Three hundred miles—and a 36-hour boat ride—southwest of mainland Costa Rica, a lush volcanic island rears up improbably out of the Pacific Ocean. Cocos is at once a geological omaly, a stopover for big pelagics like sharks, rays, and whales, and a divine gift for recreational divers willing to make the schlep. “It’s the last place where one can always see big schools of large fish, including hammerhead sharks, whitetip sharks, and trevally,” says Enric Sala. Call or e mail Bill Beard’s for prices and sailing schedules
At the dive site Dos Amigos Grande, divers swim through an enormous underwater arch and see schools of hammerheads and mating eagle rays, or at Manuelita, a night dive might reveal hundreds of darting whitetip sharks. “It’s hard to find another place in the ocean with the same tons of large animals per hectare,” says Sala. “If it’s not a school of 200 hammerhead sharks, it is a bait ball attacked by Galápagos
Manuelita was particularly active this trip. Big schools of hammerheads were patrolling the reef and even though the cleaning stations themselves were slow, the sandy bottom of Manuelita and the blue waters were teeming with hammerheads. Aside from all the hammers, we also saw a whale shark, eagle rays, large schools of jacks, mullet snappers, rainbow runners and the occasional safety-stop dolphin. If tiger sharks are your thing, you’ll be happy to know that we were seeing them on just about every dive to Manuelita, Ulloa and Pajara. sharks, dolphins, and seabirds.”
Hammerheads were loving Alcyone and Dirty Rock this week and because of that so were all the divers! Just check out the video to see what all the excitement was about. Tiger sharks were also out and about this week and the best sites to see them proved to be Dos Amigos Grande, Manuelita and Silverado. Each encounter with these giant sharks is special but we were in for a special treat on one dive, as we observed a tiger going after a turtle (who hid for his life in a nearby cave).
Night dives were particularly good this week. On one night dive to Manuelita Coral Garden we were rewarded by yet another tiger shark encounter… spooky but thrilling.
Safety stops are often the best part of a Cocos Island dive and this week showed us exactly why… BAITBALLS! The first was at Dirty Rock and the other was at Alcyone.
Great action underwater and a terrific group of divers aboard Sea Hunter made this an unforgettable trip!
Cocos Island presents the same diving challenges as any other Pacific, Indian or Red Sea diving location. Cocos, however, is not recommended for inexperienced divers because it is an open ocean destination that requires advanced open water diving skills.
Please note, the minimum required level of certification to dive at Cocos is Open Water with the additional Specialties of Deep & Night Diver. We also recommend having a minimum of 25 hours of diving experience.
Most dives are at depths deeper than 60 feet / 18 meters. At Cocos currents and visibility can be entirely different in just a few hours. Please note, the dive guide will always be the final authority as to whether a passenger can do any specific dive.
Most of the action is at 60-90 feet /18-27 meters, and most dives are between 60-130 feet / 18-40 meters. The safety limit is set at 130 feet / 40 meters and a dive computer is necessary. Visibility averages 60-100ft/18-30m.
Average temperature is 79 F to 84 F (26 C to 29 C), although it can be a few degrees lower under the occasional thermocline.
All divers must bring proof of certification by a national certifying agency. The certification must allow the diver to dive to the recreational dive limit of 130 feet (40 meters). The Dive Master will request to see your certification before you are allowed to dive. If you are certified for Nitrox and rebreathers as well, then remember to also bring those certifications.
To increase safety and bottom time while maintaining safe non-decompression dives the use of Nitrox is recommended.
Please check directly with our office if you are bringing a rebreather with you. We can supply you with tanks, scrubber material and any further assistance you need, and can provide you with the costs of these items.
When all passengers are boarded, the vessel will take 32-36 hours to reach Cocos Island. Crossings are normally calm, but to prevent motion sickness we advise you to take the necessary precautions. At the conclusion of your trip, we will return to Puntarenas where a bus will be waiting to return you to your San Jose hotel.
Gear to Bring With You
You will need the following gear: 3-5 mm (1/8″ to 3/16″) wetsuit, mask, fins, snorkel, regulator with visible pressure gauge, a mandatory dive computer, buoyancy compensator, depth gauge, dive gloves, weight belt (without weights), dive light, and dive watch. It is recommended that you mark each piece of gear with waterproof paint or tape. We suggest you put all or most of the above items in a carry-on bag. There is ample storage space for your diving equipment, including your own personal locker.
Equipment Provided Onboard
We provide you with weights for your weight belt: 2, 3, 4, and 6 lbs. (1, 1.5, 2 and 3 kilos). We also provide you with air or Nitrox tanks — 80 cubic ft. aluminum (12 liters).
Please note, our tanks are standard yoke (INT), not DIN. Please notify our offices in advance if you need an adaptor.
Rental Equipment Onboard
You can rent a complete line of ScubaPro dive gear: BCD, regulator, wetsuit, mask, fins, snorkel, and Aladin Nitrox dive computers.
We have a limited supply of 15 Liter steel tanks. If you would like to rent one, make sure to reserve it well ahead of time.
Meals & Beverages
The menu aboard offers a delicious combination of American and local cuisine. Meals are varied and well balanced, and we also offer delicious snacks between dives. Food is abundant with plenty of fresh tropical fruit and salads and is served buffet style. Please let us know of any special dietary needs or requests, but try to be lenient, as storage and preparation space is limited.
Soft drinks: Free, Bottle of wine: $15 – $35.
Hard liquor is not available on board but our guests are welcome to bring their own, which should be purchased prior to boarding.
We recommend casual and cool cotton attire while on board. Nights can be chilly and/or drizzly so bringing a sweater, light jacket or windbreaker is recommended. In San Jose dress is slightly more conservative, like long jeans and collared shirts. For women, we recommend holding off wearing shorts and beach type clothing till you are aboard the vessel. We suggest packing in a soft duffel bag for easy luggage storage.
Visiting the Island
We will usually make one or two visits to the island itself during a trip.
The Undersea Hunter, Argo, and Sea Hunter crews consist of a unique combination of talents, offering the ultimate in service. The Undersea Hunter has a crew of seven, while the Sea Hunter and the Argo have a crew of eight. The dive masters, deck hands, and skiff drivers make sure you have the best possible diving adventure, while the chef and steward prepare delicious meals and take care of all your needs on board.
The vessels maintain constant radio contact in the event of any emergency. Your family and friends can contact our office at telephone: +506-2228-6535. We are happy to let family and friends know how you are when they call our office.
Our main office is open 8.00 – 17.00 Monday – Friday (except for national holidays). Outside of those hours our emergency contact number is +506-8813-5656.
Please understand, however, that you will be in a remote area and it is preferable that personal communications to the boat be limited to emergency use only. We also now keep a satellite phone on board, which costs $3.50 per minute.
Cocos Island is now equipped with a cellular phone tower, as well as a public phone. When in closer proximity to the Island at certain locations (assuming your cell phone works in Costa Rica), it is possible to use your cellular phone services, but keep in mind, it is still an international call.
The vessels have both 110 and 220 volts ac. The cabins have 110 volts ac only.
The vessels have standard US and European sockets (but not British style sockets).
There is a variety of nightly entertainment available on board: slide shows, DVDs, music, games and much more. Please feel free to bring along your favorites.
Since it is customary to tip crew members, many people ask us what tip amount is appropriate. This is a very personal decision, as tips are your way of expressing satisfaction. Generally the tip is given to the captain who distributes it equally amongst the crew. Please note that we do not dictate or include tips.
Medical Support On-board
We have a well-equipped first aid kit including oxygen on-board. You should bring anti-seasickness medicine and ear drops if you feel you will need them.
Please inform us and especially the dive guides if you are taking medication or suffer from allergies.
Safety Onboard the Undersea Hunter
Life rings are on located on either side of the boat, and life jackets for all passengers are located in the lockers on both sides of the sun deck. Fire extinguishers are located in the hallways leading to your cabins. The emergency exit from the aft passenger cabins are located through cabin 5.
Safety Onboard the Sea Hunter
Life rings are located on either side of the boat, and life jackets for all passengers are located in the lockers on both sides of the sun deck. Fire extinguishers are located in the hallways leading to your cabins. Emergency exit from the aft passenger cabins is possible through an overhead hatch above the doors of cabins 7 and 8. The emergency exit for the forward passenger area is through a door in cabin 4 and up the stairs in the engine room.
Safety Onboard the Argo
Life rings are located on the starboard side and sun deck. Life jackets for all passengers can be found on the upper sundeck at either side of the step ladder, as well as on the lower sundeck. Fire extinguishers are located in the hallways leading to your cabins. The emergency exit is located between cabins 5 and 6.
The nearest Re-compression Chamber is in the capital of Costa Rica, San Jose, about 36 hours sailing from Cocos, the implications of which are obvious
Smoking is strictly prohibited throughout the boat, each boat has a designated location on the sundeck if one wishes to smoke.
National Park Fee
$490 for the park fee on a regular 10-day Cocos Island trip
Please call Bill Beard’s for sailing dates, prices or any other information you need. We have pricing for individuals and groups. Ask about our incentive plan. We also offer mainland adventure tours throughout Costa Rica from Puntarenas where you meet your Cocos Island Boats. We can pick you up afterwards or drop you off before your trip. For pre & post Cocos Island tour from San Jose & the boat in Puntarenas: CLICK HERE
Sublimely beautiful Costa Rica has something for everyone. The treats range from exciting adventure to leisurely relaxation, and everything in between that we can add to your vacation package. Furthermore, tourists can sample the laid-back national lifestyle that ticos (the name the Costa Ricans call themselves) refer to as ‘Pura Vida’ – ‘pure life’: no stress, no hassle. All this, combined with unsurpassed natural beauty and a developed and accommodating tourist industry, makes Costa Rica a wonderful place to visit and vacation.
Our agents can set up the all inclusive or al a carte vacation package and itinerary you want throughout the country. There is no charge for our service and we’ll save you money and lots of time and you’ll get the vacation you want.
*We have a wonderful NEW DVD, it is 23 minutes: LEARN MORE
For pre & post Cocos Island tour from San Jose & the boat in Puntarenas: CLICK HERE
To see all the adventure tours that Bill Beard’s operates Throughout Costa Rica: CLICK HERE
For single, triple, quad or group rates, contact our agents.
Our Reservation Office Is Located In La Fortuna, Costa Rica In The Shadow Of Arenal Volcano, behind the Catholic Church, Near The World Famous Hot Springs.
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IMPORTANT NOTE – Please be advised that every reasonable effort has been made to keep all prices up to date and free of errors or omissions. Prices and policies from our vendors and the Costa Rican government are subject to change without notice. Invoices will be issued at the time of booking to confirm all final rates and offers.