Volunteering Abroad Shouldn't Cost the Earth

Internship at Dive Center Panama



We are a small dive center located in a remote town on the Pacific side of Panama, diving one of the most spectacular places in Central America, Coiba National Park. We offer internships to non-certified travelers or certified divers of any level, who would like to experience life in Panama from a different perspective to the one of the average holiday-maker and who love the ocean and want to spend more time in and near it. We also offer full time dive master internships, if you're considering making your passion your career. We pride ourselves in offering excellent customer service, and our interns become an essential part to that. We are especially looking for people who have skills and interests they can share with us, such as web design, social media, building, art projects, gardening, and conservation. Aside from bringing a new set of skills to further improve all those areas in the dive shop by starting projects and teaching us, we will ask you to help our staff at the dive shop with tasks such as cleaning, welcoming new divers and washing equipment. In return, you'll get to go diving in Coiba National Park and further your education in the field of diving.


Panama Dive Center SA

Santa Catalina, Veraguas,

A love for the ocean and scuba diving.

Dates of program:
Year round

Duration of program:
2 months minimum

Age requirement:
Adults of both sexes 23+

Diving is free, and all non-professional certification courses only cost US$35. You do need to cover your own living expenses (food and accommodation).

Other information:


A wonderful place and center to do your internship
"I spent 4 months in Santa Catalina at the Panama Dive Center to pass my Rescue and Divemaster Training and what an amazing and enriching experience. Not only do you get to learn a lot from each instructor but the whole team, which is super professional, makes you feel helped and willing to teach you everything they can. Sabina and Camilo, the owners of the dive shop/incredibly experienced instructors (each one with their specialty, so if you here with the desire to learn as much as you can, then you found your happy place) are so dedicated, and full of knowledge. They were always making sure we were well and made me feel at home, from day 1 till the day I left, which I am really grateful for. The tasks at the dive center are really diverse (you’ll get strong training which will be useful for jobs in the future). You won’t get bored and will learn a lot about the insight of how work the all dive center. Some work is a little bit more demanding but that’s part of the dive life and when you are surrounded by a great team, you can make it even a funny moment. Santa Catalina is a really beautiful little beach town, peaceful that you can really fall in love with easily. The diving in Coiba National is really something special, the diversity and amount of marine life, the specificity of each dive site, some challenging, some less make the diving so much fun and thought me a lot. I would totally recommend and go back there, from out of the water, under the water, the dive center and the beautiful team over there. I came back with so much experience, more knowledge than I expected. Thank you so much to the all at the dive center for that and really really special thanks to Sabina and Camilo."- Raphaëlle Prud'homme
Die beste Zeit meines Lebens!
"My time at the Panama Dive Centre was an incredibly great experience for me. As a backpacker, I came to the wonderful town of Santa Catalina near the Coiba National Park with my girlfriend. The plan was to stay here for a week and go diving. That one week turned into about 7 months. The shop, the owners and the whole team made you feel very welcome from the very first moment. After our first experience we spoke to Sabina and Camilo about the volunteer programme and it was immediately clear to me that I wanted to see more of this beautiful place Coiba. These impressions were so strong that I went on to do my Divemaster. I learnt so much during this time. Everything you learn is at the highest level and trains you for work as a diver or person anywhere in the world. I have taken the Panama Dive Centre team so close to my heart that I think back to this incredibly instructive time every day and can hardly wait to be back. I can only wholeheartedly recommend anyone who wants to improve their diving skills to do so at the Panama Dive Centre in this family atmosphere with these great people, it will certainly be an enrichment for everyone. Thank you PDC for this magical time. Translated with DeepL.com (free version)."- Henri Guder
Dive deep and feel at home
"I had the incredible opportunity to intern at Panama Dive Center in Coiba, Panamá, and it was an experience I will cherish forever. From the moment I arrived, the beauty of Coiba's marine life left me in awe. The challenging pacific waters teeming with diverse marine species made every dive a mesmerizing adventure. Camilo and Sabina, the managers of Panama Dive Center, are true professionals. Their extensive knowledge and expertise not only ensured our safety but also enriched our understanding of the underwater world. Their dedication to conservation and responsible diving practices was truly inspiring. What sets Panama Dive Center apart is the sense of family they create. From day one, I felt like a valued member of their team. Camilo and Sabina's warmth and camaraderie extended to everyone, making each day of the internship feel like a new adventure with friends. If you're looking for an internship program that combines breathtaking marine beauty, expert guidance, and a sense of belonging, Panama Dive Center is the place to be. I'm grateful for this unforgettable experience, and I highly recommend it to anyone passionate about diving and marine conservation."- MIKEL GARCIA
Best experience
"Volunteering at the Panama Dive Center is one of the best things you can do! You don’t need much diving experience. I came there with 6 dives and left with 40 and an advanced open water certification!! Thanks to the amazing staff you learn more about diving than you could ever imagine. The diving is simply amazing. I’m going to be spoiled for the rest of my life because of all the life and animals I got see in Coiba. Besides the diving the life in Santa Catalina is also pretty great. Mostly because of the amazing people you get to work with every day. The dive center feels more like a family than a workplace. Because of those amazing people, the nature, the locals, the beaches, and the surfing Santa Catalina will always have a very special place in my heart. I can only recommend staying there as a volunteer and experience the great life yourself. Definitely 5 out of 5 stars!"- Charlotte Weigel
A great experience.
"Volunteering at Panama dive center was truly a great experience. You learn so much from everybody that is involved in the center from the guys on the boat to the instructors who take you diving, which is fantastic, by the way. The working environment is very fun and the training you receive for all the courses is very good. Also, the owners appreciate the hard work you put in. Santa Catalina is also a very nice spot with beaches to explore and adventures to experience. You are certain to enjoy yourself volunteering here."- Oliver Smith
Amazing internship!!!
"Where to start … ? I spent two months in Santa Catalina as a volunteer at the Panamá Dive Center. Two months during which I improved a lot my diving skills in such an amazing place, the Coiba National Park. During which I discovered how to work in a Dive shop, and how it was managed by the whole team. During which I had the chance to pass my PADI Rescue and to receive the best training ever (in exchange of my work). Also, this volunteering is not onIy about the dives, which are amazing, by the way. It’s also about the atmosphere of the place. The people, here, are so nice and the waves so good! If you have some free time, you just need to grab a board and go surfing or go take a walk at the beach! Last but not least, I also had the opportunity to improve my Spanish speaking with Sabina, Camilo at the dive shop or in my daily life with the locals. I could write more and more but for me it’s a five! One star for the location, one star for diving, one star for the PDC team, one star for the surf, one star for my happiness! I will come back for sure!"- Lucie Slypen
What an unforgettable and amazing Experience.
"Volunteering for two months at the Panama Dive Center in Santa Catalina was simply the nicest experience of our long-term travel so far. Working, learning, and having fun, all related with diving, with this amazing team was so rewarding. At first, we got to meet all the people working with PDC, and after a really quick time, thanks to everybody being so welcoming, we realized that we were already well integrated in the team. That is the best feeling. Then, you live and work like you've been there forever. For this atmosphere, on and off working hours, thank you! Also, the certification at PDC is the real deal! I learned so much about diving even though I already was certified. As a diver, that builds up confidence. Camilo, Sabina and all the instructors are so experienced and passioned that they teach you a lot just by telling their diving stories. But not only. They will give you top-notch diving classes/day in Coïba. Finally, the diving environment is unreal. So much submarine life. Coïba will always have a special place in my 'diving' heart since I've seen so many incredible creatures there. To conclude, if you're in love with diving, like all those incredible people, you'll have the time of your life at the Panama Dive Center. And if you want to learn more about diving, go there as well. You'll have the best learning experience. I cannot recommend it more! 5/5. Thank you PDC for those two (too short) magical months! Hasta la vista!"- Hadrien Symon
It was one of the best times of my life!
"Where do I start and where do I stop? As I said to the headline, my time volunteering at Panama Dive Center was one of the best of my life and groundbreaking. I did my OWC as a normal guest at the PDC, traveled on and came back as a volunteer because Santa Catalina and especially Coiba National Park is a sticky place. Besides the world class diving in Coiba and Contreras, PDC is a totally professional PADI 5* center with an absolutely nice staff and the best instructors. I spent a few months there, had the best training I could ask for, with a lot of fun and adventures, and now I am even an instructor myself and working in the diving industry. Without PDC this would not have been possible, so thank you very much. I always enjoy visiting and still feel part of the PDC family. I have made friends for life here, even though there is an ocean between us. Recommended 10/10! Book a flight and have your own experience :)"- Sabrina Vicari
Amazing experience at PDC
"Highly recommend this internship at Panama Dive Center!! The diving in Coiba is absolutely amazing including the boat ride out. Marine life and diving conditions are ever changing which makes it very exciting. The internship was very flexible and great in terms of what you could learn, in addition to understanding the ins and outs of a dive shop, Camilo can teach you more about sidemount and TEC, whereas Sabina can teach you freediving. The PDC team really is the best, so many thanks again for everything!!!!"- Cece Kooper
The best dive center in panama!
"The combination of everything that surrounds the dive center made the experience a 10. First, the human team: they make the best effort that you can learn, feel good and feel part of the team. Their professionalism: a very organized center, very communicative and very effective in their work. The service they offer: quality service and very complete in every way (material, briefings, spaces, instructors, cleaning, ...) The surroundings: it is a magical place, of which you cannot get tired. Coiba is an incredible place, full of pure nature and marine life. Without a doubt, the best place where I could have done my Divemaster training. They are the best! I can just say THANK YOU for allowing me to live this experience!"- Maider Otaola
Underwater lifestyle wiith Panama Dive Center
"What a great experience I had with Sabina in her diving center in Santa Catalina, a small town on the Pacific coast full of ocean lovers. If you want to live a full underwater experience, meet divers from all over the world and improve your surfing skills during your free time, you have to volunteer with the Panama Dive Center team. You will have the privilege to dive in Coiba National Park where you will witness the great marine biodiversity of the Pacific such as whales, dolphins, sharks, turtles... And the team always promoting the greatest respect towards marine life. No more words, go and experience it!!!"- Gonzalo Mateo
Amazing Internship With Great Staff
"My volunteering at Panama Dive Center was characterized by many great experiences. The time especially with the great team of very experienced instructors was not only particularly instructive but also simply wonderful. I can wholeheartedly recommend the volunteer program and would return at any time if I had the opportunity to do so again. The work in and outside the dive store can be a bit demanding at times, but it is perfectly manageable for everyone. The Divemaster program which is accompanied by the store co-owner is perfectly planned for the time and you always feel well taken care of and reasonably trained. So, if you are traveling to Panama in the near future with some more time in your luggage, you should not miss a stop including a volunteer stay and Divemaster training. I would gladly do it again at any time."- Jan Fiedler
Super super recommended
"I would absolutely recommend PDC!! The team is incredibly professional, kind, and qualified. The programme is a great way to gain diving experience, offers the chance to understand the ins and outs of the dive industry, and gives you the opportunity to dive Coiba; an absolutely insane spot in terms of marine biodiversity. I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a volunteer at this programme and also loved that they are very receptive to your input and personal endeavours. Also, Santa Catalina has a local cafe with a killer pina colada."- Melissa Versteeg

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