certificate you have to complete a series of tasks and you have to pass a theory exam.
The tasks are done in the water and will be spread over 4 dives. The theory exam is done in one day at the dive school.
Some of the tasks that you need to complete for your PADI open water are:
- 200-meter continuous swimming (without time limit)
- 10 minutes floating on the surface
- Practicing emergency situations underwater
- Learning to handle the diving equipment
The total duration of the open water course is 3 days from which 1 is theory and the other 2 are diving.
If you are still into diving after those 3 days you can book a diving trip at Bocas pirates for about 30 dollars. For me the days where enough and after this, I needed some time away from the water.
How much does it cost to go diving in Bocas
Like I mentioned earlier scuba diving in Bocas del Toro is probably the cheapest you will ever find. I decided to get my PADI open water here mainly because of this reason.
The hostel I was staying called Twin Fin hostel had an agreement with Bocas Pirates for a 20% discount on the total package.
Different driving schools offer different prices and discounts. Do your research and decide for yourself.
At the diving center where I got my PADI open water I paid a total of $280 dollars for 2 days diving 1-day theory.
The marine life in Bocas del Toro
Like I said before the marine life in Bocas del Toro is amazing and you are guaranteed to see some underwater creatures during your scuba diving adventure.
When I was diving we saw:
- Nurse shark
- Balloon fish
- and lobsters
Wonderfull Diving sights in Bocas del Toro
Besides sea life, there are also some cool diving sights in Bocas. There are a lot of shipwrecks in the area and during your PADI open water, you will probably visit at least two of them.