The area’s shark cave is a favorite dive among visitors, but you’ll also find interesting arches and vibrant coral growth on volcanic formations.
Bat Island regularly attracts large groups of Bull Sharks, creating an adrenalin-filled dive. At 100 ft (30m), this area is best for advanced divers.
The pinnacles surrounding this island attract a number of larger marine species, including Manta Rays, Dolphins, Orcas, Humpbacks and Pilot Whales.
The Franklin Chang, Colonel Alfonso Monge, and the Caroline Star are all waiting to be explored within recreational limits along the Pacific coast.
Remote Cocos Island is renowned for its Hammerhead Shark diving. Adventurous divers sail to this Pacific Ocean rock for the dive trip of a lifetime.
Costa Rica literally translates to “Rich Coast,” an apt name for a country surrounded by oceans. On the Pacific side, offshore islands defined by their underwater pinnacles, such as Cocos Island and the Bat and Catalina Islands in Guanacaste, offer up enticing shark and manta ray encounters. These destinations boast heavy currents, making them more suitable for advanced divers. These are the most famous dive sites in Costa Rica and worth the effort to reach.
The Pacific coastline is also known for pelagic life. From humpback whales to manta rays, this coast is suitable to all diving levels with some calm areas and some known to have a bit of current. Remember that the southern area of the country is a protected biological reserve. The underwater landscape is made up of boulders and pinnacles, and you’ll enjoy large schools of fish swimming by on almost every dive.
Finally, the Caribbean coast, where you’ll find vibrant reefs teeming with marine life, has not yet been fully mapped by divers. The protected nature of the reefs make this region great for beginners. Explore both coasts to get a full appreciation for Costa Rica’s beauty.
May to November is considered rainy season. Visitors can expect one to two hours of rainfall in the mid-afternoon during these months.
The rainy season is the best time to go if you’re an advanced diver who likes pelagic action. During these months, nutrient swells attract Bull Sharks to the Bat Islands and Hammerhead Sharks to Cocos Island.
As an added benefit, fewer tourists arrive during rainy season, making this holiday locale cheaper.
Keep in mind Caribbean diving is best from August to December when you’ll find little wind and calm seas.
December to April is dry season in Costa Rica. During these months, very little rain falls throughout the Pacific coast.
The dry season is the best time to visit Costa Rica if you want to split your time between sunbathing on the beach and diving into the underwater world. Most of the pelagic species found during the rainy season leave Costa Rica’s coast and are replaced by a variety of fish and macro species.
It is also the best time to dive in Costa Rica for beginner divers who prefer easy, colorful diving. During these months, divers will benefit from calmer seas and visibility reaching 100 feet (30 meters). December to April is the best time to dive on the Pacific coast in locations like Guanacaste and Quepos.
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Home to huge schools of scalloped hammerhead sharks and plenty of other pelagics, remote Cocos Island is one of the best places to dive in the world.
One of Costa Rica’s newest dive spots, Herradura offers all levels of diver the chance to meet both Giant Oceanic Manta Rays and Whitetip Reef Sharks.
Less developed than the Pacific coast, the province of Limón offers the chance to dive into the Caribbean. Expect pristine reefs and a few shipwrecks.
Home to advanced dives at offshore islands and trips to Isla del Cano, the waters of Manuel Antonio National Park host divers and Giant Manta Rays alike.
Centrally located between the Bat Islands and the Catalina Islands, Playas del Coco boasts Giant Manta Rays and Bull Sharks in volcanic landscapes.
Puntarenas is a gateway to Costa Rica’s best diving destinations like the magnificent Cocos Island, Nicoya Peninsula, Manuel Antonio and Caño Island.
Pelagic life abounds in Costa Rica’s waters. During the rainy season, plankton blooms occur in the Pacific, attracting massive schools of manta rays, eagle rays, mobulas and whale sharks. January, February and March bring whale season, during which you can hear the haunting songs of humpback and pilot whales.
June and July represent another humpback season as Costa Rica lies on the whales’ migratory path. Fantastic arrays of sharks, including hammerheads, bull sharks and nurse sharks, also arrive from May to November to feast on offshore bait balls.
Throughout the year, colorful fish and endangered sea turtles cruise along Costa Rica’s healthy coral reefs, which are brimming with vibrant hard and soft corals.
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