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Dive Locations

7 recommended locations:

Cocos Island

The remote Cocos Island Marine Park lies 540 kilometres off the coast of Costa Rica and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. The volcanic pinnacles surrounding the island are beacons for large pelagics, and it is one of the best places to go shark diving.

  • Ideal for viewing: scalloped hammerhead shark, Galapagos shark, devil ray, bull shark, giant oceanic manta ray
  • Excellent for: Liveaboard diving, Shark diving, Hammerhead shark

Gulf of Papagayo

The Gulf of Papagayo is a large bay on the north Pacific coast; its striking panoramic views and sweeping beaches have made it one of Costa Rica’s top destinations. Its waters support a huge amount of marine life, with large schools of fish and numerous pelagics.

  • Ideal for viewing: devil ray, green turtle, olive ridley turtle, leatherback turtle, pacific cow-nose ray
  • Excellent for: Resort based diving, Shark diving, Manta ray

Osa Peninsula

Osa Peninsula stands out as the finest wildlife experience in a country renowned for its natural wonders. Corcovado is one of the most biologically intense places on earth, but it is the big fish encounters of Caño Island that are of particular interest to divers here.

  • Ideal for viewing: giant oceanic manta ray, nurse shark, humpback whale, common dolphin, olive ridley turtle
  • Excellent for: Resort based diving, Diving & adventure

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is considered to be one of Central America’s finest protected areas. Weather influences from the Caribbean and Pacific coasts create a ecosystem that is home to over 100 species of mammals and 400 birds, including several hummingbird species.

  • Excellent for: Hiking, Wildlife

San José

Costa Rica’s capital has the main international airport, so you will probably need to spend a night or two here during your dive holiday. It is a busy, vibrant Latin American metropolis, and has the country’s pristine national parks on its doorstep.

  • Excellent for: City stopover

Tortuguero National Park

Tortuguero is home to seven species of river turtle, as well as spectacled caiman, howler and capuchin monkey and over 300 species of birds. Green and hawksbill turtles come ashore each night (Jul-Sep) to lay their eggs, and leatherback turtles can be observed Feb-Apr.

  • Excellent for: Wildlife

Volcan Arenal National Park

The most spectacular of Costa Rica’s volcanoes, Arenal is now dormant after its most recent eruptive period between the late 1960’s and 2010. The surrounding national park contains fascinating lava landscapes, and is home to howler monkeys and a wealth of bird species.

  • Excellent for: Hiking, Wildlife

View trips to these locations

Dive trips

The verdant nation of Costa Rica boasts big marine life, pristine jungles, and exciting volcanoes. Explore Cocos Island by liveaboard, enjoy the Gulf of Papagayo or explore more of the country’s treasures on a longer adventure.
4 recommended trips. Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.

Cocos Island Liveaboard

Cocos Island is one of the world's finest liveaboard destinations, and you can expect to see hammerhead, silky, silvertip, Galapagos and white-tip sharks on this exceptional trip, as well as eagle and manta rays.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,565 pp
  • Trip type: Liveaboard trip

Diving the Gulf of Papagayo

Enjoy a week’s diving on Costa Rica’s northern Pacific coast, where you can encounter spectacular black coral, large schools of fish, manta rays and numerous other pelagics, all on a reasonable budget.

  • When to go: Nov-Apr
  • Duration inc. flights: 9 days
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Costa Rica Volcanoes & Diving

Discover the diversity of Costa Rica on this two week trip - enjoy active volcanoes and picturesque cities before heading to the Gulf of Papagayo to dive with sharks, turtles and mantas on the Pacific coast.

  • When to go: Nov-Apr
  • Duration inc. flights: 16 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £3,075 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Costa Rica Dive Experience

Experience world-class diving at Catalina Island and in the Gulf of Papagayo on this adventure as you explore Costa Rica's Pacific coast. A great option for those looking for big fish encounters on a smaller budget.

  • When to go: Nov-Apr
  • Duration inc. flights: 9 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £2,045 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

When to go

Costa Rica is best visited from December to April, while sharks gather at Cocos from May to November.

Seasons

  • Wet season

    May to Nov: Costa Rica’s wet season coincides with the best months to visit Cocos Island for shark encounters
  • Dry season

    Dec to Apr: Dry weather and calm seas make this a great time to explore mainland Costa Rica

Wildlife events

  • May to Sep: Best months for hammerhead sharks at Cocos Island
  • Jul to Sep: Turtle nesting season on the beaches of Tortugero National Park
  • Nov to Apr: Olive ridley & leatherback turtle encounters in Tamarindo
  • Nov to Apr: Best months for bull sharks at Cocos Island

Dive Resorts

Liveaboards