Caribbean Coast Diving
The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica provides excellent scuba diving opportunities just off the coast. The diving right in front of Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge is spectacular! The coral reefs are within swimming distance of the beach area and provide habitat for many species of colorful reef fish, lobsters, star fish and more.
A little north of Gandoca-Manzanillo, Cahuita National Park is another great place to dive and even has a shipwreck. The only problem is divers need permission from the park in order to dive there. This can be a difficult task to say the least.
Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula
Bat islands are a small group of islands approximately 30 miles off the coast of Santa Rosa National Park. Common sightings along the way include sea turtles, dolphins and whales at certain times of the year. The scuba diving is excellent most of the year with visibility in the 30 – 100 feet range depending on the tide and weather conditions. Common sightings include rays, sharks and schools of snapper, jacks and lady fish.
The Catalinas Islands are the most popular dive location off the Guanacaste coast. The islands are located just a few miles offshore making it an attractive dive spot to take advantage of a short boat ride. A visit to the islands usually yields sighting of sea turtles, various rays, sharks, barracudas and schools of reef fish. The islands are an archipelago of small rocky islets. Visibility is usually in the 18 – 75 feet range.
Just off the east coast of the southern Nicoya Peninsula is Tortuga Island. This is a very popular scuba diving location with rock reefs and some coral.
Central Pacific Diving
The Central Pacific coast offers little in terms of nearby scuba diving opportunities. It is worth noting that tours are available to Isla Tortuga and Cano Island from this area, though it does require a significant effort in transit to do so.
South Pacific and Osa Pensinsula Diving
Cano Island is located off of the Osa Peninsula. This is one of the best scuba diving locations in Costa Rica. Common sightings include sea turtles, dolphins and whales at certain times of the year. White tipped sharks are common in this area, as are large grouper, rays and much more.
Cocos Island is considered a world class diving destination. It takes a couple days by boat to reach the island, but the scuba diving is sensational.