As more and more divers discover Costa Rica’s incredible marine diversity, scuba diving is rapidly becoming one of the country’s central attractions. Warm waters, decent visibility and vast quantity of big game fish make it the perfect vacation destination for scuba diving.
Islas Murcielagos, also known as the Bat Islands, is a part of Santa Rosa National Park – conveniently located just an hour and a half north of Playa del Coco. When visibility is good and timing is right (May through November) you can find schools of bull sharks, giant manta rays, sea turtles, zebra eels and even the occasional whale shark. Although currents can be challenging at times, this is by far one of the greatest scuba diving locales in the country. It is second only to Cocos Island, the number one shark diving destination in the world, which is situated 340 miles offshore.
The Guanacastecan town of Playa del Coco and its southern neighbor, the Islas Catlinas (also known as the Catalina Islands), also offer wonderful diving. Here, impressive schools of spotted eagle rays, white tip reef sharks and jacks are commonly sighted. Although “viz” in these temperate waters is often nothing to write home about, the creatures inhabiting them are positively unforgettable. Vast schools of rays migrate through the Catalina Islands January through March.
Isla del Cano in the Osa Peninsula also offers fantastic diving, with crystal clear visibility year round. Spinner dolphins, turtles and whales migrate through these waters at different times throughout the year. Scuba diving Herradura Bay and Isla Tortuga toward the Central Pacific are great places to spot big rays, graceful sailfish and enormous marlin.
Lastly, divers shouldn’t forget about Costa Rica’s eastern destinations. What the Carribbean coast lacks in large creatures, it makes up for in great visibility and an abundance of coral. In fact, Cahuita is home to Costa Rica’s only live reef. Divers can spend hours admiring the area’s many colors and formations, along with the various anemones, nudibranchs and fish species.