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Dive Review of Aquacenter/Paradisus Playa Conchal in
Costa Rica/Guanacaste

Aquacenter/Paradisus Playa Conchal, Jul, 2008,

by Craig Grube, VA, USA (Contributor Contributor 18 reports). Report 4216.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Tahiti, Fla.Keys, Turks & Caicos, Cozumel, Hawaii, Little Cayman
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, cloudy Seas calm, surge
Water Temp 78 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 30 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions 40 minutes within sight of DM.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 1 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Fresh water hose, rinse tank and plenty of space on boat. Viz makes the photo opportunities a bit challenging.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments We did 4 days of 2-tank diving with Aquacenter, located in Flamingo. We stayed at the Paradisus resort in Playa Conchal and were picked up everyday by the owner Eduardo, he will even pick you up if you are staying down in Tamarindo. Eduardo runs a tight operation and picked us up right at 7:15 and we were generally in the boat heading out toward the Catalina Islands by 7:45. After the two 40 minute dives, the surface interval and the return trip, we were usually back at the hotel about 11:30AM. Aquacenter has several boats based on divers, we were on the larger twin hull twice when there were 9 divers and twice on about a 40 Newton when we had less. Needless to say there was ample room. We were taken to the various rock islands out by and including the 2 big Catalinas. The DMs give a solid briefing and help you in and out of the water. There is a rinse tank for cameras and a fresh water hose. There is a cooler with a variety of juices and fresh cut pineapple. Boat rides were in the 20-25 minute range. Dives are limited to 40 minutes or, if you gulp air, down to 800 psi. Due to the viz, you dive with the DM and they will have 4-5 divers per DM and you split up into two groups that dont cross paths until you are back on the boat. The viz was between 30-60 depending on the day and the site. Water temp was 82 at depth so didnt need wet suit. If you tend to get cold a shorty or 2-3 mil would be plenty.

The marine life was amazing, with white tip and black tip sharks, twice saw huge mantas, and numerous morays on every dive. Once we saw two green eels out in the open water fighting each other. There are large schools of fish on every dive, including a massive wall of spade fish on one outing. One dive we counted 15-20 spotted eagle rays, including one school of 7. Wide variety of puffers, tons of king angel fish, lobsters, occasional scorpion fish, turtles, and seahorses. We will definitely return and dive with Aquacenter.

The Paradisus is an all inclusive resort(about 1 hour from the Liberia airport) and our family was very pleased with the rooms, food, pool, customer service, location, etc. We also did a variety of land based tours that we found fun. The Costa Rican people are very friendly. The main roads are well paved (side and back roads are rocky, mud and potholes) but watch out for roaming cattle.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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