Costa Rica is the main starting point to get to the Cocos Islands. However, it has some good diving close by as well. The best diving in Costa Rica is offered on the Pacific side of the country. Although the dive sites do not compare to the diversity of tropical seas, the plenitude of fish and the many encounters with big fish will make up for this. Catalina and Bat Island in the northwest of Costa Rica are promising excellent dive experiences with regular sightings of Bull Sharks, Manta and eagle rays and also large schools of Cow Nosed Eagle Rays - and Devil Rays.
Diving in Costa Rica (mainland) is possible all year round, the best time is from December to May. Diving on Cocos Island is good all year round, since there is no distinct dry or rainy season. The water temperature will vary between 20°C and 28°C. Punta Arenas has a decompression chamber.
Diving off Cocos Island
Cocos Island is offering the most famous and spectacular dive sites in the world. They might be only paralleled by Malpelo and the Northern Islands in Galapagos. Sightings of big fish are guaranteed. Most dives are performed offshore or off islands where the presence of cleaner fish regularly attracts schools of hammerhead sharks. Large schools of fish, mostly jacks, barracudas and large fish such as silky sharks, silver tip sharks, manta rays, whale sharks, sailfish, dolphins and whales can be spotted on almost all routes.
Countless white tip reef sharks are not very active during the day and can be observed very well. Turtles, many moray eels and lobsters are always around. The rocks have very little cover and corals or sponges are almost non-existent. Drift dives are common on Cocos Island.
Cocos Island is only accessible via liveaboard. During the approximately 35 hour long trip (each way!) from mainland Costa Rica, the sea can get pretty rough at times. The dive sites can be challenging for inexperienced divers due to water temperature, currents, surges, thermoclines and overall unpredictable sea conditions. A dive cruise to Cocos Island should be booked by divers with a reasonable level of experience only. All vessels sailing to Cocos Island are very reliable, ideal for long cruises, and equipped with everything you need for almost two weeks onboard.