Costa Rica is relatively new as a diving destination, and most of the diving is concentrated in two areas: Flamingo-Coco (in the Gulf of Papagayo) and around the Osa Peninsula in the southwest.
Some great diving experiences can be had as well near Manuel Antonio.
Scuba diving around the Osa Peninsula is done at Caño Island, a small island about 20 kilometers from Drake Bay (a small bay on the north side of the Osa Peninsula).
Protected as a biological reserve by the Costa Rican government, the island offers pristine water teeming with life.
The Gulf of Papagayo has volcanic rock formations and soft corals.
However, the abundance of plankton in the water means the visibility is frequently low.
From here, you can go further out to Catalina and Bat islands.
Corcovado National Park (near Drake Bay) has Costa Rica’s last primary rainforest.
You can’t have an authentic experience in Costa Rica without visiting it.
Here you’ll see fabulous tropical birds (scarlet macaws, tiny hummingbirds, toucans, etc), wonderful mammals (howler, spider and white-faced monkeys) and the coati, a racoon-like creature.
Some of the best diving is to be had during the rainy season (May to November).
The rain brings more nutrients to the water, and this, along with the warm water temperature, allows plankton to thrive and form the basis of an extensive food chain which lures a whole range of creatures to the area.
Diving in Manuel Antonio
The Manuel Antonio coastline, and its 12 islands, offers the choice of numerous dive sites. Diving within the Manuel Antonio National Park, just a stone’s throw from Quepos, you’ll find the majority of the sites are no more than 20 minutes from the port.
To guarantee your enjoyment, sites are selected based on your level of experience, your preferences, and local conditions. With scuba diving in Manuel Antonio, most of the dives are between 35 and 60 feet deep, though there are deeper sites for more experienced divers.
- Dive at two different sites.
- PADI-certified guide
- Tropical fruits
- Two tanks and equipment
- Buoyancy compensator
- Submersible pressure gauge
- 3 mm wetsuit.
Must have dive certification to participate in this tour, if are not certified you can do a Discover Scuba Diving, and still dive with certified friends.
Manuel Antonio Beach, Costa Rica
Diving in Guanacaste
There are many great dive sites around Playas del Coco in Guanacaste, and they are just a short boat-ride away.
Most of the Papagayo dive sites accommodate all levels of experience from beginners to advanced divers.
For more advanced diving, we offer diving tours to Catalina Islands and Isla Murciélago (Bat Islands).
Maximum depths varies from site to site and ranges between 30ft (10m) to 120 ft (35m). All of the dive guides are computerized to maximize your bottom time.
If you are ready for the thrill and adrenaline-rush of some of the hottest diving in Central America, and are searching for new pathways into the world of underwater adventure, this one’s for you.
The dive trip consist of two dives, each at a different dive site. (Three tank trips can be arranged.) For the Papagayo dive sites, the boat leaves at 8:00 am and is usually back at around 12:30 pm. For the Catalina and Bat Islands trips, the boat leaves at 7:30 am and is usually back at around 1:30 pm.
We offer as well beach pick-up by boat at the following resorts: RIU Guanacaste, Occidental Grand Papagayo, Occidental Allegro Papagayo, Hilton Papagayo, and the Four Seasons.
Each boat is equipped with sunroof, marine radio, GPS, oxygen kit, first-aid kit and a cooler full of drinks and fresh fruits.
The Catalina Islands are about 20 miles/30 km south of Playas del Coco. These dive sites are more advanced due to surge, stronger currents and rougher surface conditions. The Catalina Islands are non-anchored dives and thus reserved for more advanced divers, who are used to drift and deep dives. Divers need to be able to make a quick descent and make the safety stop without a line. Maximum depths varies from site to site ranging from 40ft (12m) to 130 ft (35m).
The Islas Murciélagos or Bat Islands are probably some of the most exciting places for advanced divers in Costa Rica. One of the highlights is a face-to-face encounter with massive bull-sharks, up to 12ft/3.5m.
The islands are located approximately 30 miles/45 km northwest of Playas del Coco, at the most outward western tip of the Santa Rosa National Park.
The season for Bat Islands trips is from May to end of September. With our boats, it takes one hour to get there.
These dive sites re advanced due to surge, stronger currents and rougher surface conditions. The Bat Islands are non-anchored and deep dives. Divers need to be able to make a quick descent and make the safety stop without a line.
Maximum depths varies from site to site ranging from 60ft (18m) to 130 ft (35m).
Visibility is about 18 to 100 ft/6 to 30m. All of our dive guides are computerized to maximize your bottom time.
- Professional and bilingual guides
For your safety, certain dive-sites are appropriate for certified divers only. Please consult with your guide.
Catalina Island, Costa Rica
Diving in Southern Pacific
Isla del Caño is situated in Drake Bay, about two hours to the south of Manuel Antonio.
Expect to find a large number of reef fish species on the coral reef which surround the island. You’ll also likely see bigger creatures, such as manta rays, free-swimming moray eels and sharks. Mammals, such as orcas, dolphins, humpback and pilot whales, are known to cruise through.
Visibility in this area often exceeds 80 feet.
Water temperature generally ranges from 26-29ºC / 78-84ºF. From December through March, cooler currents drop water temperatures as low as 19ºC / 68ºF and attract large animals such as humpback whales, pilot whales, giant manta rays, whale sharks, and others.
- National park fees
- Professional dive guide
- Picnic Lunch
- Tropical fruits and cookies
- Juices and water
- Buoyancy compensator
- Submersible pressure gauge
- 3 mm wetsuit
Must have dive certification to participate in this tour. If you are not certified, you can do a Discover Scuba Diving, and still dive with certified friends.
Please check with your guide
Caño Island, Costa Rica