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Best Places in Costa Rica for Scuba Diving 

Scuba divingOver the past two decades or so, people around the world have simply gone bonkers about scuba diving. This mode of underwater diving where the diver uses a self-contained breathing apparatus has quickly become one of the most demanded leisure time activity amongst newcomers, aficionados, and experts.

Scuba diving is considered both as a recreational and professional pursuit; it also has a number of applications for scientific study purposes, military, public safety, and commercial uses.

According to a recent report by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), more than 1.1% of the US population or 3.145 million Americans participate in scuba diving.

Furthermore, 57% of core participants are between the ages 25-54 years old, while 21.8% of core participants are older than 54 years of age. However, scuba diving can, at times, result in injury and divers face inconveniences due to inadequate physical fitness.

With that out of the way, let’s take a quick look at some of the best places that you can go for scuba diving in Costa Rica.

For safety purposes, I have mentioned the difficulty level along with each venue depending on popular reviews and endurance level requirements.

Cocos Island

Approximately 550km away from the mainland, the Isla del Coco is administered by Costa Rica. The entirety of the island has been a Costa Rican National Park since 1978, and as such there are no permanent inhabitants other than park rangers.

This island is an ideal spot of scuba divers, and amongst various venues, there are two that stand out the most.

·       Dirty Rock (for beginners)

Reputably the most beautiful dive set and also the most famous at Cocos Island, the Dirty Rock is where you can get to see schools of hammerhead and  Galapagos sharks along with green turtles and eagle rays. You will also encounter octopuses and large schools of fishes in this area.

·       Bajo Alcyone (for experts)

Another popular dive site at Cocos Island, the Bajo Alcyone is where you will find yellowfin tunas, marble rays, oceanic blacktip sharks, white tip reef sharks, silky sharks, hammerheads, and large schools of jacks. This site, however, is an underwater seamount and this means there can be strong currents which is why I recommend that you dive here only if you are a pro at scuba diving.

Cano Island

Located in the Bahia de Corcovado in Osa Costa Rica, Isla del Cano is a small island and is a protected as a national park under the Osa Conservation Area. It is undoubtedly a popular tourist destination for whale watching and ecotourism, making it an ideal spot for scuba divers.

·       Coral Gardens (for beginners)

Located some 40-minute boat ride from the island, the warm waters at Coral Gardens are abundant with marine life. If you are a beginner there are people around that can arrange for you a snorkeling activity as well. Some common species that you will encounter include sea turtles, crabs, lobsters, eels, manta rays, stingrays, humpback whales, octopus, and many more. Enjoy relaxed dives featuring a beautiful coral garden with profusions of hard coral.

·       El Bajo del Diablo (for versatile divers)

One of the local highlights at Cano Island is the Bajo del Diablo, where a formation of submerged mountains is able to attract an incredible variety of marine life. These can include various species of fish along with sharks, moray eels, jacks, snappers, barracuda, puffers, and the parrotfish. The dive site may present some visibility issues, and so it is recommended for experienced divers. Quick note: the name of the place translates to “The Devil’s Pinnacle”, thus you know that it is a high demanding dive site.

·       Shark Cave (for versatile divers)

Also known as Cueva Del Tiburon, the Shark Cave is an exciting dive spot that features a small cave that is home to sharks.

It is best that you not enter the cave and disturb the habitat of these carnivorous creatures. Other than sharks, you also get to see up to five different types of eels and other marine life such as damsels and the parrotfish.

·       El Bajo del Diablo Deep (for experts)

Now you may be wondering why I am repeating myself here. Actually, the thing is that El Bajo del Diablo Deep is considered a different dive site in its own right. This is where divers move further into the ocean where depths can range from 6-115 ft.

Advised only for advanced divers, this is the place where the big divers play. Due to stronger currents and deeper bottoms that can exceed depths of 80 feet, you are bound to encounter a plethora of predators as well as pelagic life dwelling in these waters.

Catalina Islands

A quick 25-30 minute boat ride from Playa Ocotal will take you to Catalina Island where the place is famous for Giant Mantas of the Pacific that frequently crowd the area throughout the year.

There are numerous dive sites all around the island and are indeed some of the best spots for scuba divers in Costa Rica.

·       Los Sombreros (for beginners)

One of the best sites for amateurs who can stay shallow if they need to, Los Sombreros offers easy access and therefore is a great choice for beginners. Apart from mantas divers can get to see eagle rays and many other marine creatures. You can reach this dive site from Playa Flamingo. At 30-45 feet towards the north, you will come across seahorses, harlequin shrimps, scorpionfish, lobsters, and other marine life.

·       El Clasico (for versatile divers)

If you want to have a go at watching white tip reef sharks at their favorite resting place, then the dive at El Clasico can offer you your fill. Regarded as an excellent dive spot by numerous divers at Rocket Frog Divers, dive times can be more than 50 minutes while temperatures remain bearable at 26 degree Celsius. However, visibility of not more than 5 meters mandates that experienced divers approach this site.

·       Roca Sucia (for experts)

The highlights for this place include white tip sharks, giant morays, and schools of various other fishes. Roca Sucia is a favorite dive site for talented scuba divers offering you depths of 30 meters.


However, some divers have reported visibility issues, and the bottom of the dive site is mostly volcanic. Diving is available all year round, and temperature can reach around 27 degrees Celsius. For some, this site may be a new discovery altogether.

·       Bat Islands (for experts)

A premier destination for scuba divers in all of Costa Rica, Bat Islands is also known as Isla Murcielago. Located in the far north of the Guanacaste off the coast of Santa Rosa National Park, this is where you are going to meet the bull sharks. Overall the entire site is overflowing with an abundance of marine life, and this makes it a diver’s heaven especially for those who are infatuated by the vary big and large bull sharks. You can reach this dive site through the Playa Ocotal.

Tortuga Island

Tortuga Island has an English name which is Turtle Island. It is also considered to be one of Costa Rica’s most pleasant, relaxing, and serene islands.

Thus Tortuga Island is quite popular for tourist offering various other attractions such as canopy tours and zip lines to spoil you rotten with all-round entertainment. The area also serves as a great spot for snorkeling and scuba diving activities, especially for those who love shipwrecks. While there are shallow sites for beginners for more advanced divers, there are deeper sites as well.

Gandoca Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge

Situated in one of the most stunningly good-looking expanses of Costa Rica, the Gandoca Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge is located nearby the Panama crossing border. A protected region for some plant life and wildlife that pose a vulnerability to complete disappearance as well as safeguarding the solitary orey and jolillo palm marshlands in Costa Rica is the wildlife region.

For divers, this is probably the most ultimate snorkeling and scuba diving site in the Caribbean coastline. There are numerous coral reefs and small islands that are visited by a huge number of dolphins, manatees, and sea turtles. Students who seek the best dissertation writing services should consider visiting this place once in a while to find relief from academic stress.

Cahuita National Park

Located on the southern Caribbean coast in the Limon Province, the Cahuita National Park is a marine and terrestrial national park protecting the beaches and lowlands. It is a popular tourism site and attracts various visitors looking for snorkeling and scuba diving activities. This place is a nesting ground for sea turtles and contains coralline reefs.

For the best visibility, you can visit this place during February and through April. There is a gigantic 600-acre reef that is known to inhabit more than 35 species of coral, over 140 species of molluscs, 123 species of fish, and around 44 species of crustaceans. Students who buy essay online can read all about this amazing place and plan their upcoming visits or field trips.


Having progressive environmental policies, Costa Rica meets all five UNDP criteria to measure. Costa Rica is the only country to meet these criteria that measures environmental sustainability. By 2019 more than 99.62% of its electricity is generated from green sources. The reason I am mentioning is this because as a place that is taking huge steps towards environmental protection, you as a tourist should also follow best practices whenever you chose to visit this amazing place.

With this message, I hope you would also help younger divers to experience the amazing scuba diving sites this place to offer. Together we can help in preserving this amazing venue overflowing with biodiversity for future generations to enjoy and enthral themselves.

Author Bio

Claudia Jeffrey currently works as a Content Strategist at Dissertation Assistance. This is where higher education students can acquire custom essay writing service from experts specializing in their field of study. She is an avid fan of nature-themed documentaries and loves to speculate on the marvels of the planet.

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