Less than a decade ago, Costa Rica was virtually unknown as a destination for diving. Suddenly it is being applauded for its variety of marine wildlife. New facilities along the pacific coastline are now offering firs-class dive boats and fully stocked dive shops. And divers have the excitement of truly virgin diving in areas never before explored.
The most recent dive-site development has been along the pacific coast of Guanacaste province. Here you’ll see little live coral and few reefs. In their place divers will find a huge variety of fish, soft corals and invertebrates a result of the abundance of plankton that thrive in this tropical areas. Most diving take part around rock formations usually alongside rocky islands or pinnacles located miles away offshore. Visibility can often be obscured specially in rainy season from May to November, where rivers enter the ocean.
The best places known in this side of the country are Murcielagos Island and the Catalinas Island, here you can find grouper, snapper, jacks, sharks, mantas, as well as tropical species, Cortez angelfish, bright yellow butterflies and eagle rays are common. Great bull sharks conglomerate at the farthest point in Murcielago.
At the Punta Gorda dive site, 6km west of El Ocotal, thousands of eagle rays have been known to swim in incredibly giant columns, here you can find also whale sharks in the bottom and also marlins in pinnacle rocks.
Cocos Island is a great place to dive, famous for its wonderful wildlife featuring big encounters with whale sharks, hammerheads and mantas, which sometimes appear in groups of 500 at a time.
The Caribbean coast has yet to develop a serious infrastructure catering to sport divers, despite good coral reefs. At Isla Uvita, just offshore of Limon, are tropical fish, sea fans, and a coral reef, plus the wreck of the Fenix, a cargo ship that sank about a mile off the island years ago.
Farther south, at Cahuita, is Costa Rica’s most beautiful coral reef extending 500 meters out from Cahuita point. The fan shaped reef covers 593 hectares and has 35 different species including the giant elkhorn. Here as in Uvita you can find two ship wrecks -with all and cannons- , seven meters down laying on the reef. The best time to visit is during the dry season in February to April, when visibility is at the best for any kind of diving