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Dive Review of Ocotal Divers/Ocotal Hotel in
Costa Rica/Ocotal, Guanacoste

Ocotal Divers/Ocotal Hotel, Mar, 2009,

by Don Hoft, MA, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports). Report 4699.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 2 stars
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 2 stars
Comments Spent 11 days here with my non diving wife. Contrary to most reports on the diving here, this diver was very disappointed. However, Ocotal Divers staff were very experienced and good at their jobs. As often reported, due to generally poor vizability there is usually one DM leading and one following (if the group gets to 4 or more), a wise technique. It was a bad omen on arrival talking to an (apparent) experienced diver (drying out his gear) prior to my 1st dive indicating he dove just one day and gave up: "water 59 deg and no viz". I doubted it but he wasn't far off in general. During my time, depending on whose gauge was used the water T's were between 60 and 66, with the higher value the guess of the crew. Viz was a body length or two to 20-25'. Some dives were an absolute zero, over bottom with little life, little viz, and cold. Fortunately a couple of sites offered some interesting life including frog fish, electric rays, large sting rays, and moreys (one consuming a still alive grouper).
To keep warm I finally used a full 3mm, a shorty 3mm (theirs), and a vest/hood. The head DM had a 5mm and 2-3mm shorty's, and my extra 3mm hood. It was unexpectly cold. From what I gathered talking to the locals the dry season (Nov-Apr) is also windy with cold water and low viz. The green season starts in May with afternoon showers, lower wind and better viz. For us, no trips to Cataline or Bat Islands were available. Two days I was the sole diver on the boat. A dive group arrived on the weekend, and following their very 1st dive, several would not do the second dive.
I leave thinking Costa Rica is and interesting country with nice people, but can't help wondering about the wisdom of diving during this time of year. However, it really troubles me that when reviewing the last 3 year of undercurrent that the very lowest temp reportled was 68 (only once) and much better sealife. I cant help but believe that the conditions I encounted were unusual. (Our I was narc'ed before I got there).
The country offers many interesting topside experiences. We spent all our time in the northwest region. Excellent beaches, natural beauty, and in several nature reserves. Worth doing.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Indian Ocean, Pacific, Caribbean, Mexico
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas calm, choppy, surge
Water Temp 60-66°F / 16-19°C Wetsuit Thickness 6
Water Visibility 5-20 Ft/ 2-6 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions Vizability dictated diving with DM
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 2 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Was adequate if boats were not full (approx 10 max)
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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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