Drift Diving in Cocos Island

Travelling to Cocos Island is by no means an easy feat. This hard-to-reach island lies roughly 340 miles off the coast of Costa Rica, is only accessible via liveaboard and takes around 36 hours by boat to reach. However, those that brave the long journey are rewarded with a lush tropical island, surrounded by nutrient-rich waters. The drift diving in Cocos Island is spectacular thanks to the island’s underwater topography which draws up deep-ocean currents, attracting congregations of rare creatures like scalloped hammerhead sharks, manta rays and dolphins. While there are 20 or so dive sites to choose from across the island, most are subject to heavy currents and surges, making Cocos Island a destination for advanced divers. Here are our top spots for drift diving in Cocos Island.

Punta Maria

Punta Maria is a fantastic spot when it comes to drift diving in Cocos Island. It's renowned for Galapagos shark sightings (not to be confused with silky sharks) and is inundated with large schools of Cortez rainbow wrasse, burrito grunts and blue-striped snappers. Lucky divers may even spot hammerhead and whitetip reef sharks. The site lies roughly a third of a mile from the island's southwest coast and is an underwater mountain that boasts steeply sloping walls and a few nearby pinnacles. The dive begins with a 30-metre descent down a mooring line, with divers following the peak of the mountain left or right depending on the current. Punta Maria has no shallow sections and is best dived using nitrox to prolong the time spent underwater.

Small Dos Amigos

Small Dos Amigos is on the southwest of Cocos Island and is one of the first places near the island hit by nutrient-rich upwellings. The site isn't always open, as strong sea surges during the rainy season can make it dangerous. The site is near an islet, with volcanic slopes and sharp rocky terrain. It lies between 18 and 37 metres with fantastic visibility that can reach as far as 30 metres. It's a wonderful choice for anyone wanting to see hammerhead sharks while drift diving in Cocos Island, as it's not unusual to be surrounded by these magnificent creatures during the dive.

Big Dos Amigos

Big Dos Amigos is a stone's throw from Small Dos Amigos, and as its name suggests, is the larger of the two islets. This kidney-shaped island is renowned for its enormous arched swim-through that lies between 19 and 28 metres and often has hammerheads and schooling grunts passing through. The dive's starting point is dependent on the current, with dives either starting or ending at the magnificent arch. Highlights of the dive include large congregations of hammerhead sharks, schools of rainbow runners and yellowtail snappers, and even the occasional visit from a tiger shark.

While Cocos Island isn't the easiest diving destination to reach, it's well worth the adventurous journey for some spectacular diving. If you're considering a once-in-a-lifetime trip that includes drift diving in Cocos Island, get in contact with a member of our team who can put together your dream itinerary.

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Emily C and Eleanor are our 'Drift Diving in Cocos Island' experts and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

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