Scuba Diving Costa Rica
Including the Cocos Islands
Diving Costa Rica articles, reviews, and reports from Undercurrent
Diving Costa Rica Overview
Costa Rica is famous among experienced divers for the big animal action off uninhabited Cocos Island, 300 miles offshore. Here are challenging, high-tension dives among hammerheads, mantas, occasional whale sharks, and other awe-inspiring creatures. Land-based dive operations fi nd a few big animals. However, they're unpredictable and the visibility is often so low you'll miss them, yet many divers like the diving. Costa Rica has great tourist destinations, is exceptionably safe.
Costa Rica Seasonal Dive Planner
Our suggestions for the dive season on the Pacific coast (the only decent diving in Costa Rica) may seem odd. The
best time to go is the rainy season (May through November), even though runoff can affect the water visibility.
The water clarity may be better during the dry season, but the wind blows up enough to make it almost impossible
to get out to the best dive sites, which are small islands or rock outcroppings an hour's boat ride from the mainland.
Visibility is a crap-shoot any time of the year, but even more so during the rainy season. However, even during
the wet months there is a slight chance that offshore sites can reach almost 100 foot vis, although less than forty
is more common. The best scheduling would probably be May, when the wind has died down and the rain hasn't started
yet. Water temperatures run between 75° and 85° year-round.
Cocos Island, three hundred miles off Costa Rica's shore, has a rainy season from June through
December. Some records show that the sharks are seen more often during this rainy season. Diving is year-round,
but some of the boats are pulled out of service from mid-September to October for repairs, indicating that this
is probably not the best time to dive Cocos. Also, sharks go deep in El Niño years, so these years are not
a good time to see big creatures.
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Diving Costa Rica Feature Articles and Reader Reports
For Undercurrent Online Members
Costa Rica Dive Reviews
from our Instant Reader Reports
All Availble to Undercurrent Online
Members; Some Publicly Available as Indicated
Diving Costa Rica Articles - Land Based
|Turks & Caicos, Grand Cayman, Costa Rica, plus advice about Mabul diving and your passport pages, 10/11|
Available to the Public
|Thumbs Down, Ocotal Beach Resort, 6/03|
|Diving From Costa Rica's Mainland, hit or miss magic on the Bat and Catalina Islands, 10/99|
|La Paloma, Costa Rica, 4/96||
Diving Costa Rica Articles - Liveaboards
|Costa Rica’s Shark Finning: Is the Government in Cahoots?, 11/12|
|Thailand, Cocos, Hawaii, Maldives..., Thai tech dives, an easy wreck dive and El Niño’s ups and downs, 8/10|
Available to the Public
|Thumbs Up, 10/09|
|MV Sea Hunter, Cocos and Malpelo Islands, bad weather, strong currents and low viz make sharks harder to spot, 9/09|
|Anatomy of a Dive Lawsuit, the family of a dead diver sues the Aggressor Fleet, 9/09|
|The Shark Hunt Continues at Cocos Island, poachers hack off the fins, rangers lack resources to stop them, 3/09|
|Malpelo and Cocos Islands, East Pacific, where the wild things are, 1/04|
|More Boats, 5/98|
|Okeanos Aggressor at Cocos I., 4/94|
Costa Rica Dive Reviews
from our Travelin' Divers' Chapbooks
Editor's Book Picks for Scuba Diving Costa Rica
Including the Cocos Islands
The books below are my favorites about diving in this part of the
world All books are available at a significant discount from Amazon.com;
just follow the links. -- BD
Beneath Cold Seas: The Underwater Wilderness of the Pacific Northwest
by David Hall
It's hard enough to take a first-rate photo of reef life in the best of conditions. Try doing it in murky, bone-numbingly cold water while wearing a dry suit with 40-plus pounds of weights around your waist, and thick, insulating gloves that make it hard to use the camera controls. That's what David Hall had to endure while photographing in Canadian waters, but those physical disadvantages make Beneath Cold Seas all the more amazing.
Hall's book successfully disputes the belief that cold-water reefs are drab and dismal. He has regularly photographed the world's most beautiful dive spots for major magazines from National Geographic to Time. While Hall's shots are taken entirely at Browning Passage in British Columbia, the reef life he shoots resides along the Pacific Coast, from Northern California up to Alaska, and they are as diverse and spectacular as any creature in Raja Ampat or Fiji.
Click here to buy it at Amazon via our website -- our profits go to save the reefs.
Reef Fish Identification: Baja to Panama
by Paul Humann and Ned Deloach
The latest edition in the popular Paul Humann series of marine life books. The most comprehensive field guide ever compiled for identifying reef fishes from the Gulf of California to the Pacific coast of Panama, including offshore islands. More than 500 photographs of 400 species taken in their natural habitat. The book is dedicated to Baja Legend Alex Kerstitch and includes several of his drawings and photographs. The concise text accompanying each species portrait includes the fish’s common, scientific and family names, size range, description, visually distinctive features, preferred habitat, typical behavior, depth range, and geographical distribution.
Illustrated/Hardcover. 364 pages, Amazon.com price: $27.17.
The Devil's Teeth: a true story of Obsession and Survival among America's Great White Sharks:
by Susan Casey
Perhaps the greatest gathering of great white sharks in the world is at the Farallon islands, 26 miles from San Francisco. Researchers have tracked and studied them for years and at least one diver still collects sea urchins in the midst of their gatherings. Journalist Susan Casey lived on these barren islands to write a fascinating, awe-struck account of the sharks, their amazing behavior, their killing strategies, their long distance travels, and life with the researchers. Click on this Undercurrent link to purchase the 304-page, hardbound, The Devil's Teeth at Amazon.com's best price, and all our proceeds will go to coral reef conservation.
American Underwater Odyssey: 50 Dives in 50 States
Underwater Odyssey is the story of a scuba diving
safari to every state in America. Tired of touring coral reefs, the author embarks
on a year-long quest to discover the incredible assortment of adventure diving
found in our nation's backyard. His dogged determination to follow his dreams
and explore everything from flooded missile sites to abandoned mines should be
an inspiration for any diver. Underwater Odyssey transcends the limits
of a dive guide to reveal the broader adventure that diving provides.
through us, get Amazon.coms best price and some of the profit will be donated
to preserve coral reefs.
There's a Cockroach in My Regulator
The Best of Undercurrent: Bizarre and Brilliant True Diving Tales from Thirty Years of Undercurrent.
Shipping now is our brand new, 240-page book filled with the best of the unusual, the entertaining, and the jaw dropping stories Undercurrent has published. They’re true, often unbelievable, and always fascinating. We’re offering it to you now for the special price of just $14.95.
Click here to order.
You might find some other books of interest in our Editor's
Book Picks section.