Best Dive Spots

Where should you dive in Costa Rica?

Land based dive resorts and liveaboards are both popular options in Costa Rica. Cocos island is ony  run from  liveaboards, however  divers can  explore Bat Islands and Catalina  Islands  from  both  land based operators and also  with  liveaboard  options.

North Pacific ( Guanacaste)

  • Gulf of Papagayo (Guanacaste/ Northern Pacific) -Over 20 dive sites on submerged pinnacle packed full of life within a 10 to 20-minute boat ride from  shore. It is common to see squadrons of eagle rays, schooling cow-nosed rays, horse-eyed jacks, snapper, grunts, and puffers. Schools of white-tipped reef sharks are often seen taking a siesta on the sandy bottom.
  • Catalina Island – This archipelago of 20 small island  is a cleaning station for pelagics and offers  some  great  diving with frequent encounters with stingrays, bat rays, devil rays, mobula rays,  eels, sea turtles. This dive spot offers a great opportunity to dive with Pacific Giant Mantas which can be seen there all year round; although the most common sightings lasts from November until April.
  • Bat Island – Commonly called “The Bats,” this world class dive site famous for high-voltage diving. A popular dive site is “Big Scare” where divers find themselves surrounded by six to a dozen large 8-12 ft Bull Sharks! Best time to visit Bats island is May to November when we have calmer seas to make the crossing.

South Pacific (Drake Bay)

  • Caño Island Biological Reserve | Osa Peninsula- This southern Pacific island off  the Osa  Peninsula is a protected marine park with  excellent  biodiversity. Dive spots are teeming with huge schools of grunts, snapper, king angelfish, and sergeant majors, sharks and rays. You will encounter pelagic  such as dolphins, humpback and pilot whales. . El Bajo del Diablo (or “Devil’s Rock”) just  a few kilometers off the island  is a well known  site with a huge rock pinnacle right below the surface.  This  site is  frequented  by Giant Manta  Rays and jumping Mobula ray

Cocos Island

  • Cocos Island – One of Costa Rica’s most well known dive spots.  Waters are buzzing with hammerhead sharks, white fin sharks, stingrays, dolphin, tuna, sailfish and 27 endemic fish  species. Scientists  measure Cocos concentration of  marine life  as  5 times  greater than the Caribbean Sea mostly attributed  to the  volcanic  pinicles  jetting  out from  deep  ocean waters. The sudden change in topography produces nutrient-rich upwellings  attracting numerous pelagic species. Sharks  are the stars of the show with appearances from  tiger sharks,  bull sharks, hammerheads, and white tipped  reef sharks  The best season for wildlife sightings is June to November when Hammerhead sharks, Whale sharks and Manta Rays are at their peak. The only drawback to  diving Cocos is getting there.  It takes about 36 hours by boat to cross the 400 miles to get to this diving paradise. There are  several  liveaboard options available  for trips to Coco Islands

Central Pacific

  • Manuel Antonio  Manuel Antonio is home to underwater volcanic formations  dotted  by caverns and caves at  sites  like Light House Rock, Isla Largo and Canyon Reef Expect to  see the usual players  such as  puffers, angel fish, eels, turtles, lobsters, octopus,   seahorse, sharks and more.
  • Herradura To the north of Manuel  Antonio is Herradura The best  time of  year to dive this area is  from December to May with better visibility  and frequent encounters with  the Giant Manta Ray that that visit nearby cleaning stations. Most  dive sites are  a quick 10  minute  boat  ride from  shore
  • Tortuga Island (Puntarenas)   is usually  a full day  with  a boat ride  typically  with  snorkelers  and other  day  trip beach goers. There are  a few  small shipwrecks nearby.   Frequent  inhabitants are  tropical fish and marine species, such as parrotfish, scorpion fish, , moray eels, angelfish turtles, and rays. After your dive  the trip usually  includes  a lazy afternoon  on  one of the nearby island  beaches.


  • Weather  can  be  much more unpredictable on  this side of the country making for  a bit more volatile conditions.  The Caribbean  side  is very  laid back and  diving is less developed.  This area has s a stretch  of  coral reef running  from Costa Rica  down to Panama with  colorful soft corals and small schools of  reef fish There  We recommend  visiting  in the drier months on the Caribbean  side of September and October.  Surrounding areas such as  Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge and Cahuita  National Park  boast shallow coral reefs, dolphins and sea turtles