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Dive Review of Argo in
Costa Rica

Argo: "Extraordinary Diving in Liveaboard Luxury...supporting Shark Research", Apr, 2019,

by David Stoll, NY, US (Reviewer Reviewer 6 reports with 10 Helpful votes). Report 10904 has 4 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments At Cocos, an "okay" dive involves white-tip reef sharks, marble rays, and schools of reef fish. A great dive includes tuna, schools of jacks, and lots of hammerheads. An incredible dive can include galapagos sharks, tiger sharks, black-tip sharks, mobula or manta rays (just mobula on my trip), and more. The 36-hour boat trips from Puntarenas to Cocos and back are well worth the effort especially on a world-class boat like Argo.

More about the diving and boat shortly; let's talk shark research first. Twice each year, the environmental research and advocacy group Turtle Island Restoration Network (TIRN, run by Todd Steiner) collects data at Cocos to understand the migration patterns of sharks and rays around Cocos and between Cocos and other pacific locations. By buying a spot on the Argo during those trips, you support TIRN's research, learn about its mission and findings, and can even help with some aspects of the research. Although Cocos is protected, fishing in and near Costa Rica--especially for shark fins--is taking a terrible toll. Supporting TIRN is not just fun and interesting but critically important. Visit

On this trip, we were extra lucky to have on board Brock Cahill, a close friend and collaborator of the late Rob Stewart. We saw a screening of Stewart's recently completed film, SharkWater: Extinction, which is a must-see for anyone interested in the devastation caused by shark fishing. Visit iTunes, Amazon Prime, or Look for short films next year from Cahill.

Back to diving. Because of a mild El Nino and very low currents, the water was a bit warm and silty, which reduces visibility and causes the sharks to swim at greater depths. Even so, we saw most of what Cocos has to offer, including schooling hammerheads and jacks, a juvenile tiger shark, and even a large, friendly mobula ray, who spent 15-minutes with us during a safety stop. Speaking of sharks, we did not encounter any aggressive sharks, and it seems that only one, very recognizable tiger shark has shown any aggression during the past 18 months. That shark did not appear, but we were all briefed on protocols in case of danger; sticking together is key, which is why dives are now guided.

Cocos veterans may be interested to know that Alcyone was not at its best, but Dirty Rock was better than ever. Manuelita didn't disappoint either.

The Argo feels unusually large and comfortable for a liveaboard, including the dive deck, rooms, and salon. The food is terrific and plentiful, including fresh fruits and vegetables. The chef prepared vegetarian and vegan meals for those who requested them. The entire crew is awesome. There is no extra charge for Ntrox, soda, or local beer.

If the Argo is booked, the sister ship, Sea Hunter, looks terrific and would have the same level of food and service. Diving Cocos is one of the best adventures an experienced diver can have. It is all the better if you can travel with TIRN.

Websites Argo   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Caribbean: Cayman Islands, Bonaire. Bahamas, Cozumel, Honduras, Belize, St. Lucia, Saba, St. Kitts
Pacific: Cocos Island, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Thailand
Closest Airport San Jose Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy, cloudy, dry Seas calm, choppy, surge, currents, no currents
Water Temp 80-84°F / 27-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 40-100 Ft/ 12-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Cocos is the wild-west in the middle of nowhere with lots of sharks. All three hour-long dives are guided for the safety of the divers. Nitrox, which does not cost extra, is essential given the depth of many of the dives.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments There is plenty of dedicated space for cameras and two camera-only rinse tanks. I had no complaints at, nor did the professional filmmaker on board. Don't bring your macro set-up. While there are occasional opportunities to film little stuff, you go to Cocos for the sharks, rays, and massive schools of fish.
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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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