Deep Water Diving in Costa Rica

Costa Rica, aptly known as ‘the Rich Coast,’ certainly lives up to its name. Home to the highest density of biodiversity on Earth, Costa Rica boasts unparalleled natural wonders both above and below the waves. Two regions, the Guanacaste Conservation Area in the north-west and Cocos Island National Park, located 300 miles offshore in the Pacific Ocean, offer divers an unrivalled opportunity to witness this astonishing diversity, earning both spots the prestigious title of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Depth junkies looking to enjoy the deep water diving in Costa Rica can find an impressive array of sharks and rays lurking in the depths of both locations. Bull sharks, hammerheads, silky sharks and manta rays are just a few of the marvellous marine species commonly spotted, with every dive bringing the potential for incredible encounters.

Bat Islands

The Bat Islands, also known as the Murcielago Islands, lie within the Guanacaste Conservation Area, near the Papagayo Peninsula and Nicaragua's Pacific Coast border. While the islands may not be blessed with amazing coral life, deep water diving in Costa Rica is more about the fish life. The Bat Islands offer a spectacularly diverse array of marine creatures, but the most thrilling interaction is undoubtedly guaranteed bull shark sightings.

To reach the Bat Islands requires a 45-minute cruise across the Gulf of Papagayo from the peninsula. Upon reaching the islands, divers descend to 30 metres, where the unmistakeable silhouettes of the big bulls will start to appear. These curious sharks are much bigger than reef sharks and often approach and encircle divers, allowing for great photography opportunities. As you gradually ascend towards the end of the dive, keep your eyes peeled for whitetip reef sharks and eagle rays.

Catalina Islands

If your preference for deep water diving in Costa Rica leans more towards encountering fish with huge, pointy wings rather than large, pointy teeth, the Catalina Islands are just the ticket.

Found in the southern reaches of the Gulf of Papagayo, this island group is a magnet for rays, attracting several different species to its waters. A dive at La Punta (The Point) may reveal giant oceanic manta rays, eagle rays and squadrons of swooping devil rays. Keep your eyes peeled, asother species of stingrays may be camouflaged in the sandy seabed. For seasoned divers, this site can reach a maximum depth of 40 metres, with the chance of surprise visits from whale sharks, tiger sharks and humpback whales. If luck is on your side, you may even witness orcas, an extraordinary encounter reserved for the fortunate few.

Cocos Island

If you're looking for the best deep water diving in Costa Rica, look no further than Cocos Island. Sitting at the apex of the fabled Hammerhead Triangle in the eastern Pacific Ocean, Cocos Island - or Isla del Coco - is the jewel in Costa Rica's crown for divers.This remote volcanic island rises from the depths of the Pacific and is only reachable only by liveaboard, but it's worth the epic voyage. First declared 'the most beautiful island in the world' by legendary oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, Cocos Island further earned its place of honour as a filming location in BBC's Blue Planet series.

While schooling hammerheads are the stars of the show at Cocos, be prepared for a sensory overload as several other shark species dart past, including silvertips, silkies and Galapagos sharks. On rare occasions, you might even be graced with thresher and tiger sharks.

Our team of dive travel experts have dived extensively throughout Costa Rica and are on hand to curate your dream dive holiday. Costa Rica's deep water diving is a haven for an abundance of big fish species, and we can ensure you are precisely where you need to be, at the perfect moment, to maximise your chances of unforgettable encounters with majestic megafauna.

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Emily C, Eleanor and Jacqui are our 'Deep Water Diving in Costa Rica' experts and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

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