Costa Rica Scuba Diving is a popular recreational activity in the land of the “rich coast” as Columbus named Costa Rica. Known for its tropical jungles, picturesque beaches and unusual biodiversity, Costa Rica, with its coasts on the Pacific and Caribbean, is also a popular place to go diving. A wide range of marine life can be encountered and a variety of underwater terrain experienced. Costa Rica has the Cocos Islands, The Bat and Catalina Islands and Bajo del Diablo—all offering to experience the wonders of the undersea world.
The Cocos Islands are already well-known and are considered by many to be one of the top ten best dive sites in the world. These are unpopulated islands off the coast of Costa Rica in the Pacific Ocean, and difficult to travel to (a 30-36 hour boat journey!) Its national park was acknowledged as a World Heritage Site back in 1997. And in addition, the Cocos Islands were voted to be part of the new Seven Wonders of the World in 2009. They’re also home to moist tropic forests, birds, many mammals, and reptiles such as the anole and the gecko.
What’s special about the Cocos Islands in the realm of scuba diving is the marine life it houses. The island is home a variety of different turtles, humpback whales, dolphins, and giant manta rays. What’s even more interesting is the presence of many hammerhead sharks. Scuba Diving in the Cocos Island is almost equivalent to swimming with the sharks, and divers travel from around the world to experience swimming with huge schools of them, as seen in this photo: Hammerhead shark school.
For experienced scuba divers, the challenging underwater terrain of the Bat and Catalina Islands will suit you. It’s located northwest from the coast of Nicoya Peninsula. Its terrain has more corals and underwater landscapes than any other local sites. The currents of the ocean here are also strong, which requires more strength and focus while diving. The beauty and wonderment to be enjoyed in the islands’ deep waters will be the payoff for the extra work. Scuba in the months from December to May is ideal when in the Catalina Islands, since there’s less runoff from rivers on the Costa Rica mainland. For the Bat Islands, the ideal time is from March to November.
Huge schools of fish, eagle mantras, turtles and sharks are only some of the marine life you can observe while in the Bat and Catalina islands. The islands are less explored than the other diving sites in Costa Rica so there are many more amazing species and scenic views to discover.
Another top diving site in Costa Rica can be found in Bahia Drake (or Drake Bay). It is the little bay on the north of Osa Peninsula which houses the well-known Corcovado National Park. In Drake Bay, scuba diving in the site named Bajo del Diablo is considered to be a must-do activity upon visiting. Its large underwater valleys and various rock formations make the underwater landscapes breathtaking. Aside from these sights, it’s the home of large schools of devil rays upon which the diving site is named after.
Numerous dive sites in Costa Rica are scattered in different areas. Punta Uva and Punta Cocles dive sites front the Carribean Sea. While Ocotal and Hermosa dive sites are located in the Pacific Ocean. Costa Rica scuba diving, while perhaps not as famous as a place such as Roatan, still has a lot to offer.