Trips for Divers
Oakland, CA 94602
510-638-3448 / 800-345-7159
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North Pacific Region: Guancaste
The Pacific has the country's best diving, with less coral, but plenty of big fish. The most popular Pacific diving area is the Northwest, where dive centers in Playa del Coco, Ocotal and Hermosa offer trips to several spots in the Culebra Bay and the Bat Islands (Islas Murcielagos), to the Northwest, where divers often see sharks and manta rays (Jan-Mar). The dive center in Flamingo usually takes people to Santa Catalina Island, about five miles off shore, which is another good spot to see sharks and other big fish. The best visibility and water temperatures in the Northwest are found from June to September, though the conditions can change from day to day. There is good snorkeling in Curu National Wildlife Refuge, and near the beach resorts of Tambor and Montezuma. There is also usually good snorkeling off the second beach in Manuel Antonio National Park, and around the points and islands between Dominical and Marino Ballena National Park. The temperature in this area ranges from 70ºF (21ºC) to 85ºF (29ºC), although these may vary depending on the season of the year, the currents, and the thermoclines.
Don't miss the awesome arches and coral formations of Santa Elena Bay, Blanca Beach Range, and Bajo Meros (ravine), a perfect place for beginners. You may also dive in Gorda Point, Bajo Tiburones, Negritos Island, Cabros Island, and Murciélago Islands, where you might find the bull sharks which measure up to 12 feet (Carcharhinus leucas) in their natural habitat. The best time to visit this site is from March through November. Despensa Island and Catalinas Islands are also a perfect spot for observing the abundant sea life, which is difficult to find anywhere else.
All these places are great for watching different species of sharks such as the whale shark (Rhincodon typus), dolphins, morays, and rayfish, among which noteworthy is the Golden ray (Rhinoptera steindachneri) or Pacific cownose ray, of the many existing Pellagic species.
South Pacific Region: Osa-Peninsula
The best diving spot in this zone is found in the Caño's Island Biological Reserve, 45 minutes away from Drake Bay-Osa Peninsula, where you will find a marine ecosystem beyond compare. In this beautiful place, you may observe hammerheaded sharks (Sphyrna lewini) , white finned sharks (Triaenodon obesus), whale sharks (Rhincodon typus), and ray fish. Your trip will be done in the pleasant company of dolphins and the migration of the humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) or finback whales, as they are also known. These may be seen almost any month of the year, but their best season is when it is Winter on the Northern Hemisphere of the American Continent. A special attraction is that this area is the only place in the world where these whales come to, both from the North and the South, at different times of the year.
You will be able to explore the Tres Hermanas small Islands and the protected marine area of the Ballena Marine National Park, which possesses a huge number of coral species. This park is complemented with the abundance of existing marine life, among which we may mention the humpback whales’ (Megaptera novaeangliae) migrations.
Aguila de Osa
Jinetes de Osa
The eastern section of Costa Rica is home to the country’s only coral reef off the coast of the Parque Nacional Cahuita. Though seriously damaged by an earthquake in 1991, the reef here is home to over 123 species of fish, 140 species of mollusk, and 35 species of coral.
Almonds and Corals - Limon
Legends: ☺kids friendly (kids program or kids rates available); ✩ wheelchair accessible; ◊ internet access (◊◊ free)
|Costa Rica and Cocos Island
Rugged highlands are found throughout most of the country, ranging from approximately 1,000 to 2,000 meters (3,000 to 6,000 feet above sea level). The Guanacaste Mountain Range, Central Mountain Range, and Talamanca Mountain Range are the main mountain ranges extending the entire length of the country. There are several active volcanoes (Arenal Volcano, Irazu Volcano, Rincon de la Vieja Volcano and Turrialba Volcano) and the country’s highest mountain (Chirripo Hill) with a height of 3,819 m/12,530 ft. The country has a relatively long coastline in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, as well as a number of rivers and streams that attract specialist kayakers and rafters from all over the world.
Due to the weather characteristics and the topography of the country, different types of forests can be appreciated: the cloud forest, the rain forest, the dry forest, and the transition forest.
Considered one of the most bio-diverse regions in the world, it boasts somewhere between 500,000 and a million species of flora and fauna; a million species of insects including thousands of moths and butterflies; 2,000 species of orchids; 208 species of mammals; and 850 species of birds. Costa Rica is divided in 20 natural parks, 8 biological reserves, and a series of protected areas that captivate ecotourism lovers.
Costa Rica is a tropical country located between 8 and I I degrees north of the Equator There are two well defined seasons: the rainy season or winter (invierno), and the dry season or summer (verano), with basically one main difference between them: rainfall averages. The Dry season runs from December to April, and the Rainy season from May to November. Seasonal changes do not bring significant changes in temperatures, although nights may be cooler in some areas during the rainy season. Mornings will usually be sunny basically all year round. Coastal areas tend to have higher temperatures (80-90s) year round than the mountainous Central Valley region (70-80s).
The electrical current is same as US, 110 volts AC 60 Hz.
Costa Rican colon. US dollars are commonly accepted, but not travelor's check. Credit cards can be used widely and be charged in either colon or US dollars. 13% sales tax. In restaurants 10% service fee is normally included in the bill as tip.
How to get there
You can fly nonstop to San Jose from Atlanta (Delta), Boston and Dallas (American), Denver (Frontier), Houston and New York (Continental), Miami (American), and San Francisco with a stop at San Salvador (Taca). You can fly nonstop to Liberia from Atlanta and Cincinati (Delta), Dallas (American), Houston and New York (Continental), Los Angeles (Delta) and Miami (American). A passport valid for 90 days after the arrival date is required, as well as a return or continuing ticket. There is a departure tax of US $20.00.
Taxi is expensive in Costa Rica. So are Car rentals. In Liberia renting a car required a proof for liability insurance in a form of a letter with the signature from your insurance agent. In Dec of 2008, 3 of the rental car agencies insisted on this. Otherwise purchasing liability insurance was required, and costed from $20/day to $300/week. It was not included in the rental car price on the web. Usage of credit card with collision coverage was not enough to avoid this extra insurance. After an hour of negotiation Kyoko gave up renting, and so did other 2 parties who arrived while she was there. For more about car rental please visit Car Rental Information Least expensive way is to use public bus transportation, but you need flexibility and spanish speaking ability. It costs more, but we can arrange all the transportation between destinations including air, and at the end it saves lots of headache and anxiety.
Malaria risk exists in Guanacaste Region.
This world-famous National Park was established in 1978. In 1997, UNESCO declared it a World Natural Heritage Site. Located in the Pacific side of Costa Rica, 543 km of Cabo Blanco, Coco’s Island is a real treasure that has been safeguarded, where you can dive deep into the sea and discover such unforgettable natural richness. To visit the Coco's Island you should contact a tour operator in order to organize your trip. The journey lasts approximately one day and a half, and when arriving to the Island, you will find anchoring services, lectures, walks, trails, and potable water.
Coco’s Island counts with a great diversity of natural environments, owing to conditions related to its geological origins, geographical location, and of being an oceanic island. Its flora and fauna, marine as well as terrestrial, are exceptional; even though they are known to some extent, recent studies have determined that the island houses approximately 600 species of marine mollusks, 300 species of fish and 32 species of coral, 9 of them belonging to the deep waters.
The large number of white tip sharks (Triaenodon obesus and Carcharinus albimarginatus), schools of hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini) during migration at the cleaning stations, tuna fish (Thunnus sp), parrot fish (Scaridae), mollusks, and other coral species, make this island one of the most marvelous places on earth to explore.
Crossing to the Cocos Island takes approximately 30 hrs from main land.