Scuba Diving Vacations in Costa Rica

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Discover Costa Rica Underwater

Full of exotic marine life, the underwater landscapes off the coasts of Costa Rica are ready for exploration.
These rich habitats are yours to discover with help from our local experts, who can customize your Costa Rica diving vacation to fit in as much underwater adventure or relaxation as possible.
With over 760 miles of Pacific and Caribbean coastline, complete with islands, gulfs, and bays to explore, Costa Rica offers a full range of diving experiences suitable for all levels.
Contact us and tell us about your dream Costa Rica diving vacation. Our travel consultants will help you make the right choices and ensure you experience the dive trip of a lifetime!

Finding the Best Dive Sites in Costa Rica

If you don't know where to start, that's okay. With our help, you'll be exploring the ocean floor in no time.
A great place to start is Playa Flamingo in Guanacaste, a perfect access point to the offshore Catalina Islands.
Diving experts regard these islands highly, especially for the range of large pelagic species that you can see here. They also have unique underwater arches and caves, with vibrant coral also on display, home to dozens of tropical fish.
Another great diving spot is in the far south of Costa Rica, off the Osa Peninsula, one of Costa Rica's most biologically diverse regions in itself.
Here you'll find Isla del Caño, where the protected waters are some of Costa Rica's most exotic marine life. Spot octopi, eels, angelfish, jacks, snappers, and grunts. With some luck, you'll also see turtles, orcas, and dolphins. And there's also the chance, at the right time of year, to experience the humpback whales that come here to mate.
Still interested in diving in Costa Rica? Read on below to discover more and get some tips on where to stay while here!

The Catalina Islands

Location: North Pacific, Guanacaste
The Catalina Islands are a popular diving location in Costa Rica, with over 25 dive sites, ideal for all levels.
The diversity of marine life is exceptional. Expect to see rays, eels, giant mantas, octopus, sea urchins, giant clams, angelfish, parrotfish, white tip reef sharks, humpback whales, turtles, and dolphins, to name a few!
Recommended places to stay:

Isla Del Caño

Location: Osa Peninsula
Many experts say Isla del Caño has some of the world's best diving. This small island sits in the Pacific Ocean, a 1.5-hour boat ride off the coast of Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula.
The world-class diving here offers gorgeous coral reefs with fantastic visibility. All the better to experience a vast array of marine life, including octopus, barracuda, amberjacks, wahoo, marlin, dolphins, bull sharks, whale sharks, and even hammerheads!
Recommended places to stay:

Bat Island (Isla Murcielago)

Location: North Pacific, Guanacaste
Isla Murcielago (Bat Island in English) is one for more experienced divers among you. If you have advanced certification and seek a real underwater adventure, a dive off Bat Island could be a highlight of your Costa Rica diving trip.
Once you're down there, you'll come face to face with enormous fish, including bull sharks and all manner of rays,
Recommended places to stay:

Isla Tortuga

Location: Gulf of Nicoya
Many people come to Isla Tortuga on day trips to lounge on its white-sand beaches and snorkel its crystal clear waters. But there's also some excellent scuba diving around here for those who know where to look. Visit three different shipwrecks and check out submerged volcanic rock formations and pinnacles while swimming amid schools of grunts and white tip sharks.
Other marine life to experience while diving Isla Tortuga includes yellowtail snapper, angelfish, sea horses, eels, starfish, spinner dolphins, humpback whales, and pilot whales.
Recommend places to stay:

Playa Flamingo & Playa Conchal

Location: North Pacific, Guanacaste
These locations are great for snorkeling directly from the beach and there's easy access to nearby dive sites.
Whether you decide to snorkel or get deeper, Playa Flamingo and Playa Conchal are ideal starting points for your underwater adventure. See angelfish, puffers, harlequin shrimp, spotted eagle rays, devil rays, barracuda, hogfish, and dolphins, among so many others!
Recommended places to stay:

Isla del Coco (Cocos Island)

Named by Jacques Cousteau as the world's most beautiful island, this hidden gem sits some 340 miles off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. 
Isla del Coco is only accessible by boat, and you need to stay on board while there - entry is by permit only. There are no accommodations on the island.
The 36-hour journey to the island from Puntarenas is full of anticipation of the world-class diving ahead. It's not for nothing that the Professional Association of Diving Instructors names Isla del Coco as one of the top ten dive spots on planet earth.
These waters are famous for their swirling schools of hammerhead sharks, but that's not all. You'll also see bright coral reefs and underwater arches formed from the rocks. Isla del Coco is a bucket list destination for any scuba diver worth their salt.
Recommended places to stay:
  • You have to stay on board your boat for your dive trip to Cocos Island.

Natural Treasures in the Pacific

You'll see the Costa Rica diving destinations listed above are on the Pacific side, because that's where the big fish are. The Caribbean side is pretty good, but it's fair to say other countries in Central America beat Costa Rica for Caribbean diving. That's okay, though - Costa Rica has the Pacific, and if you're a diver, you'll love it.
Tell us what you'd like to experience and your level of expertise, and we'll do our best to put you where you're most likely to find them.

Learning to Dive?

Although, as the song goes, we'd all like to be under the sea, the truth is that to dive in Costa Rica (well, to dive anywhere in the world, for that matter), you'll need a PADI certification. 
The dive spots we're speaking about on this page depend on you, the diver, having such certification. If you're not certified, you can snorkel, but you can't dive. 
Luckily, Costa Rica is a great place to get certified as a scuba diver. PADI courses are available from dive centers around the country, with Guanacaste and Manuel Antonio being the prominent two locations.
If you're interested in learning to dive in Costa Rica, let us know, and we'll be happy to point you in the right direction.
Whether you're an experienced diver or have never strapped on an oxygen tank before, we can provide everything you need for scuba diving in Costa Rica.
With friendly, knowledgeable dive instructors and some of the most incredible underwater environments in the world, these expeditions will be unlike anything you've ever experienced.

FAQs About Diving Vacations in Costa Rica


Which side of Costa Rica is best for diving?

It might be surprising to some, but the Pacific side of Costa Rica is best for scuba diving. It's here you get to experience the enormous fish!

What are the best places to dive in Costa Rica?

The best place to dive in Costa Rica is Isla del Coco. Following on from that, Isla del Caño and the Catalina Islands also offer fantastic diving opportunities.

Is the water in Costa Rica clear?

The water can be very clear if diving offshore in Costa Rica, away from the mainland and river mouths. Isla del Caño is famous for the clarity of its waters.

Where can you dive with sharks in Costa Rica

Pretty much anywhere there's a dive spot! Of course, the most famous place for sharks is Isla del Coco and its massive schools of hammerheads. But Bat Island also features sharks, as does Isla del Caño and the Catalinas.


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