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Dive Review of La Perla del Sur/Crystal Ballena in
Costa Rica/Isla Cano

La Perla del Sur/Crystal Ballena, Jul, 2013,

by Mary K Wicksten, TX, US (Contributor Contributor 13 reports with 4 Helpful votes). Report 7037.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 2 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments My buddy and I had limited time in Costa Rica and made arrangements to dive through "Meetings Horizonte" travel agency. They arranged a driver to take us from San Jose to the south coast to dive at Isla Cano. They can arrange diving to the north at Playa del Coco or the Bat Islands but require a group of 6 persons. Good driver stopped to show us crocodiles in river (no, not at the dive site!) and found us inexpensive but good restaurant at Uvita, near hotel. Hotel is on bluff overlooking Pacific. Comfortable screened beds, big rooms, scenic balcony, great buffet breakfast, tidy gardens, pool,jungle trails beyond grounds. Howler monkeys hooting AM, many tropical birds on grounds. Another drive to small river port of Sierpe, boarded small (25-foot or so) boat without head, oxygen or much storage, no cabin--just canopy, had boat ladder. Long trip down river to sea, passed through dense mangrove forest. Arrived at river mouth at low tide, captain gunned engine through low set in 5-foot breakers! Got tanks, weights, etc. at town of Agujito but no dock, gunned boat up to beach on waves to load/unload, then had ride over to island. Dolphins, birds working bait fish. Island is protected area,has ranger station but no bathrooms or facilities. Beach is wave-swept, like much of southern C.R. coast. Diving at 50-60 feet among large rock reefs and clean sand. Some surge, visibility 10-15 feet but some rain run-off that day. Temperature warm but wet suit a good idea anyway. Lots of tropical fish: king angel, 2 spp. butterflies, grunts, morays, hawkfish on small coral colonies,guineafowl puffer; white-tipped reef sharks and big stingray on bottom, schools of jacks, creolefish, others above. Not much small stuff (no nudibranchs) but not much chance to look into cracks. Caught in strong thunderstorm and downpour going back to port. Not much shelter, everyone and everything soaked, one diver got chilled. (Bring a waterproof poncho or jacket). No, it's not crystal clear, nor did we see mantas and whale sharks, but for the money this was a decent dive trip--as long as you are willing to "rough it".

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving W. Canada, California, W. Mexico, Galapagos, Gulf of Mexico, Bahamas. Bonaire, Honduras, Cozumel, Florida Keys and caverns, Belize, Hawaii, Fiji, S. Australia, Yap, Palau, New Guinea
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather windy Seas choppy
Water Temp 79-84°F / 26-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 10-15 Ft/ 3-5 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions 3 minute safety stop at 15 feet. Dived with guide.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 1 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 2 stars

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 2 stars Shore Facilities 1 stars
UW Photo Comments Very basic boat, no camera tub or table but no space for either. No camera facilities ashore. If you have a fancy, large system, you don't want to take it aboard this boat.
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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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