Diving the Pacific waters in the Gulf of Papagayo is anything but your “average” diving. There is an enormous amount of fish activity to be found among the volcanic rock islets and undersea pinnacles off this coastline. Familiar Caribbean fish species mingle with Pacific Coast and Tropical Pacific varieties unique to the area. The cooler nutrient-rich waters attract enormous schools of fish. Big animal encounters with large pelagics – giant Manta Rays, Eagle Rays and Bull Rays, several species of Sharks and Turtles and Whale Sharks are considered routine.
Anyone who been diving in these waters would agree that the immense quantity of marine life more than outweighs the lower visibility encountered in the area, which is known for unpredictable currents and upwelling that can cause a five degrees shift in temperature in a matter of feet, as well as the ever-fascinating thermoclines on the deeper dives. In addition to more local dive sites, day trips to the Catalina and Bat Islands offer divers some extra-ordinary adventures. This is exciting diving. No matter your degree of diving proficiency when you arrive, it will be better when you leave.
The Catalina Islands are a rocky outcrop off the coastline where from November through May of most years, Manta Rays swarm to “primp” at cleaning stations in preparation for mating season. Joining them are any number of Stingrays, Barracuda, Whitetip and 6 to 7 foot Bull Sharks and a wide variety of Moray Eels. And that is just the big stuff! The islands are also home to a variety of schooling tropical Pacific and Caribbean reef fish. The average dive is 60 to 80 feet and visibility is usually 50 to 70 feet. Our fast boats make the run to Cats in 15 to 20 minutes.
Dive Report – Aquacenter Diving – Flamingo, Costa Rica
Marine Report – Dec/2015 – Jan/2016.
The last few weeks we have had only good conditions and great weather. Hardly any wind at the beginning of the month, lately a couple of windy days. The diving has been great and the snorkeling too. Visibility has been pretty steady around the 60 or 70+ ft., which is unusual for this time of the year…no complaints! It’s usually around 50 and water temperature is currently hovering between 28-30oC/82-86F. Thank you el Nino.
Mantas are not here yet although mid-December we spotted a couple of them. With the winds picking up the temperature should begin to drop pretty soon. Yes, better conditions for them to be around. We´ll see.
Cup Cakes and Four Rocks have delivered great dives. White tip sharks and plenty of spotted eagle rays have been cruising by. Green jacks, green and jewel morays, cornet fish, trumpet fish, scrawled file fish, rainbow runner, fine spotted morays, and nudibranchs.
At Elephant, White tips, devil rays, eagle rays, round stingrays, yellow fin surgeon, spotted grunts, trumpet, surgeon fish, king angels, barber fish, cornet fish, creole fish, puffers, green morays, and octopus.
Sombreros with their typical marine life, plenty of yellow head Lisas, lesser devil rays, spade fish, milkfish – Sabalotes, creole fish, parrot fish, green and spotted moray eels, sea chubs, goatfish, and puffers. Not to forget the usual couple of White tips and baby white tips under the ledge of the west side.
Classic has not given us mantas yet but has had great numbers of lesser Devil rays. They have really put on the show lately. Of course, white tip sharks, turtles, eagle rays, hundreds of big eye jacks, grunts, rainbow runners, puffers, and green moray eels.
And Dirty Rock, with fish, fish and more fish. Surgeons, sergeant fish, Cortez angelfish, King angelfish, barberfish, creole fish, jacks, and of course, all over the usual schools of grunts.
The Bat Islands (Islas Murciélagos) is the most exciting place for advanced divers in mainland Costa Rica. One of the highlights are the face to face encounters with massive bull-sharks, some over 12 feet in length . Located around 30 miles north-west from Playa Ocotal, at the most outward west-tip of the Santa Rosa National Park. We dive Bat Islands year around. With our boats it is 40 minutes to get there. These dive sites are advanced due to surge, stronger currents and rougher surface conditions. The Bat Islands are non anchored and deep dives. Divers need to be able to make a quick descent and make the safety stop without a line. Maximum depths varies from site to site ranging from 60 ft to 105 ft.. Average visibility is 40 to 60 feet. All of our dive guides are computerized to maximize your bottom time.
If you are ready for the thrill and adrenaline rush of some of the hottest diving in Central America, and are searching for new pathways into the world of underwater adventure, you owe it to yourself to dive Costa Rica with Bill Beard’s
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