SCUBA Travel

Diving Costa Rica

Book liveaboard in Costa Rica

26 May 2016
Costa Rica sits between the Pacific and the Caribbean. The better diving is on the Pacific coast, particularly in the Northwest: Catalina Islands, Bat Islands and the Gulf of Papagayo. In the Southwest check out Cano Island.

The best diving in Costa Rica, though, is arguably at the Cocos Islands, 300 miles off the mainland and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This world class diving destination fis a great place to see pelagic species like marlin, sailfish and sharks when they visit the islands visit to feed and mate.

Costa Rican sea temperature ranges from 21 to 29 oC (70 to 85 oF): a 2-3 mm (1/8") wetsuit is may be sufficient for the hardy but at least a 5 mm is needed in the cooler temperatures for thinner divers. The dry season runs from November to May but can be very windy. From June to November is the rainy season when hammerhead sharks are more frequent. May is a good time to go as it shouldn't be too windy or wet.

Hammerhead Shark in the Cocos Islands, Costa Rica by  Barry Peters  [CC BY 2.0]
Hammerhead Shark in Costa Rica by Barry Peters [CC BY 2.0]

Take special care when swimming from all beaches in Costa Rica. Rip tides are very common. Avoid using unofficial taxis - "taxi piratas". Violent incidents involving tourists have been reported. Official taxis are red with a triangular sticker and plastic box on the roof with the name and number of the taxi company. Medical care in Costa Rica is of a high standard, but only emergency medical treatment is available free for visitors. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad.

Dive Sites Diving Operators Accommodation Books to Take Your Comments


The Diving around Costa Rica

Catalina Islands Dive Sites Cocos Islands Dive Sites Gulf of Papagayo Dive Sites Santa Elena Peninsula Dive Sites Cano Island Dive Sites

Northwest Costa Rica
Catalina Islands
Manta ray, Costa Rica

The Catalina Islands are often visited because they are only 19 nautical mile/ 25 minutes from Tamarindo. It is very common to see white tip sharks, giant mantas, manta rays, fish such as buffoon, giant grouper, morays, and a great variety of many other species of different sizes and colours. It is best to descend to a depth of 18 m to encounter more species. At this depth the visibility is also better (horizontal visibility is approximately between 5 and 35 m). There are 6 dive sites regularly dived here.

Catalina
Los Sombreros
"Lots of fish, not too deep, current was moderate, visibility fairly good, about 20-30 ft. Awesome for beginners but experienced divers will enjoy the multitude of sea life."
Angela, USA, 2009

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Catalina
Elephant Rock
"More dramatic, with a drop straight dow 60 ft alongside a huge rock. Giant reefs and loads of fish. Good visibility."
Angela, USA, 2009

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Catalina. Depth: 12-18 m
Cabo Velas (Secret Point)

Recommended by the locals. You may observe fish typical to the North Pacific and the most special part of Cabo Velas is the reef that looks like a garden under the water.

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Guanacaste » Santa Elena Penisula. Depth: 9-28 m
Bat Island

Located in Santa Elena Peninsula, two and a half hours from Tamarindo. Offers a large variety of species: a major attraction are the Bull Sharks. The depth fluctuates between 9 and 28 m with beautiful rock formations. The islands also offer a refuge of parks where you may camp overnight.

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North Pacific Coast
Gulf of Papagayo

There are over 40 dive sites in the Gulf Of Papagayo. Some of the more popular ones are Aqarium, Surprise, Virador, Monkey Head, Punta Gorda, Baja Tiburones for normal diving and Los Meros and Escorpiones for shallow dives. All are volcanic rock formations with lots of marine life such as spotted eagle rays, whitetip sharks, schooling fish, mobule and cow nosed rays, frog fish and sea horses.

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South Pacific Coast
Cano Island (Isla de Cano)

Reviews: 4 Star Rating (2)

"Great dive saw a whale shark!!! And like 3 mantas, good visibility. I've been to Drake Bay (which is near Cano Island) 3 years and plan on going these year again, awesome dive sites. Go there!"
Jose Andres Fumero, 2016, dived with Cano Divers

"Saw White tip shark, turtle, Many Jacks, and an eel. Visability was 30 feet. Photography was limited. Snorkeling was part of tour which was actually a little better than the dives. "
Christian Andersen, 2013

"I dove Cano Island and it was AMAZING!!! I also dove in the Northern Pacific near Tamrindo and it was pretty good."
Brian Bohne, 1 May 2013

"I just came back from Costa Rica and dived in the Cano Island near Drake bay, on the South Pacific coast. It was very interesting, lots of Sting-ray, white-tip-reef shark, etc. "
Victor Cartin, 2011, dived with Costa Rica Adventure Divers

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Costa Rica
Cocos Islands

The Cocos Islands are reached by a 10 day liveaboard trip. All of the islands have large schools of fish, rays and sharks. You can dive the Cocos Islands year round, but perhaps the best time is August.

Cocos Island
Manuelita Coral Night Dive (or the Dinner Bell)

"Hundreds and hundreds of white tip sharks swarming in crystal clear ebony coloured water weaving gracefully through the nooks and crannies of the coral below searching for a meal. Little fish hiding behind rocks and even divers, hoping not to be spied. Then - CRACK!!!! - a shark finds a morsel and send the hundreds of other shark into a frenzy of movement. Thirty seconds later, the slow graceful ballet of movement resumes as if nothing had happened. What a rush!!
Rebecca Ramaley, 2011.

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Cocos Islands
Dirty Rock

Reviews: 5 Star Rating: Recommended (4)

"Massive wall of hammerheads every time. Marble and eagle rays. Friendly whale sharks who enjoy the diver's bubbles for extended periods."
Mauri Sanderford, Norway, 2014.

"Dirty Rock is unbelieveable - we dove it 5 times on our liveaboard trip, and not once did it disappoint - schooling hammerheads, silkies, eagle rays, swarming white tips, and even a friendly dolphin. Definitely a top 20 dive"
Rebecca Ramaley, 2011.

"Huge schools of jacks, schooling hammerheads (up to 100 per school). Galapagos Sharks, turtles..... WOW"
Sacha Webber-Cross, UK, 2008.

"Great pelagic dive site. Biggest school of rays i have ever seen....Hundreds."
Adrian Trent

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Cocos Islands
Alcyone

"Jacque Cousteau's favorite dive site with even more hammerheads, cleaning stations, ++"
Mauri Sanderford, Norway, 2014.

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Cocos Islands
Dos Amigos Pequeña

"Hammerheads, lots of them and very close up."
Sacha Webber-Cross, UK, 2008.

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Dive Operators in Costa Rica

Recommend a dive operator or list your diving company on this page.

Guanacaste » North Pacific Coast
Rocket Frog Divers
Rocket Frog Divers, Costa Rica

Hotel Los Almendros de Ocotal
Guanacaste
Costa Rica
Tel: +506-8834-6646
[email protected]

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Caribbean Coast
Reef Runner Divers
Reef Runner Divers, Costa Rica

Puerto Viejo
Costa Rica
Tel: +506.2750.0480
[email protected]
http://www.reefrunnerdivers.com/

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North Pacific Coast » Guanacaste
Bill Beard's Adventure Travel and Diving Safaris
Bill Beard's Costa Rica

Located on the Pacific Ocean at Playa Hermosa, a large beach on a paved road with trams to take you around the hotel, resort and villas. Offer packages for individuals, families and groups with special programs for children, mature travellers, honeymoon couples and non-divers. Privately escorted tours to volcanoes, hot springs, river rafting, tree top canopy, jungles, rain forests, horseback riding, wildlife refuges and national parks. Any of their scuba diving packages and land tours may be combined. Organise accommodation as well as diving.

Playa Hermosa
Guanacaste
Tel: +506 954 453-5044
Fax: +1 954 351-9740
[email protected]
Bill Beard on Google+

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North Pacific Coast » Guanacaste
Diving Safaris Costa Rica
Diving Safaris Costa Rica

Diving Safaris Costa Rica is a family run, super fun and friendly PADI 5 Star Dive Center, and is the oldest dive shop in the Gulf of Papagayo area of Costa Rica. We offer daily diving and snorkeling excursions. Plus, we offer Discover Scuba Courses and PADI Courses all the way through Divemaster Certification. We are located in Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste, Costa Rica, just a 30 minute drive from Liberia International Airport (LIR). Our location puts us in the heart of some of the best diving in the Papagayo area, and includes the Catalina Islands and the famed Islas Murcielagos (Bat Islands).

Playa Hermosa
Guanacaste
Costa Rica
Tel.: +(506) 2672-1259
[email protected]
http://costaricadiving.net
Diving Safaris Costa Rica on Google+

Reviews: 5 stars 5 stars 5 stars

"Diving Safaris Costa Rica in Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste, is the best in Papagayo! 2-tank local dive is $90. Catalina Islands $135. Bat Islands $185. I dive exclusively with them when in Costa Rica. "Family run and super fun" is Diving Safaris' motto and they don't disappoint. Great staff, friendly, funny and safety conscious. Their boats are nice. The Giorgiana is big and spacious - no tripping over your fellow divers and their equipment. And what a location! Some of the best diving I've ever experienced. "
Mike Poynton

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North Pacific Coast » Guanacaste
Ocotal

Two miles from Playas del Coco.
Tel: (506) 258-6363
Fax: (506) 248-0098
[email protected]

"I dived Playa del Coco in August. Terrible visibility, terrible service by local diving operations - lack of professionalism and causing anxiety. Great service at the dive centre in Ocotal."
Philip Andrews

"Do not come in rainy season. It has rained my whole vacation with only a few hours of sunlight until the rain storms commence. The operators at Ocotal beach resort were nice but didn't even want us to get into the water because of low vis., high current and they were not very enthusiastic about anything. In my opinon go during March-May that is when the locals say everything is nice. Costa Rica is really beautiful but plase don't be me and go during the rainy season. "
Steven Lipinski

"Excellent, maybe the best service I have ever received! and lots to see!"
annegret (2007)

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North Pacific Coast » Guanacaste
Deep Blue Diving Adventures

Deep Blue Diving Adventures
Padi Gold Palm Resort
Playas del Coco
Costa Rica
+001 (506) 670 1004
[email protected]

"Deep Blue Diving Adventures are a Padi Gold Palm Resort. We’ll be happy to dive with you and to make all arrangements for you.
Our every day “2 Tank Morning dive” is $79, a 3 tank dive is $105. If you need equipment, full gear rental is $20 per day. The Catalina 2 tank dive trip is $110 and requires at least two divers. The trip to Islas Murciélagos (Bat Islands) is 1 hour only and cost $ 150 per person for 2 dives with a minimum of 3 divers. Our prices include boat, captain, guide, tanks, weight, drinks, snacks and fun!
May we help you with the accommodation? We offer the Hotel Puerta del Sol. A lovely Mediterranean style place, each room is equipped with ac, fan, coffee maker, fridge, bathroom with hot water, wireless internet and safe."

Oliver Bloemeke, IDC Staff Instructor, Deep Blue Diving Adventures, 2013

North Pacific Coast » Guanacaste
Rich Coast Diving

Rich Coast Diving
PADI 5* IDC and CDC Centre
Playas del Coco
Guanacaste 5019
Costa Rica
Tel: (506) 2670 0176
Tel: (506) 8702 4574
E-mail: [email protected]
E-mail: [email protected]

" We are a PADI 5* IDC Centre and the only CDC facility in Costa Rica. We have a staff of 12 divers and several boats including a specially outfitted trimaran.
We offer a great range of dive packages and can recommend good accommodation for every budget.
"
Martin and Brenda van Gestel

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North Pacific Coast » Guanacaste
Manuel Antonio Divers

Complete dive center, including a dive shop and offer all PADI Certificates. Located in the province of Puntarenas, Central Pacific.

PO Box 242-6350
Quepos
Puntarenas Playas del Coco
Guanacaste
Costa Rica 5019
Tel: +001 (506) 777-3483
Fax: +001 (506) 777-4200

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North Pacific Coast » Guanacaste
Aqua Center

Reviews: 3 stars

Play Flamingo
Guanacaste
Costa Rica

"Andrea was our dive master from the Aqua Center at the Playa Flamingo Resort. He was very nice and professional. I felt very comfortable during our 2-tank dive. We have gone with them for two years now. They also offer refresher courses and snorkelling trips, and offer dive sites for all levels of experience. Highly recommended.
You can easily stay at Playa Flamingo resort or try to reserve a private house on the beach. We stayed at Casa Piedras which is right on the beach. The dive was $95 including equipment for a 2 tank dive trip. We went twice, to four different sites - there are many sites here. I thought it was fantastic! Amazing sunsets!
"
Angela, USA, 2009
"Beware the boat staff! I had about 40,000 colones taken from my wallet while diving. I was daft for taking all my cash, but I had just been to the bank, and you expect to not get robbed on a dive boat.
I give them
"
R Ditloff, 2010

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North Pacific Coast » Guanacaste
DAgua Rica Diving Center

Centro Comercial Diria
Tamarindo
Guanacaste
Costa Rica
Tel/Fax: (506) 653-0094
Mail-box N 25
[email protected]

"Not certified? No problem, our staff of Padi and SSI dive professionals are committed to quality dive instruction & services. If you do not want to take the full certification we will train you the day before the scuba tour; you will watch some videos and practice in the pool with an Instructor."

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Mid Pacific Coast » Jaco
Herradura Divers

700 metros del cruce al Oueste
Playa Herradura
Puntarena
Costa Rica
Tel: +001 (506) 2637-7123
[email protected]

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Mid Pacific Coast » Quepos
Oceans Unlimited

Quepos
Costa Rica
Tel: (+506) 777-3171
[email protected]

"We are PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Resort offering a wide range of courses and a wide range of dives local to Quepos, offshore trips and to nearby Cano Island."

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South Pacific Coast
Costa Rica Adventure Divers

Costa Rica Adventure Divers
at Hotel Jinetes de Osa.
South Pacific Coast Costa Rica
Tel: USA: 303-339-0221
Tel: Costa Rica: Tel/fax: (506) 2231-5806
Tel: Toll Free In US and Canada: 1-866-553-7073
[email protected]

"The diver centre of Jinetes de Osa were very helpful. Cost $130 for 2 dives, Cano island-1 hour boat ride and good lunch. Very helpful staff, they get all your gear ready for you!!!! A treat!"
Victor Cartin, 2011

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South Pacific Coast
Cano Divers

Located in Pirate Cove Hotel, Drake Bay. Dive Cano Island. Book in advance in high season

Cano Divers
Pirate Cove Hotel
Drake Bay
Osa Peninsula
Costa Rica
Tel: +(506) 2234-6154
[email protected]

Reviews: 5 Star Rating (1)

"Big boat, comfy space for loads of people. Fair price. Great operator."
Jose Andres Fumero, 2016

South Pacific Coast
Mystic

Reviews: 4 Star Rating (1)

Mystic
Ojochal
Costa Rica

"Max 8 divers. Good food and snacks. "
Christian Andersen, 2013

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Cocos Islands
Undersea Hunter

Liveaboard diving to Cocos and Malpelo Islands

Undersea Hunter
#SJO 314
PO Box 025331
Miami, FL 33102-5331
USA
Tel: +506 2228 6613
Fax: +506 2289 7334
[email protected]
Book diving via Divebooker…

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Cocos Islands
Okeanos Aggressor II (Wind Dancer)

Liveaboard diving to Cocos Islands.

Okeanos Aggressor II
Aggressor Fleet
209 Hudson Trace
Augusta, GA
30907
USA Tel: +1 706-993-2531
Email: [email protected]
Book diving via Divebooker…

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Costa Rica
Costa Rica Outward Bound

Costa Rica Outward Bound do 10 trips a year that involve diving, all of which students aged 18-24 years get college credits back in the US and Canada.

CRROBS
SJO 829
POBOX 025216
MIAMI FL 33102-5216
Tel: 1-800-676-2018 or 011-506-278-6058
Fax: 1-800-676-0486 or 011-506-278-6059

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Costa Rica
Summer-Salt Dive Center

PADI Dive Operator.

Tel: (+506) 670-0308
Fax: (+506) 670-1394
Cel: (+506) 357-5531 or 824-7258
[email protected]

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Costa Rica
Buzo Aventura

Dive the Pacific, Catalinas, Bat Islaind, Caño Island.

Tel: (506) 8368-0659 E-mail: [email protected]

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Accommodation

.For more hotels see the Agoda site...

Hotel && Villas Cala Luna

A luxury hotel in Guanacaste, located in waters renowned for diving. E-mail: [email protected]

Bahia De los Delfines, Playa Tambor, Costa Rica

Resort that offers diving. E-mail: [email protected]


Books to Take


The Reef Set (3 Volumes Boxed - includes Reef Fish, Reef Creature and Reef Coral)
by Paul Humann, New World Publications, 2013
Invaluable for diving Florida, Caribbean or the Bahamas.
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Costa Rica
Dorling Kindersley, 336 pages, 2014
Costa Rican Spanish: Lonely Planet Phrasebook
by Thomas Kohnstamm, Paperback, Lonely Planet Publication, 256 pages, 2013
Learn a little Spanish to enhance your trip and get in with the locals

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Compiled by Jill Studholme