Diving Manuel Antonio National Park near Quepos is one of the most enjoyable experiences of Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast.
From big to small, you’ll be surprised at the diversity of marine life found around this volcanic rock. Among the hard and soft corals, live massive schools of jacks and snappers. Their presence is added to by puffer fish, scorpion fish, parrot fish, angel fish, moorish idols, octopus, trumpets, eels, sea turtles, nudibranchs and a variety of crustaceans. Keep your eyes peeled for octopus curled up in holes and rays hanging out on the san patches.
In terms of larger pelagic action, white-tip reef sharks, stingrays and spotted eagle rays can be spotted. From December-May, keep your eyes peeled and make sure to look above you for the gentle giant manta rays. During these same months, you might see humpback whales or large pods of dolphins on your surface interval.
December-April is dry season in Manuel Antonio National Park. During these months, very little rain falls throughout the Pacific coast. These months offer the opportunity to see giant manta rays as well as other passing pelagic species.
The visibility can vary greatly depending on the time of year: from 5m/15ft up to 20m/70ft.
Low season is the best time to go if you’re an advanced diver who likes pelagic action. During these months, nutrient swells attract pelagic species closer to shore and you’ll have a great opportunity to see sharks.
For the best chanve of seeing whales- the season is usually between December- February and July-November. Best months for visibility tend to be December-May.
The closest international airport is Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose. From the capital city to Quepos, where most people stay, is a 2.5hr journey by car or bus.
Once you reach the coast, it’s possible to get around completely on foot. However, there is also a public bus that travels between the area’s hotels and the national park.