If you're on the hunt for hammerheads, Bajo Alcyone is a
must-dive. The site features one of the deepest cleaning stations
Cocos Island and is a submerged seamount about a mile off the
main island. The exposed nature of the site means there are often
strong currents, and with divers often descending past 30 metres,
Bajo Alcyone definitely counts among the more advanced diving in
A dive at Bajo Alcyone often rewards divers with
screensaver-worthy hammerhead photo opportunities, with the sharks
filling your field of vision. With the regular appearances of
devil, manta and eagle rays at Bajo Alcyone and silky sharks and
Galapagos sharks also making use of the cleaning stations, if you
do get bored of the hammerheads (unlikely), there's plenty else to
focus on too.
The dive site features boulders and pinnacles that just break
the surface, and the dive begins with a quick descent down to 25
metres before the show starts. Clouds of blacknosed butterflyfish,
also known as barberfish, wait patiently for the big boys to show
up. And show up they do, with large schools of hammerheads passing
through to enjoy being attended to at the cleaning stations by the
blacknosed butterflyfish. Bigeye jacks, bluefin trevally and
dogtooth tuna hunt in large numbers here, and lucky groups get to
spend their safety stop drifting in the blue accompanied by pods of
playful bottlenose dolphins.
Dirty Rock may be among the more advanced diving in Cocos
Island, but it seldom disappoints and is often visited at least
twice during liveaboard trips.
Dos Amigos Grande
Dos Amigos Pequeña and Dos Amigos Grande are two neighbouring
dive sites on the exposed southern side of Cocos Island. The swells
can get too big for safe entries during the rainy season, but when
the conditions are right, Dos Amigos Grande in particular can be
spectacular. The dive site is famed for its large, submerged
archway and, you guessed it, hordes of hammerheads.
Dos Amigos Grande is also a good spot for tiger shark
encounters. These huge sharks can be seen visiting the cleaning
stations, and their appearance always makes for a memorable dive.
Classified among the more advanced diving in Cocos Island, Dos
Amigos Grande, with its stunning archway and plenty of big fish
action, is always a crowd-pleaser.
Situated to the north of the main Cocos Island, Manuelita Island
is often the first stop for liveaboards in Cocos, and the outer
side of the island is known as Manuelita Deep. When the currents
are running, a quick descent is required to take you down to the
shelter of the large boulders, where you can find your ideal
viewing spot to watch the incoming hammerheads. King angelfish and
barberfish are also waiting for the hammerheads and patiently pick
the parasites from their bodies as they saunter past the cleaning
But these cleaning stations are not for the exclusive use of the
scalloped hammerheads. Occasionally they need to share their salon
with huge tiger sharks, which also frequent the waters around
Manuelita Island. If the tigers and hammerheads are not enough, an
occasional glance toward the surface during the dive may reveal
cruising eagle rays and mantas, or even the giant silhouette of a
passing whale shark...
With its shallowest point just below 20 metres, Punta Maria sits
a few hundred yards off the southwest corner of Cocos Island. The
deep seamount rises to within 25 metres of the surface, and steep
slopes drop away on all sides. The exposed pinnacle can be subject
to exhilarating currents, and venturing away from the shelter of
the pinnacle is not advised. Find a reasonably sheltered spot and
wait for the show to start. The chief protagonists at Punta Maria,
however, are not hammerheads but three-metre Galapagos sharks who
frequent the cleaning stations.
But fear not; there's still a chance of seeing hammerheads
cruising by, and mantas and silkies also enjoy the occasional
pampering at the cleaning stations. Due to its depth and lack of
ability to shallow up, Punta Maria is best dived on Nitrox and is
also among the more advanced diving in Cocos Island.
As spectacular as the diving at Cocos Island is - and it is
spectacular - conditions can be challenging at times. Our team of
dive travel experts have been lucky enough to dive Cocos on several
occasions, and we can help you choose the best time to visit, when
the conditions best suit your level of experience.