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Dive Review of Deep Blue Diving/Hotel Puerta del Sol in
Costa Rica/Gulf of Papagayo

September, 2011, an Instant Reader Report by Sandy Falen, KS, US
Sr. Contributor   (23 reports, with 3 Helpful votes)
Report Number 6232
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
All over the Caribbean, Central America, Venezuela, Palau, Kosrae, Tonga,
Fiji, Kauai
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
79   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 60    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  5 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Nothing fancy, but there was always a bucket available.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
3 stars
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
3 stars   
4 stars    
Diving in Costa Rica is a big departure from the Caribbean...  there is
almost no coral, and the visibility is considered excellent at 60 feet. 
But you adjust very quickly to the environment, because there is always a
lot to see:  huge schools of tropicals, eels everywhere, white tip sharks
daily, octopus, lobsters, and a veritable puffer fish farm.

The dive staff was fun, friendly, and always helpful.  They were great
about encouraging hydration, and post-dive snacks included some of the best
fresh pineapple I've ever eaten. 

The water was warm, at about 80 degrees, not counting the bone-chilling
thermoclines you encounter from time to time (just be patient, you'll swim
out of it).  I wore a 3 mil vest under my polypropylene suit, and was very
comfortable. Of course, this was September, and end of summer -- it's very
different in the spring.  

Deep Blue arranged my diving and hotel package, and it's incredibly
inexpensive, compared to most Caribbean destinations. Transport from the
Liberia airport was $35 each way (per vehicle), and it's less than 30
minutes travel time.  Hotel Puerta del Sol was perfect:  simple but lovely,
impeccably clean, with a roomy bathroom that had a large shower and plenty
of hot water, a small fridge, coffee maker, security safe, semi-private
veranda, a lovely pool area, and a pleasant breakfast daily. 

There are plenty of good restaurants in Playas del Coco, and pricing wasn't
unreasonable. Be sure to try Villa Italia...  it was a lovely oasis of
gracious dining and wonderful Italian food... and Citron, in a modern
shopping center on the main drag, was also delightful.  A two buck taxi
ride will get you just about anyplace in town.

Everyone happily accepts US currency, and the ATM in the Pacifico shopping
center dispenses both Dollars and Colones.

My friends and I spent our last day zip-lining and white water rafting, and
it was terrific.  Randall, owner of Shaman Tours, was our guide and escort.
 His English is perfect, and he was fun and extremely knowledgeable about
Costa Rican history and the environment.

The diving here is just a blast, and if you've never ventured beyond the
Caribbean, you're really missing something. For me, this was a return visit
after 15 years, and I was relieved to find the diving is still worth the
trip.  Playas del Coco has gotten more touristy, and areas border on tacky,
but overall, it's still a great little town, and pretty laid back. I flew
American's weekly nonstop from DFW to Liberia, but you can also get there
via Miami and Atlanta. Airfare wasn't cheap, but with the reasonable
pricing of the diving and accommodations, it's still a bargain trip. 
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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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