Bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea in the heart of Central America, Costa Rica is a prime ecotourism destination and boasts some of the world’s most biologically diverse habitats—including rainforest, volcano and mangrove ecosystems. While the Caribbean coast has yet to develop a serious scuba diving infrastructure, diving off the Pacific Coast has become extremely popular. The underwater volcanic rock formations and pinnacles are home to small hard corals, sponges and gorgonians.
Guanacaste, the giant bay off the northwest coast, provides access to Las Catalinas, Playa Coco and Bat Islands which are key dive areas. One of the big draws to this area is the likelihood of seeing giant manta rays over the winter months. The southern area is a protected biological reserve and offers the chance to see rays, turtles, and white-yip reef sharks. Plus, you’ll see large schools of fish swimming overhead on almost every dive. You can also get out to Cocos Island off the Pacific coast to dive with its hammerhead shark schools, whale sharks and manta rays. This requires some serious commitment as you need to get onto a live-aboard to make this happen and dig deep into those pockets.
Catalinas Islands – The unique underwater structure is what draws divers to these islands. The area boasts huge volcanic rock formations within everybody’s recreational limits, with the opportunity to see white-tip reef sharks, devil rays, eagle rays and seasonally the giant manta Ray and humpback whale. In between those treats, the rommon Latin grunts and big eye jacks will surround you. Bat Islands – What better way to get your heart racing then by diving with bull sharks? You’ll also have the chance to spot other large pelagics like manta rays, sailfish and the occasional whale or dolphin. This dive site drops to more than 30 meters/100 feet and can have a strong current. It is best suited for advanced divers.