Tag Archives: Costa Rica Adventure Vacation

13 Best Places in Costa Rica for Scuba Diving

Over 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.

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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

Costa Rica scuba divingApproximately 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)

Costa Rica 'dirty rock'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)

Bajo Alcyone Costa RicaAnother 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.

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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.

Cano Island Costa Rica·  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)

Shark cave - Costa RicaAlso 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Cahuita National Park

Cahuita National ParkLocated 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.

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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.


Discover Turrialba: Costa Rica’s Prime Adventure Vacation Destination

One of Costa Rica’s most underrated travel destinations, Turrialba is a sensational spot for an adrenaline-filled adventure vacation destination. Nestled in the province of Cartago in the country’s central highlands and traversed by two spectacular rivers – the Reventazon and the Pacuare – Turrialba is the country’s #1 hub for white-water rafting expeditions. It is from here that we run some of our most sensational and popular adventure vacations in Costa Rica and we couldn’t think of a better and more rewarding destinations for unforgettable outdoor adventures.

Why Turrialba?

Although way off the common tourist trail and certainly not featured in most travel brochures, Turrialba is well-known among dedicated circles, its striking active volcano, pristine rainforests, gorgeous countryside and quaint villages attracting adventure-seekers who crave a unique journey in Costa Rica, one that isn’t overcrowded, over-commercialised and overdone. Once upon a time, Turrialba was a popular stop-over point for those seeking to reach the Caribbean Coast from the capital, San Jose, but since the opening of a more direct route, the charming town is now back to what it once was: a chilled out little place coveted for its amazing cheese and for its smorgasbord of exceptional outdoor adventures, including mountain biking, horseback riding, zip-lining and, of course, anything that can be done on raging rivers like kayaking and rappelling.

Thanks to its incredibly fertile soil, the region around Turrialba is heavily reliant on its agricultural roots and here you’ll find some of Costa Rica’s best artisan cheese, coffee, nuts and fresh produce, much of it which feeds the rest of the country. The rural landscapes are picturesque and the towns here are quaint, with impressive archaeological sights offering alternatives on ‘rest’ days. Even if you’re not an adrenalin-junkie, we bet you’ll love Turrialba and its abundance of soft adventure options like foodie tours, leisurely horseback rides in the countryside and gentle hikes.

There’s a lot to see and do in Turrialba, so why not get off the usual tourist trail and come see what this hidden corner of Costs Rica has to offer?

Cartago Town

Just 12 miles east of San Jose and a perfect first-stop on your way to Turrialba, the city of Cartago is the capital of the region and revered for being home to a sacred statue of the Madonna and for being the first truly successful city to be established in Costa Rica by the Spanish. Cartago carries over five centuries of history on its shoulders and was the country’s original capital before the seat of the government was moved to San Jose in 1823, a spot deemed to be safer – due to nearby volcanoes. Nowadays, Cartago attracts locals and tourists alike on Sundays as it hosts one of the most colourful markets in the region but the city really is a very rewarding place to explore at any time. The Basilica is a visual feast bar none and the city’s Botanic Gardens, home of Central America’s largest collection of orchids, is an absolutely gorgeous place to visit. Cartago is the springboard for visits to nearby national parks, including Irazu and Poas.

Orosi Valley

Heading east, you’ll come across the Orosi Valley, a place so beautiful you’ll want to plan for an overnight stay. The small town of Orosi boasts the oldest church in the country yet aside from the architectural delights, you’ll find the valley to be a spectacular visual feast. Plenty of viewpoints along the road offer 1001 reasons to stop and snap a photo. You’ll find quite a few hotels here to stretch your road trip an extra night.

Turrialba Town

Immensely charming and devoid of gargantuan resorts and hotels, Turrialba is one of the most laid-back towns in Costa Rica, one that has magically dodged the kind of over-development seen in the east. The town attracts adventure seekers thanks to its convenient location: nearby is where you’ll find almost two-dozen canyons that are a thrill-seeker’s ultimate playground. A handful of boutique hotels, some really cool cafés, fantastic restaurants and craft shops make for blissful stays and it is really no surprise that this precious spot is the heart and soul of our operation. There’s simply no other place we’d rather get totally drenched!

Turrialba Volcano National Park

One of the most captivating yet least-visited national parks in all of Costa Rica, Turrialba is an absolute gem of Mother Nature with an active volcano as its glistening crown jewel. The peak sits at just over 10,000ft, granting breath-taking views of Poas and Irazu peaks, as well as the Atlantic Coast, on a crystal-clear day. When the park is open (bar any threatening volcanic activity) you’ll find three craters to visit among almost 4000 acres of pristine forests. A series of hiking trails and plenty of wildlife make this a stunning destination for nature lovers. Do note that as one of the country’s most active volcanoes, Turrialba is often closed to the public for an extended period yet there are plenty of spots (and beautiful lodges) that offer awesome views and rewarding hikes nearby.

Guayabo Archaeological Site & National Park

Just a few miles out of Turrialba Town is where you’ll find the Guayabo National Monument, Costa Rica’s largest and most important ancient site. This fascinating indigenous citadel was built over a period of 2500 years (starting from 1000BC) and was as complete a city as any you’d see of the era, including aqueducts, private dwellings, religious buildings and walls, all intricately carved and once brimming with priceless artefacts. An engineering feat for its time and still an impressive place nowadays, Guayabo has been recognised for its prominence and advanced design and a walking tour of the site is a real journey back in time. Archaeological digging here is still ongoing and history lovers ought to check out the Museum of Jade and Gold in San Jose, before heading up here, where many of the treasures found at Guayabo are on display. The citadel is in the heart of a stunning national park and the whole landscape is evocative beyond words. Tae a guide to get the most out of your visit as the information boars are limited. There’s so much to learn about this place!

Costa Rica Rios – We love sharing our corner of Costa Rica paradise with discerning explorers who want to get off the well-trodden trail and have the adventure of a lifetime in one of the most magnificent places on earth. Fancy a week of exceptional adventures, including rafting, kayaking, mountain biking, horse-riding, rappelling and hiking? Then Turrialba is where you’ll want to be! Take a look at our Costa Rica Adventure Vacation packages, you’ll get a titillating taste of all the amazing adventures you can have here with us.

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Hot Surfing Spots in Costa Rica

try surfing on your costa rica honeymoonIf you dream of surfing in Costa Rica, you’ve probably heard that there are at least 1,000 surf-able breaks and beautiful beaches here. The culture is very accepting of surfers, and you’ll find a number of shops near our busiest beaches. The best surfing spots in Costa Rica are legendary, but there’s a great mix of lesser known beach breaks that can give you an unforgettably great ride. While it was hard to pick out just a handful of favorite surfing destinations, we’ve highlighted a few hot spots located around Tamarindo, Puerto Viejo and Pavones that are well worth mentioning.


One of the most appreciated surfing spots in Costa Rica is Tamarindo. Located on the northern end of the Pacific Coast, there are several breaks to surf in the area. If you want to experience as many surfing spots as you can find close together, Tamarindo could be the place to start your quest. Witch’s Rock and Ollie’s Point are among the favorites, and both are accessible only by boat. If you saw the movie “The Endless Summer II,” you already know about Ollie’s Point.

  • Witch’s Rock is a two-mile stretch that’s best at high tide. Be prepared for some steep waves. It’s considered one of Costa Rica’s best places to surf, so it gets crowded on occasion.
  • Ollie’s Point is a year-round surfing destination that is loaded with hollow waves. If you’re looking for a place to surf when the tide is going out and the swells are southwest, try this one.

Puerto Viejo

Puerto Viejo is located on the southern Caribbean Coast. It’s not as busy as Tamarindo. There are a few surfing spots close to each other that give you a great experience, but it can be inconsistent, depending on the time of year you visit.costa rica honeymoons and family vacations are a great time to try surfing

  • The waves at Puerto Viejo, sometimes called Salsa Brava for its powerful big tubes, build from deep water and break on a shallow reef. Bring your A-game. An easterly swell produces the best surfing conditions.
  • Black Beach is a year-round surfing destination with best results from a southern or easterly swell. If you’re looking for something less crowded, put this one on your list – especially if you’re an early riser who likes good waves before breakfast.


Pavones is among the legendary surfing destinations in Costa Rica. Located on the South Pacific Coast, this small town enjoys a big reputation. Pavones is a popular destination for the avid surfer. If it’s too crowded or not a great day for swells, consider nearby Punta Banco.

  • Pavones offers about three-quarters of a mile of left, and it’s considered one of the longest in the world. It has fast waves with good shape. It can be inconsistent and small at times, but when it’s on, it’s on.
  • Located about two-and-a-half miles south of Pavones, Punta Banco has a reef break and generally a smaller crowd. It’s a good choice at middle to high tide when there’s a western or southern swell. It can be a little hard to paddle into at times, which is why it’s less crowded than Pavones.

family surf lessons in costa rica If you love to surf, Costa Rica holds an adventure for you. There are many surfing hot spots with different types of breaks, from big waves to short and strong ones. When you’re ready to book a scenic surfing vacation in Costa Rica, contact Costa Rica Rios. We’ll help you build your own vacation, finding the best breaks for your skill level and plan some great accommodations for your stay.