Bat Islands & The Friendly Bull Sharks Of Costa Rica.
Islas Murcielagos known as The Bat Islands are located about 30 miles to the North of Playa del Coco, Costa Rica at the southern tip of Santa Rosa National Park. The boat ride itself is a great experience with the chance to see single and mating olive ridley turtles, marlin, humpback whales, orcas, mobula rays, and much more. You will see beaches and islands that are only accessible by boat. The big draw at The Bats is the bull shark and the dive site is known as “The Big Scare” even though in 45 years of diving there we have never had an unpleasant incident with the sharks as this is a cleaning station and the profuse marine life eliminates divers from the food chain.
The Bat Islands are a hot spot for advanced divers due to strong currents and upwellings. We do not anchor the boat at Bats and you must be able to perform your safety stop without lines or any aids. We usually go down to 60 or 70 feet, hang on the bottom and wait for the bull sharks to parade around. The water temperature stays around seventy to eighty degrees year round. The outside air temperature holds a steady 85-90 degrees year around. Water visibility can range from 30 to 100 feet depending on the tide, where you are diving and the currents that tend to be quite unpredictable. The waters are nutrient rich which will also create an attraction for the tremendous amounts of marine life which sometimes affects the visibility.
Visibility for the Bat Islands can vary from twenty feet to one hundred feet depending on the strong currents and the waves. You will be able to witness huge schools of fish especially snappers, lady fish, eagle rays, amber jacks, spade fish, etc. It’s not uncommon while you are on your safety stop to have a manta ray or sail fish cruise by. .
Divers familiar with this dive site know that the area “Big Scare” off the Bat Islands is the place for an adventure with many Bull Sharks. This area attracts a lot of marine life including manta rays, marlin, sail fish, and huge schools of fish such as lady fish, jacks, snapper, spade fish and many more but the bull sharks are the main attraction at this spot.
Surface Interval is at the ranger station inside the refuge that is one of the highlights of the trip. This is the only structure on the islands and the water inside the refuge is flat calm and gin clear. As you enter and boat is slowing down keep a lookout ahead for large wahoo that are so big they look like logs. This is a wonderful place to snorkel and if you swim back to the entrance there is a good change to see giant Pacific manta rays.
Black Rock: Usually the second dive is at a dive site called Black Rock. This dive site is a large pinnacle which is about a mile offshore of the mainland of Santa Rosa and comes straight up from 110 feet or so to reach just a few feet above the high tide mark like the tip of an iceberg only it is a volcanic rock formation pinnacle. We jump in with no air in our BCs and go down immediately to 25 or 30 feet and hang and wait for your buddies, regrouping before starting the dive. This pinnacle provides a home for seemingly endless schools of fish. Dropping in on one side of the rock, you will descend into swarms of fish which can fully engulf you. You will spend the whole dive to make a full 360 degree rotation of the pinnacle. At the end of the dive if you have air and time left it is nice to swim off into the blue water for your safety stop which can sometimes result in seeing completely different species and schools of gafftopsail pompano. This is a dive site which never disappoints!
Scuba divers from all over the world come to Costa Rica to dive the Pacific Ocean that includes the Bat Islands. The Bat islands are without a doubt, one of the most sought-after scuba dive locations in Costa Rica.
Considered a scuba diver’s paradise, the islands that make up the Bat Islands of Costa Rica are surrounded by pristine water that is often described as being a breathtaking indigo color. The islands, as well as the waters that surround them, are home to an abundant array of marine animals and birds. A trip to these islands, therefore, is unforgettable.
Once you understand the myriad marine species that call these waters home, you will understand exactly why divers from around the planet make it a point to put the Bat Islands on their list of must-see dive sites.
When to Dive the Bat Islands
You can scuba dive the Bat Islands all year long, thanks to the tropical climate on land and the warm water temperatures throughout every season of the year. In fact, the water temperature ranges from 70 to 80 degrees.
Visibility is also usually good throughout all the seasons of the year. It typically ranges anywhere from 25 to 75 feet, so you will certainly be able to see plenty of marine life clearly, and also grab a lot of photographs if you bring your underwater camera with you on your trip.
Just keep in mind that, on occasion, the currents may be strong. If you are planning to scuba dive the Bat Islands you should remember that the boat does not anchor. .
Nature lovers who want to get up close and personal with a variety of marine creatures will absolutely love scuba diving in the waters surrounding the Bat Islands. .
A variety of rays are also abundant in these waters, including manta rays, stingrays, bat rays, bulls eye rays, spotted rays, and mobula rays. It is not unusual to see schools of these incredible creatures gracefully swimming past you as you spend time in the water exploring the undersea world.
You may even find yourself looking up from the depths to see giant manta rays flying over you, with wingspans that range from 14 to 20 feet across.
Sublimely beautiful Costa Rica has something for everyone. The treats range from exciting adventure to leisurely relaxation, and everything in between. 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.
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The Friendly Bull Sharks Of Costa Rica