The 6 Best Places to Scuba Dive in Costa Rica in 2024

Costa Rica is a treasure filled with marine biodiversity waiting to be explored by scuba divers. With its nutrient-rich waters filled with abundant marine life, Costa Rica offers a scuba diving experience like no other.

In this blog post, we’ll guide you through Costa Rica’s top scuba diving spots in this Central American paradise.

Where Is the Best Place to Dive in Costa Rica?

Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a curious beginner ready to explore the ocean’s depths, Costa Rica promises a scuba diving experience you’ll remember for years to come.

Gear up and prepare to take the plunge in this underwater paradise. These are the best Costa Rica scuba diving spots:

Gulf of Papagayo

Local dive sites near Playa del Coco and Playa Hermosa provide diverse marine life, including spotted eagle rays, octopus, sea turtles, and white-tip reef sharks.

There’s no wonder why the Gulf of Papagayo is Costa Rica’s most popular dive area with many resort and boutique hotel options for divers.

With year-round diving and dive sites in the Gulf of Papagayo only a 10- to 20-minute boat ride away from the most desirable all-inclusive resorts, boutique hotels, and bed-and-breakfasts, making it an excellent location for a dive vacation.

This diving spot is perfectly suited for advanced divers and novices or those learning to dive because its submerged volcanic rock formations and dive pinnacles offer multi-level dive opportunities so you can enjoy them together on the same dive site.

Furthermore, if you want to learn to dive or take a one-day Discover Scuba Diving class – the Gulf of Papagayo is the perfect spot for beginners! Who doesn’t want to swim through an enormous school of fish, see a graceful eagle ray, watch an octopus flash its colors, or possibly even see a whale shark or 10,000 cow-nose rays on their very first dive?

Every dive site here is filled with enormous schools of fish, eagle rays, moray eels, octopus, and colorful juvenile fish. 

In short, diving in the Gulf of Papagayo is exciting for all levels of divers, with plenty of white-tip sharks, turtles, puffer fish, sea horses, frogfish, harlequin clown shrimp, nudibranchs, and dorids gracing the waters.

Macro photography is a favorite among divers visiting Argentine Point, Punta Gorda, Surprise, Bajo Tiburon, Monkey Head, and Virador, which are only a few of the dozens of dive sites in this area.

Dive in the Gulf of Papagayo and spot white tipped reef sharks.

Catalina Islands

The Catalina Islands are a cluster of volcanic rock formations emerging from the ocean’s depths that attracts adventurers with their rich marine life and stunning underwater scenery.

As you explore these Pacific waters, you’ll encounter diverse marine life. Every dive at the Catalina Islands gives you the chance to spot graceful sea turtles gliding through their aquatic home or the elusive octopus camouflaged inside rocky crevices.

Every part of this underwater world is home to a variety of marine species, making each dive an exciting exploration.

Find huge schools of fish and several species of rays in Catalina Islands, Costa Rica!

Bat Islands

Off the Northwest Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, within the boundaries of Santa Rosa National Park, you’ll find this diving destination that is both thrilling and unique: Isla Murciélago, commonly known to divers as Bat Island. This stunning region is a hub for some of the best land-based dives one can experience in the country.

Islas Murcielagos is renowned for its distinctive dive sites, most notably “The Big Scare,” a location frequented by a significant population of imposing bull sharks that inhabit its waters year-round. These majestic creatures, known for their sheer size and presence, offer advanced divers an opportunity to witness their magnificence up close.

With strong currents and depths plunging more than 120 feet, the dive sites around Bat Island are not for the faint of heart. Yet, for those seeking adventure and the thrill of diving in a location that is as challenging as it is rewarding, the Bat Islands are an excellent place to dive. 

Another land-based dive site you need to explore is Black Rock, a submerged, volcanic outcropping at Islas Murcielagos.

Black Rock is by far Costa Rica’s best land-based dive site. With strata of schooling jacks, pompano, snapper, spade fish, squadrons of eagle rays, and massive Canberra snapper, divers will find a spectacular array of marine life. Giant Pacific Mantas and elusive whale sharks have been known to grace this dive site, too.

The Bat Islands in Costa Rica are a unique bull shark diving spot in Central America!

Caño Island Biological Reserve

The Caño Island Biological Reserve is a scuba diver’s haven because it offers an underwater spectacle for both experienced divers and beginners.

With the Pacific Ocean’s prolific waters providing visibility ranging from 30-60 feet year-round, every dive at Caño Island offers a window into a vibrant marine world teeming with life. As you submerge, anticipate encounters with white-tip sharks or possibly even a bull or tiger shark.

Prepare to be overwhelmed as you navigate through huge schools of fish! The adventure begins before you dive, with the boat ride to the dive site often graced with playful spinner dolphins or majestic humpback whales.

Cano Island is one of the best dive sites in Costa Rica!

Cocos Islands

Consistently rated one of the top three dive destinations in the world. Accessible for divers only by liveaboard dive boats, this elite region lies in the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, more than 300 miles away from any trace of land. 

The secluded Cocos Islands are a mecca for seasoned divers seeking the thrill of the underwater unknown. It is simply mind-blowing diving and the dive trip of a lifetime. It is simply mind-blowing diving and the dive trip of a lifetime.

This remote island is a sanctuary for a parade of rare pelagic species, offering a front-row seat to the majestic dance of schooling hammerhead sharks, stacks of marble rays, whale sharks, Giant Pacific manta rays, Galapagos sharks, spotted eagle rays, and colorful Pacific Blue Jacks, among others.

The Cocos Island chain is a diver’s paradise, a protected haven for its marine residents. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Isla del Coco stands as a marine park dedicated to conservation. Unique in its geography, it boasts a lush tropical rainforest and prolific marine life, making it a jewel of biodiversity both above and below the water.

Cocos Island offers an unsurpassed, once-in-a-lifetime dive experience.

Tortuga Island

Isla Tortuga is a slice of paradise that offers snorkelers and scuba divers turquoise waters and the promise of underwater marvels. This little island is a canvas of vibrant hues, both above and below the surface, offering a visual feast for those eager to explore its aquatic treasures.

Tortuga is one of the few locations in Costa Rica where you will find a wreck to explore. Dive beneath the waves, and you’ll discover rock formations that serve as sanctuaries for white-tip sharks and schools of colored fish that dart through the water.

If you’re lucky, you might spot a stunning eagle ray during your dive, gracefully gliding through the water.

With its waters filled with life and its diverse dive sites, Isla Tortuga is the ideal spot for novice divers and snorkelers looking to get a taste of the underwater scene in Costa Rica.

Amazing marine life awaits you at Tortuga Island!

Explore These Diving Spots with Bill Beard’s Costa Rica

Ready to immerse yourself in the fascinating underwater world of Costa Rica?

With its vibrant coral reefs, vast schools of tropical fish, and the stealthy white tip reef sharks, Costa Rica offers a scuba diving adventure like no other.

To get all the magic beneath the waves, reach out to Bill Beard’s Costa Rica. With our expert guidance, you can embark on a scuba diving tour designed to showcase the deep blue’s breathtaking beauty and thrilling wonders.

With experienced guides leading the way and top-notch equipment at your disposal, you’re set for a diving expedition that will etch memories of Costa Rica’s underwater paradise in your mind forever.

Contact our team at Bill Beard’s Costa Rica now to book your next scuba diving in Costa Rica.

Dive close to whitetip reef sharks and manta rays in Costa Rica.


1. At what depth is most scuba diving done?

Most scuba diving is done at depths ranging from 60 to 80 feet (18 to 24 meters), where divers can explore and observe the incredibly prolific marine life. Diving at the Cocos Islands is likely to range from 60-100 feet, and divers often reach the recreational dive limit of 130 feet.

2. Do I need to bring my own equipment?

No, you don’t need to bring your own equipment if you book diving through Bill Beard’s Costa Rica. Just let us know if you need equipment and provide your height, weight, and shoe size, and we can make the arrangements for you.

Tanks, weights, belts, and snacks are included with your dives, and we offer dive centers throughout the country, well-maintained and reliable rental scuba equipment, including BCDs, regulators, wetsuits, masks, and fins to make sure you are set for your underwater adventure.

If you are taking the trip of a lifetime to the Cocos Islands, it is always best to have your own gear, and your dive computer is a must!

3. What other activities can I pair with scuba diving on my trip to Costa Rica?

You can pair your scuba diving expedition with other activities like white-water rafting, zip-lining through the treetop canopy, searching for sloths in the rainforest, trekking through one of Costa Rica’s protected national parks, or simply soaking up the sun on its pristine beaches.

For more information, you can contact our team at Bill Beard’s Costa Rica and start planning your best diving experience, paired with many other activities we can offer.