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Dive Review of Deep Blue Diving Adventures/Coco Verde in
Costa Rica/Gulf of Papagayo

August, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Jack M. Bernstein, OH, USA
Reviewer   (4 reports)
Report Number 2773
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Caymans, Bonaire, Grand Turk, Key Largo, St. Lucia, Cozumel
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
82   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
25   to 75    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Mostly we dove with a divemaster. Nevertheless, we usually got tired before
we ran out of air. Depths were not that great.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  1 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
2 stars  
Shore Facilities  
The Lady Blue is a small boat. Nevertheless, Ollie, the owner/ divemaster,
was always accomodating about getting a bucket, albeit small, on the boat
for my Ikelite housed Canon 20D. Sometimes, we had to turn the camera over
to rinse the strobe, since the body and strobe didn't both fit in.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
2 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
4 stars    
We started off intending to stay at an RCI timeshare trade but we were
switched to another resort (with bad reviews) and cancelled those
accomodations. Deep Blue set us up at the Coco Verde, the hotel at which
they are based. The Coco Verde is a former Best Western which has seen
somewhat better days. The rooms are simple but housekeeping was attentive
and cable TV was available. The hotel is a base for sport fisherman, as
well, and noise from the street and bar frequently penetrated the thin
walls. Nevertheless, at $65/ night (including breakfast) for myself, my
wife and our 25 year old daughter, it was a good deal. We were
retrospectively much happier staying there than at the place we were
supposed to have gone to.

The town (El Coco) is predominantly a Costa Rican resort. There are MANY
good restaurants and we easily walked to most of them from our room. We had
no bad dinners. El Coco is safe although not that scenic. The beach is at
the end of the road and is a typical black sand Costa Rican beach. It is
not for sun bathing and you share it with dogs, which run free (but don't
bother you). We used it as access to the skip which took us out to our

It is useful if you have a 4 wheel drive car. We used it to get to Rincon
de la Vieja, a 'non-active' volacano about 75 minutes from El Coco over the
most abysmal road I've ever driven on. We also visited Guatil, a village
where everyone makes Chorotega pottery. We went overland (this means that
the roads were just pretty bad) to Tamarindo, a surfing town which has too
many Americans. Then back to El Coco on one track roads over mountains and
across rivers. My wife had her eyes closed for most of the ride. You'd
better be an adventurous driver to venture off the main roads in Costa

Diving was much better than we expected. Deep Blue
( a 6 pack operation of sorts and we never had
more than 6 divers on the boat. Lady Blue is an old boat but reasonably
well kept up. Entry was by back roll (me) or giant stride (my wife and
daughter). In addition to Ollie, we also had James (a divemaster and
instructor who had just arrived 3 weeks earlier from the Philippines) and
Isaac (first mate, I guess, but always very helpful in getting your gear on
and off and making sure that everyting was working). On a trip to the
Catalina Islands, Lenin (not Vladimir Ilyich, but a Costa Rican boat
captain) piloted the boat. Everyone was solicitous and helpful. Service was
as good as we got at Ocean Frontiers in Grand Cayman. Snacks were plentiful
and included cookies, fresh Pina (pineapple)and salsa and chips. On our 3
tank dive to the Catalinas, Ollie and the crew hand prepared sandwiches.

And now for what we saw. To give some perspective, I like to take
underwater photos with my enclosed camera. While diving the previous week
at Grand Cayman, there were several dives where I had nothing to take
pictures of.  Here, as my first pacific dive site, I saw tons of things I
never saw before. Puffers and porcupine fish were everywhere. Many
different types of puffers. An orange Seahorse. Octopus hiding in rocks on
most dives. White tip reef sharks on many of the dives. A green turtle.
Tons of King Angels.  Everywhere. Moorish Idols. Very colorful groupers
with more vibrant colors than I was used to. And the Devil Rays.... We had
an 'Oh my G_d' moment on our first dive in the Catalinas. We got down to
roughly 50-60 feet, heading down to 80-100. And looked up. There was a
flight of Devil Rays about 40-50 feet above us. Think WW II bomber
squadron. 100-200 rays, but who is counting. And then a second squadron. It
was unbelievable. And the starfish strewn across the ocean floor like a
carpet. My wife rushed over to me to show me one.  And then there was
another. And another....

There are many dive sites out of El Coco. The close in sites tend to have
varying visibility. I never felt completely blind and things like stingrays
and sharks came out of the mist. When we went further out, we saw Eagle
Rays (quite a few) and huge schools of grunts. The Catalinas were as
described. We never went to the Bat Islands. On my last dive, there were
only myself and two 'Discover Scuba' divers on the boat. Franzi, Ollie's
wife and co-owner, came on as my dive-buddy pointing out 'macro critters'
as I dedicated the last dive to little things. Very accomodating. Great

We also tacked on an Advanced Open Water course for $70 each; we all had
the experience but not the 'certification'. Good training from James and
'such a deal'.

For surface entertainement, we saw one humpback and calf. Dolphins
frequently followed our boat, entertainingly jumping behind it. And for
minimalistically pruriant interest, two green turtles mating on the surface
by our boat, with a second male trying to get in on the action.

To summarize, in comparison to the Caymans, the visibility was lower and
the topography was less interesting (no coral), but the quantity and
variety of fish were amazing. We will go back. 
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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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