Diving in Costa Rica

Diving in Costa Rica

 Add Costa Rica to your dive travel story! Costa Rica is widely recognized as one of the world’s most biodiverse nations. The small country is sandwiched between two oceans and is home to a number of ecosystems above and below the water. Costa Rica is fast becoming a hot spot scuba diving destination, particularly along its Pacific shores.

Best time to Dive in Costa Rica

Costa Rica  diving  is  available  year round  so when  asked when is the best time to  dive in Costa Rica,  Bill Beard always answers “Any time you can make it!”

Diving seasons are divided between  the rainy  “green” season  (May to November) and dry season (December to April) If we had to pick, our favorite time is  Costa Rica’s rainy season between May to November. Don’t be scared off as the rainy season, the mornings are usually sunny with some rain in the afternoons. Nutrient surges off the Pacific coast attract bull sharks to Bat Island from May to November and huge schools  of  fish and rays.

Water temperatures

Ocean temps with warm waters from 23C/73F to 29C/84F on average. Costa Rica experiences an influx of cooler water Dec to April, with averages from 20 C / 68F to 25C/76F. Seasonal air temperature along the coasts  ranges from  27°C/82°F in green  season and  up to 35°C/95°F in the hot dry summer months from  Dec to April.

Visibility

On average tends to be better  during  the warmer water months from June to November however  even  during those months divers can  experience a wide range of visibility  even  from  dive to dive  ranging from 30 m/100ft to 5m/15ft. Even with low visibility the water is nutrient rich with plankton which attracts tons of marine life and  huge  schools (universities!) of fish.  The reefs are volcanic rock pinnacles so don’t expect beautiful corals, but the abundance and multitude of colorful fish and marine life makes for  exciting and fun  diving.

Currents and Surge

The Dry season is known for winds that sweep  down from the north creating  choppier ocean surface, and  greater surge  presence. Green season (May-November) offers predominantly calmer ocean conditions. Most  sites are not generally visited by strong  current.  Cocos  islands is the exception and can  experience heavier currents and surges.

Whale Migrations

Divers  can  have  some “noisy” dives with  whale  chatter from August to November with frequent visits from the Southern Pacific humpbacks making their trek 1000’s of miles from Antarctica to mate/birth in the warm shallow waters off our coast. From January to March, there is another migration of humpback Whales from the North to escape the Arctic winter.

Where to Stay

Below are our recommended top diving locations. There are dive packages available from every budget. Most of the diving from the mainland is done from the Guanacaste area.  Divers can fly into LIR -Liberia airport and be at their hotel within 45 minutes. If you are diving Cano Island/Drake Bay or if you are doing a liveaboard to Isla de Cocos you will fly into the San Jose Airport

  • Playa de Coco, Hermosa, Ocotal and Panama
  • Playa Flamingo, Conchal
  • Tamarindo Beach
  • Drake Bay
  • Manuel Antonio/Uvita/Herradura
  • Isla de Coco –  Liveaboard packages only