Both Topside And Underwater
Hammerhead Shark Schools, Whale Sharks And Manta Rays
No matter what adventure you crave, you’ll find it in Costa Rica — both topside and underwater. Try speeding through the rainforest canopy on a zip line or scuba diving with bull sharks. Bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea in the heart of Central America, Costa Rica is a prime ecotourism destination and boasts some of the world’s most biologically diverse habitats – including rainforest, volcano and mangrove ecosystems. While the Caribbean coast has yet to develop a serious scuba diving infrastructure, diving off the Pacific Coast is nothing short of spectacular. The underwater volcanic rock formations and pinnacles are home to small hard corals, sponges and gorgonians. Guanacaste is a giant bay off the northwest coast that provides access to Catalina and Bat Islands – key dive areas. The southern area is a protected biological reserve and offers the chance to see rays, turtles, and white-tip reef sharks. Plus, you’ll see large schools of fish swimming overhead on almost every dive. You can also get out to Cocos Island off the Pacific coast to dive with its hammerhead shark schools, whale sharks and manta rays.
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Visibility – Depending on the area, visibility usually ranges from 15-30 metres/50-100 feet. June through September generally brings the best visibility.
Water Temperature – Generally ranges from 26-29ºC/78-84ºF. From December through March, cooler currents bring water temperatures as low as 19ºC/68ºF along with large animals such as humpback whales, pilot whales, giant manta rays, whale sharks, and more.
Weather – Seasonal air temperature averages vary widely and with altitude, but in general, along the coasts, it’s 27°C/82°F in winter and 33°C/92°F in summer. The dry season is from December to April and the rainy season runs from May to November. Rain can be expected in the afternoons, with the mornings usually sunny. Diving is good all year.
Featured Creatures – You’ll find eagle rays, turtles, manta rays, white-tipped reef sharks, bull sharks, enormous schools of both grunts and jacks, parrotfish, moray eels, dolphin and more. During whale season (January, February and March) you can hear the haunting songs of humpback and pilot whales underwater. You can also see humpbacks in June and July as they migrate from the southern hemisphere.
Recommended Training – Take the PADI Deep Diver and Drift Diver courses to be prepared for the pinnacle and seamount dives in Costa Rica. The AWARE – Coral Reef Conservation and the AWARE – Fish Identification courses will help you appreciate the many marine protected areas.
Language – Spanish is the official language, although English is commonly spoken.
Currency – Costa Rican Colon. Credit cards are widely accepted.
Major Airports – There are two international airports in Costa Rica - Juan Santamaría International Airport in Alajuela and Daniel Oduber International Airport in Guanacaste.
Electricity and Internet – Electricity is 110 volts, 60 Hz. Internet is widely available.
Topside Attractions – Canopy tours are the ideal way to get a bird’s-eye view of the forest. With so many volcanoes, Costa Rica has exquisite hot spring experiences. Check out more than 50 famous surf spots or go whitewater rafting.
Locate PADI Dive Shops and Resorts in Costa Rica.