Last year, I made a trip to Malpelo (Colombia) on liveaboard Yemaya (coibadiveexpeditions.com). This year, I just made another trip with the same operator to Coiba Island (Panama). Coiba is not a popular destination and I think this unfairness happens only because of the lack of information. At least, I first got to know about Coiba only on my trip to Malpelo. Meantime, this island definitely deserves its share of divers attention. For those interested in Eastern Pacific diving I can briefly summarize my experience.
1. Diving Coiba is extremely diverse. The island got it all - from shallow reefs to underwater mountains. Water can be from greenish to true blue. Viz from poor to excellent. Temperature from tropical hot to freaking cold. Current from nonexistent to reaping. I never had so much fun on a single trip.
2. Marine life is booming. This is true eastern Pacific diving. You know what it means.
3. Yemaya is the most comfortable vessel I'd ever traveled. Coibadiveexpedition provides flawless service. I would love to go again. I sure will.
4. This is time-efficient trip. No time spent for long ocean travels like for Malpelo and Cocos.
5. Coiba is stunning island. Beautiful scenery. Beaching. Kayaking. I could bring on that trip my non-diving wife. If only I knew. Now you know.
6. Panama Citi reconstructs the Old Town. It is extremely interesting mixture of poor and rich. Time to go and see is right now.
7. Coibadiveexpedition offeres convenient guided tours for arrival/departure days. I took a tour to Panama Canal. Great tour. No days waisted.
IMHO: Coiba gives the most bang for the buck in Eastern Pacific.
Here are some island views and underwater pictures from this trip:https://picasaweb.google.com/mvk777/CoibaPanama#