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

Deep Blue Diving Adventures/Coco Verde, Aug, 2006,

by Jack M. Bernstein, OH, USA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 10 reports with 3 Helpful votes). Report 2773.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 2 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments 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 boat.

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 Rica.

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 service.

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.

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

Weather rainy Seas calm
Water Temp 82-84°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 25-75 Ft/ 8-23 M

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.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales 1 or 2
Corals 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 N/A
UW Photo Comments 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.
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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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