Costa Rica translates to “Rich Coast,” an apt name for a country surrounded by oceans. On the Pacific side, offshore islands defined by their underwater pinnacles offer enticing shark and manta ray encounters.
The Pacific coastline is also known for pelagic life. From humpback whales to manta rays, this coast is suitable to all diving levels. Remember that the southern area of the country is a protected biological reserve.
The underwater landscape is made up of boulders and pinnacles. The protected nature of the reefs make this region great for beginners. Explore both coasts to get a full appreciation for Costa Rica’s beauty.
Visitors can expect one to two hours of rainfall in the mid-afternoon during May-November. The rainy season is the best time to go if you’re an advanced diver who likes pelagic action. During these months, nutrient swells attract Bull Sharks to the Bat Islands and Hammerhead Sharks to Cocos Island.
August-December is when you’ll find little wind and calm seas. Most of the pelagic species found during the rainy season leave Costa Rica’s coast and are replaced by a variety of fish and macro species. It is also the best time to dive in Costa Rica for beginner divers who prefer easy, colorful diving.
During these months, divers will benefit from calmer seas and visibility reaching 100 feet (30 meters).
Find local PADI dive shops and explore the top dive sites with our map.
Flying into Costa Rica is easy. There are two international airports in Costa Rica - Juan Santamaría International Airport in Alajuela near San Jose and Daniel Oduber International Airport in Guanacaste. Most international flights arrive to the capital city of San Jose.
It’s also possible to enter the country by bus from other Central American countries. From San Jose, you can reach either coast by bus or private transfer. Offshore islands require travel by liveaboard.