Due to calm conditions and highly competitive pricing, Bocas del Toro is amongst the best and most affordable places in the world to participate in scuba education! Whether discovering the underwater world for the first time, advancing your existing certification, or simply in need of a refresher, Bocas del Toro in Panama's Caribbean is your place to go!
Discover Scuba Diving | $65 - $90 pp
This half day PADI program introduces participants to scuba diving in a highly supervised and relaxed environment. It serves to dispel common misconceptions about scuba diving and is often the first step on the path to becoming a recreational diver. The Discover Scuba Diving program allows you to experience the underwater world using scuba without getting certified. The program involves some basic theory, shallow water skills practice and an offshore dive.
The Discover Scuba Diving experience runs daily from 7:30 or 8:30 a.m. until 12 or 1 p.m. Minimum age required is 10 years of age and you'll dive to a maximum of 12 meters. Once completed, you're eligible to continue diving with the dive shop that you did it with for the duration of your trip. It can count as credit towards your Open Water Certification, in which case the cost of your Discover Scuba Diving Course is discounted from the Open Water (OW) Course.
Scuba Diver Course | $190 pp
This course is a partial certification program made up of key sections of the Open Water course. After completing it you'll be qualified to dive with a PADI Divemaster to maximum depth of 12 meters. The course is 1.5 - 2 days long. For those studying Spanish, it can be completed in 3 to 4 half day sessions. It comprises 3 modules of theory, 3 modules of confined water skills plus two open water dives.
The Scuba Diver course runs daily from 8 a.m. and includes course materials, all equipment and certification with PADI. Minimum age required is 10 years of age. Upon completion you can upgrade to the Open Water Course and just pay the difference.
Open Water Course | $250 pp
This course is a full certification program for worldwide independent diving. The course is 3 - 4 days long (or 6 to 8 half days if you're learning Spanish) and entails 5 modules of theory (including the PADI Open Water video to enhance your learning and a complete a series of Knowledge Reviews followed by a final exam), 5 modules of confined water skills training, and 4 open water dives (it is a performance based program meaning you'll be spending plenty of time in the water practicing skills and demonstrating you diving capabilities).
The Open Water course is the most internationally recognised scuba qualification in the world. It runs daily from 8 a.m. and includes course materials (including the PADI Open Water Manual for independent study), all equipment and certification with PADI. Minimum age requirement is 10 years of age and you'll be able to dive up to 18 meters deep. Participants aged 10 to 15 years will be awarded the Junior Open Water certification.
Scuba Review | $25 pp
The PADI Scuba Review is designed to help qualified divers back into the water after a period of inactivity. Our Instructors or Divemasters will review key areas of theory, recap and practice essential dive skills before you re-enter the open water environment. The Scuba Review program does not include a dive. The Scuba Review program is conducted daily from 8.30 a.m.
Advanced Open Water Course | $225 pp
This course is for qualified divers (with an Open Water Course certification) who wish to expand their skills and diving experiences. Being an Advanced Diver means you have completed training in five specialized areas of diving, two of which are requirements for this certification: Deep Diving and Navigation. The remaining three specialties can be chosen from Multilevel Diving, Peak Performance Buoyancy, Photography, Search and Recovery, Underwater Naturalist, Night Diver, Nitrox or Drift and Wreck.
The course is usually conducted over two days (or 4 half days) and involves 2 core dives in deep diving and navigation and a further 3 dives chosen from the list of specialties. The Advanced Open Water qualification is run daily from 8 a.m. and includes course materials, all equipment and certification with PADI, which counts toward the Master Scuba Diver rating. It is an extremely popular program with recently qualified divers as it offers supervised experience in a variety of new environments.
Rescue Diver Course | $265 pp
This course will help you to refine and further develop your accident prevention and management skills. The program will teach you how to manage an emergency situation from the shore, boat or in the water. This course is both rewarding and challenging, is taken over a 3 day period (or 6 half days) and involves extensive First Aid and dive theory plus 12 practical rescue scenarios. Rescue Divers learn to look beyond themselves and consider the safety and well being of other divers. Although this course is challenging, it is a rewarding way to build your confidence. Many divers say this is the best course they've ever taken.
The Rescue Diver course is run on request and includes course materials (including book), all equipment and certification with PADI. Rescue Diver training will prepare you to prevent and anticipate problems and, if necessary, manage dive emergencies. During the five open water sessions, you'll cover:
- Self-rescue and diver stress
- emergency oxygen delivery systems
- diving first aid
- swimming and non-swimming rescue techniques
- emergency management and equipment
- panicked diver response
- underwater problems
- missing diver procedures
- surfacing the unconscious diver
- in-water rescue breathing protocols
- egress (exits)
- first aid procedures for pressure related accidents
- dive accident scenarios
It is a requirement for all students starting the Rescue Diver Course to have successfully completed an internationally recognised First Aid course within the past 2 years. Students without this requirement can take the Emergency First Response course which is an additional $65 when run together with the Rescue Diver program (or $95 just for the First Aid Course). This course takes 1 additional day (or 2 half days).
Our Instructors are and the most qualified in Panama and can teach a range of 13 specialty programs for those divers wishing to focus their scuba skills in specific disciplines. These programs involve between 2 and 4 dives and are designed to improve knowledge and practical skills in the chosen areas.
Specialty programs are conducted on request. Achieving PADI Specialty ratings can take anywhere from as little as one day to a full weekend - but this is all hands-on, so you'll be diving right from the start.
Master Scuba Diver
This is the highest non-professional rating that can be achieved in the PADI System of diver education. To be awarded you'll need to be qualified to Rescue Diver level and have also completed at least 5 specialty ratings.
What do you need to accomplish this level?
- PADI Open Water Diver certification (or qualifying certification from another organization)
- PADI Advanced Open Water Diver certification (or qualifying certification from another organization)
- PADI Rescue Diver certification (or qualifying certification from another organization)
- 50 logged dives
- Five PADI Specialty course certifications
- Minimum age: 15 years old (12 for Junior Master Scuba Diver)
PADI Master Scuba Diver indicates you have a significant amount of training and experience in a variety of dive environments.
Divemaster | $650 pp
The PADI Divemaster course is the first professional level in the PADI system. The course is made up of 3 areas - knowledge development, water skills and stamina, and practical application. During the course you'll develop new leadership skills and professional level knowledge and abilities, qualifying you to supervise dive activities and assist instructors with student divers.
The course is challenging and demanding but by earning this certification you'll distinguished as both an accomplished diver and leader. The course can be completed in 10 days although most candidates prefer to do an apprenticeship within the dive academy. Dive shops in Bocas del Toro can put together a training package to suit individual requirements which can include food and accommodation. The apprenticeship gives you first hand experience of the role of a divemaster within a controlled environment.
The Divemaster program is conducted upon request for the 10-day straight course - candidates are required to purchase their course materials in addition to the course fees. A more popular alternative to the 10 day program is to participate in an internship over a number of weeks. With this option candidates will gain real world skills working with divers and students and learning how a busy dive school operates. Working closely with our PADI Instructors, you'll expand your dive knowledge and hone your skills as you become a dive professional. PADI Divemaster training develops your leadership abilities by training you to supervise dive activities and assist instructors with student divers.
What can PADI Divemasters do?
- Work at local dive centers, on live-aboard dive boats, yachts and at exotic resort locations
- Assist PADI Instructors with students
- Lead PADI Scuba Divers on guided dive tours
- Teach and certify PADI Skin Divers
- Teach PADI Discover Snorkeling programs
- Conduct PADI Scuba Review programs for certified divers
- Lead certified divers on Discover Local Diving experiences
- Teach Emergency First Response programs after successful completion of an Emergency First Response Instructor course.
What do I need to start?
- PADI Advanced Open Water Diver or qualifying certification from another training organization
- PADI Rescue Diver certification or qualifying certification from another training organization.
- Medical clearance signed by a physician
- 20 logged dives
- 18 years old
What will I do?
Open Water Scuba Instructor | $950 pp
- Learn dive leadership through classroom and independent study sessions
- Complete water skills and stamina exercises in confined and open water
- Training exercises to test organizational and problem solving abilities
- An internship or series of practical training exercises
The PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor program is your final step in the quest to become a PADI Instructor. During the IDC (Instructor Development Course), you'll learn to use and adapt the PADI System of diver education to individual student needs. Comprehensive training, supported by a wide variety of PADI educational materials, earns PADI Instructors respect from both students and peers. PADI Instructors may conduct the entire range of PADI programs - from Discover Scuba through Divemaster.
What do you need to start?
- PADI Assistant Instructor certification or be an instructor in good standing with another training organization for at least six months (check with a PADI Course Director or PADI Office for qualifying credentials)
- Hold a dive certification for at least six months
- Have 60 logged dives that include night, deep and navigation dives
- Proof of CPR training within the last 24 months
- Medical clearance signed by a physician
What will you do?
- Knowledge development through self-study, quizzes, lectures and presentations
- Confined water skill review and assessment, workshops and presentations
- Open water workshops, rescue assessment and candidate presentations
- Have at least 100 logged dives prior to entering a PADI Instructor Exam
What materials are needed?
PADI Instructor Manual
Instructor Candidate Workbook
Open Water Lesson Planning Slate
Confined Water Lesson Preparation Slate
Open Water Aquatic Cue Cards
Confined Water Aquatic Cue Cards
The Law and the Diving Professional
- The Business of Diving
The Best of The Undersea Journal
Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty Instructor Outline
Project AWARE Specialty Program Instructor Outline
Aware Coral Reef Conservation Specialty Instructor Outline
Open Water Diver Manual
Recreational Dive Planner, The Wheel and table, and Instructions for Use Booklets
Open Water Diver Quizzes and Exam booklet
Adventures in Diving Manual
Rescue Diver Manual
Rescue Diver Final Exams Booklet
Divemaster Final Exams Booklet
This program comprises 2 or 3 phases
- Phase I - Instructor Development Course (IDC) conducted over 12 days by Course Director
- Phase II - Instructor Examination (IE) conducted over 2 days by PADI
- Phase III - EFR Instructor and Specialty Instructor Courses begin following the Instructor Examination