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

Deep Blue Diving/Hotel Puerta del Sol, Sep, 2011,

by Sandy Falen, KS, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 24 reports with 4 Helpful votes). Report 6232.

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

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 79 to 80 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 40 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals N/A 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 N/A
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Nothing fancy, but there was always a bucket available.

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 3 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments 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. www.shamantourscostarica.com

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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