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Secluded Panama Surf Camp

Beginner difficulty
Instruction in English
Airport transfer available

Learn how to surf and stay in one of the charming cabins overlooking the amazing beach of Santa Catalina. Santa Catalina is the perfect spot to catch your first waves and advance your skills. With its beautiful black sand beaches and excellent surfing conditions, experience fantastic ocean adventures! Rancho Estero requires a minimum of two persons per booking to have a better experience!


  • 4 surf lessons
  • Surfboard rental
  • Experienced surf teachers
  • 6 nights accommodation
  • Relaxed atmosphere
  • Secluded surf spot

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate


4 days with instruction in English
The organizer also speaks: Spanish
Airport transfer available:
Tocumen International Airport (US$ 300 per person)
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  • Dining area
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Garden
  • Kitchen
  • Multilingual staff
  • Terrace
  • Board rental
  • Tour assistance

Rancho Estero is located at the end of the road to Playa Estero and is on the bluff overlooking the beach and the surf. The view from this property is simply amazing. Rancho Estero has a series of small cabanas that can accommodate one to six people each. There are plenty of hammocks, a shared kitchen with dining area and a sun deck to relax on. The beachbreak for beginner and intermediate surfers lies just in front of the property.

The location is a bit further from the town center (2 miutes drive/15 min walk). The reef break for advanced surfers is a 10 min walk away. Rancho Estero is a very popular choice because of its priceless views, location and friendly vibe with a tiki-tropical flavor.

Rancho Estero requires a minimum of two persons per booking. Single travellers can send an inquiry to ask for availability and prices.


Santa Catalina surf camp at Rancho Estero

Learn how to surf and stay in one of Rancho Estero's charming cabins overlooking the beach. Santa Catalina is the perfect spot to catch your first waves on a surfboard as you will learn from experienced surf teachers. If you already know how to surf, you can book a surf guiding to improve your skills, learn how to read the waves, and find the perfect position in the wave.

Rancho Estero has a good range of boards to rent: soft top beginner boards, shortboards, longboards, funboards, and a Standup-Paddle-Board (SUP). Send an inquiry and let Rancho Estero know about your interest in their surf camp package!

This package includes four surf lessons. The surf lessons will be 1.5 hours, and each will be scheduled depending on the tides and wave sizes to ensure the best conditions for a secure and fun surf experience. On the other days, you can practice your surf skills without an instructor or do a day-tour to the amazing Coiba islands.


This surf camp will take place in Santa Catalina, Panama. A tropical paradise which offers some of the best surfs in Central America and nevertheless is still fairly secluded. Santa Catalina is also the closest access point to Isla Coiba, which is famous for world-class snorkeling and diving.

The charming town offers a variety of restaurants, a small grocery store and several tour operators for snorkeling, diving and fishing tours. Santa Catalina's beautiful beaches, tropical forest, and friendly people make it a great stop for all adventurers wanting to enjoy some of the best of Panama's natural beauty and local flora on any budget.


  • Soná - 1 hour by car



  • Surfing


  • Beach
  • Hammock
  • Kitchen
  • Patio


  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Tour assistance


Please note that you can choose this package either with no meals included, with daily breakfast included or with daily breakfast and lunch included. The prices vary for each package.

Things to do (optional)

Besides surfing, there are a lot of other activities available in the area: snorkeling or diving tours to the national park Coiba, yoga, SUP tours, horseback riding, and more.

The attraction to Santa Catalina, Panama is the amazing foliage, ocean views, and some very nice villagers. With its beautiful black sand beaches and excellent surfing conditions, Santa Catalina is the starting point for fantastic ocean adventures and a peaceful fishing village.

Surfing is the main attraction for travelers to Santa Catalina for more than 40 years now. The other main reason Santa Catalina exists is its access to abundant fish populations. Fishing and scuba diving are very popular here because of this.

The same type of volcanic formations that create the amazing surf break at Playa Santa Catalina, creates excellent diving and fishing spots all around Santa Catalina, Panama. A short boat ride from Santa Catalina gifts the diving and angling crowd with huge populations of fish and underwater coral reefs.

Dozens of islands can be found around this area, just a short boat ride from Santa Catalina. Many of these islands offer relatively unexplored white sand beaches with awesome surf breaks that equal and sometimes outpound the world renowned break at La Punta of Santa Catalina, Panama. Rancho Estero partners with various Santa Catalina tour providers to offer a variety of boat tours and diving trips in both Santa Catalina and Coiba Island. Make your arrangements as you get into Santa Catalina, or let Rancho Estero know in advance.

Santa Catalina has clean tropical beaches, good food, and affordable accommodations. Visitors to Santa Catalina come for outdoor recreation and relaxation. With flocks of wild exotic birds, warm water, and pristine beaches, Santa Catalina, Panama offers travelers the option for a quiet getaway or an activity-filled experience. Bring your sunscreen!

The two primary beaches in Santa Catalina are Playa Santa Catalina and Playa Estero. These are black sand beaches produced from an adjacent river and offer gentle waves with large tide changes throughout the day. While Playa Santa Catalina is the busier of the two, Playa Estero is a huge, clean beach with a very consistent smaller break for bodysurfers, boogie-boarders, beginning surfers, and longboarders.

The beach waters around Santa Catalina are routinely tested are have been awarded the Bandera Azul Ecologica or Ecologic Blue Banner award for their purity. This means the water is super CLEAN.

Playa Santa Catalina

Playa Santa Catalina is the main village beach located at the end of the main road that comes in from Sona. This is the center of activity for the fishing village of Santa Catalina. People refer to this area as Main Street. Most of the scuba diving trips and fishing boats leave from Playa Santa Catalina. In front of the beach is a view of Isla Santa Catalina and La Punta.

Playa Estero

Playa Estero is east of Main Street across the small river at the end of the dirt road which starts at the intersection in town by the phone booth and the Vasquez store. Playa Estero has less activity throughout the day and is often totally deserted. The beach here has nice consistent sets of waves rolling in for body surfing or beginners to learn to surf. Except during very heavy rains, the river is only ankle deep and can be crossed very easily.

What's included

  • 4 full-day surfboard rentals
  • 4 surf lessons of one hour and a half per day
  • 6 nights accommodation
  • Experienced surf teachers

What's not included

  • Transportation
  • Activities and tours (apart from the surf lessons)

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Driving directions from Panama City

  • From Panama City, you will head to Santiago first. Panama City to Santiago is a pretty easy drive in the Highway 1, known as the Pan American Highway.
  • The hardest part of the trip is finding the turn for Soná. It involves several turns through Santiago. The first turn is to the left, just before a gas station about half way through the town on to Avenida Central.
  • Avenida Central will take you through the main shopping area and run directly into the big white Cathedral.
  • At the Cathedral, turn right and immediately back to the left, following the side street of the Cathedral.
  • In one block (at the back of the Cathedral), turn right.
  • Continue for 2 more blocks and turn left where a small sign points to Soná.
  • The road to Soná is a two lane highway and is bumpier than the Pan American Highway, but in decent condition. Usually, it takes about 45 minutes.
  • Shortly before entering Soná, there is an intersection with a gas station on the corner and a large number of signs. The gas station is where you turn left.
  • This puts you on the road to Santa Catalina. If you need money, bottled water, gas, food, or supplies, you should stop here or drive short into Soná because here, you will have what you need to bring to Santa Catalina.
  • About half way to Santa Catalina, you will make a left turn at a well-marked intersection.
  • From Soná to Santa Catalina will take you about one hour.
  • Once you are in the downtown of Santa Catalina, there is only one main intersection where you turn left and follow the road for roughly 3 minutes, then you will see the entrance of Rancho Estero on the right side.

Arrival by bus

From the Albrook bus terminal in Panama City you can take a direct bus to Soná (or one to Santiago and from there to Soná). If you leave early in the morning (around 8 a.m.), you will arrive in time for the afternoon bus to Santa Catalina that leaves at 1:35 p.m. from Sona. The last bus leaves at 4:45 p.m. (but sometimes it leaves early if it is full already). From Soná there are 6 buses a day: 5:30 a.m., 8:40 a.m. (not on Sundays), 11:20 a.m., 1:35 p.m., 2:40 p.m. (not on Sundays), and 4:45 p.m. (on Sundays, it leaves at 4:30 p.m.). But, you can also take a taxi from Soná to Santa Catalina (around 40 USD).

Airport: Tocumen International Airport Airport transfer available: Tocumen International Airport (US$ 300 per person) Additional charges may apply. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 50% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
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