Pura Vida! It means pure life. This is the motto of the country which we’d like to tell you all about. Tiny Costa Rica is located between Nicaragua and Panama. But despite its modest size, Costa Rica had become a treasure trove where all manner of rare species of birds, animals, butterflies and fish are stored. All this means it’s perfect place for diving. Just what is hidden in the underwater world of Costa Rica and what marine organisms you can be found here is something we’ll be considering in this text.
Getting to this island requires traveling about 300 km from the San Jose - capital of Costa Rica. This place is perfect for exploring the underwater world. If diving is the purpose of your visit, be sure to pencil this in your itinerary. Cano Island is located in the south of the Pacific Ocean and is a National Park. The number tourist boats permitted to arrive here is strictly limited to save a pristine nature.
Devil’s Peak is one of the most popular diving sites. The depth varies between 5 to 35 meters and allows divers of any level dive there. Visibility highly depends on the currents but, when the water is calm, you should be ready to see an unbelievable labyrinth chock full of of caves and mounds. Giant mantas are frequent visitors here. They are not afraid of divers and are unperturbed swimming very close to you. Another giant species of Devils Peak, which you can see among the schools of reef fish, is the 30 kilogram amberjack. Some species of eels and rare fish also dwell here.
The next interesting spot for divers is Shark Cave. This underwater cave is located at a shallow depth and about 10 species of reef sharks can be seen here.
The Sunken Ship (or El Barco Hundido) dive site’s name might mislead you. In actuality there isn’t any ship but the whitetip sharks that dwell here will be sure to add a great deal of excitement to any diving here, though they won’t threaten your safety.
Playa Del Coco is known as the most popular beach village and tourist center of Costa Rica. Here you can find accommodation suited to every taste and budget; from beach bungalows to first-class villas. The wide variety of entertainment attracts travelers from all over the world. On the coastline, you can find dive centers where you can learn how to dive or take diving trips to the nearest islands.
The Bat Islands are within the territory of the Santa Rosa National Park. We should note that only experienced divers can dive here. You should have experience in drift diving and have a certificate no less than that of an Advanced Open Water Diver. If you have this certificate and proper experience, world-class diving awaits you.
At the Black Rock dive site you will meet huge schools of fish and spotted rays. The underwater world here is so varied, that you can return to the same place over and over again and you will always discover something new.
Meetings with bull sharks make this place very popular. This rare species can be found at the Big Scare dive site. An adrenaline rush is guaranteed as well as memories that’ll be sure to last a lifetime. This predator doesn’t reciprocate the interest of his underwater guests but you should listen very carefully your dive guide’s instructions and follow them.
One more favored locale among divers are the Catalina Islands. Made famous by a variety of marine life; dolphins, turtles, reef sharks and several species of rays, morays and countless schools of fish. All of them dwell in the surrounding waters. Diving sites here are good for both divers and also snorkelers. It’s not just the variety of marine life that attracts divers but also the unusual natural environment - caves, underwater rocks and volcanic rocks covered by corals all prove a sight to be beheld.
The dive site at Dirty Rock is famous for its perfect visibility and the Sombrero dive site is good for wall diving.
Diving off the Catalina Islands is a great opportunity to scrutinise the underwater world as closely as possible. Perhaps the greatest spectacle is during August to September, when humpback whales come close by the coastline to reproduce.
It isn’t necessary to stay in Playa del Coco in order to go diving off the Catalina Islands and Bat Island. Other popular tourist cities Playa Flamingo and Tamarindo are located along the Pacific coastline. Their beaches are perfect for surfing. Besides surfing schools, you can find a variety of diving centers here, where local staff will easily organize trips to the islands which we already have written about. This place is perfect for travelers, who prefer to combine different activities within one vacation.
The most youthful place in Costa Rica. Nobody comes here for first class service, but for travelers with backpacks Puerto Viejo open the doors of its numerous hostels. Located far away from popular destinations, Puerto Viejo has preserved its unique authenticity. Divers don’t often choose this place, but there are interesting diving sites too. To go diving and snorkeling you should travel to the Punta Uva beach. Divers can leisurely float along the walls and canyons, visibility is over 15 meters and the maximum depth is about 20 meters. Among the schools of reef fish huge gardens with brain corals and black corals can be seen here.
In Spanish, Herradura means “horseshoe.” This village on the pacific coastline bears the layout of its namesake. The diving sites are located 10 minutes by boat from the shore. Depending on your diving level and the weather conditions, diving center staff will choose the right site for you so you can get the most out of your trip. Tortuga bay is perfect for beginners, because the water here is crystal clear and calm. Deep divers prefers diving site named “The Back Yard”, because the depth here is about 40 meters. There is a big chance of meeting giant mantas and white tip sharks at the Island dive site (it really is named just “Island”). The Turtle Islands are located about 40 minutes away by boat and are a great place for enjoying your diving, and relaxing on one of its white sand beaches.
There is one place in Costa Rica which surely earns a place on the top ten best diving spots around the world. It's the biggest uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean, located from 600km from shore. Its remoteness from the mainland, unique natural conditions and strict prohibition on fishing makes Cocos Island home to a variety of plants, birds, and fish, the biggest part of which you won’t find anywhere else in the world. The sea bottom consists of volcanic rock covered by different seaweeds and corals. You can see lobsters at any time and the sheer variety of fish is indescribable! Among them are schools of jack fish, sardines, rays, morays and, of course, sharks. Grey reef sharks are here at every step and you’ll see whale sharks very often. Hammerheads give a real showing, swimming above divers’ heads. Diving off Cocos Island is possible all year round, but the best time is from May to October. The waters which surround the island can swiftly change the direction of their currents and visibility therefore varies, so diving here is possible only for holders of an Advanced Open Water Diver certificate and higher. Legend says that, off this island, it’s possible to find an actual, literal treasure trove. So I should think that you can’t wait to dive here and find that treasure? Let’s do it together!
The nature of Costa Rica and her islands will remind you of those illustrations from the books of Jules Verne and Robert Louis Stevenson. To see all this variety, it’s not enough to visit only just city. It’s much better to visit a few places and maybe you can understand why Christopher Colombus named this country “the rich coast”. Diving possibilities here know no bounds. If you haven’t dived before, don’t miss the chance to take a course and join those others who have already explored underwater world.