|

Where is the Best Scuba Diving in Costa Rica?


Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse places on our planet – both on land and in the water. These are our top picks of places to find the best scuba diving in Costa Rica during your travels.


Costa Rica is a tropical country in Central America. It borders Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south, and is hugged by the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. This beautiful land has coastline for miles and jungles for days.

Costa Rica is full of rainforests, beaches, rivers, and diverse wildlife. It has something adventurous to offer everyone that visits, making it a popular vacation destination. If you’re here, though, there’s only one thing that will tickle your fancy: scuba diving.

But where is the best scuba diving in Costa Rica? Let’s dive in and find out.


Looking for more articles on Costa Rica? Check out these posts:


Is There Good Scuba Diving in Costa Rica? 


best scuba diving in costa rica


Yes, there absolutely is good scuba diving in Costa Rica. Even though Costa Rica is a smaller country, it hosts almost 6% of the world’s biodiversity. It’s a bridge between North and South America and has two oceans on its shorelines.

So, there are a plethora of animals on land and sea here. The islands offshore on the Pacific side attract sharks, humpback whales, and manta rays during certain parts of the year. The best part is that the waters around Costa Rica are crystal clear, which gives you fantastic visibility. 


Best Places to Scuba Dive in Costa Rica


There’s not really a bad place to scuba dive in Costa Rica. No matter the city you choose to visit, you’ll be able to find mesmerizing spots to dive nearby. These spots have varying degrees of difficulty, so you should keep your skill level in mind when selecting.


Best on the Pacific Coast


On the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, you won’t find many colorful reefs, but you will find an abundance of marine life. This rocky shoreline is enticing for sharks, manta rays, whales, and many fish species


Isla del Coco


scuba diving in costa rica
Isla Del Coco image by Visit Centroamerica


Cocos Island National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Center and the best dive site in the country. It’s not the prettiest place, but it’s where the sharks hang out. We recommend this for experienced divers only


Isla del Caño

Caño Island is the second most beautiful island and located just off the coast of Uvita. It’s a natural biological reserve, so you’ll find a multitude of marine life. This site is appropriate for divers of any level


Isla Catalinas

This island is in the Guanacaste province and offers interactions with larger animals like the manta ray. There are stronger currents, so we think you should leave this island to advanced divers.


Bat Islands

The Bat Islands are inside the Santa Rosa National Park. It’s a protected park that’s home to many fish species, manta rays, and bull sharks.

The infamous Big Scare is also located here. We think you should leave this one unless you’re an experienced diver!


best scuba diving in costa rica
Bull sharks in Costa Rica


Tortuga Islands

The Tortuga Islands are in Puntarenas province. This small group of protected islands has three shipwrecks you can explore as well as some underwater formations like El Laberinto. These waters are safe for divers of all levels so have fun.

Other safe spots to check out if you have the time are Jaco Beach and Tamarindo Beach. They’re easier to get to and easier to dive from for beginners.


best scuba diving in costa rica
You can go scuba diving in Costa Rica from Jaco beach


Best on the Atlantic Coast/Caribbean Side


The best diving on the Caribbean side is in the south. The landscape is quite different from the Pacific Coast. You’ll find an abundance of coral reefs that are home to over 500 types of fish.


Gandoca Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge 

This wildlife refuge is one of the best spots to scuba dive. Its coral reefs attract a variety of marine life including sea turtles, manatees, and dolphins. There’s also a protected mangrove oyster bed.


The gorgeous coastline of Gandoca Manzanillo park


Cahuita

Cahuita is a national park that has one of the largest living reefs. You can find over 35 different species of coral in these waters. There are two shipwrecks ready for exploration, too. The more interesting of the two is a 1700s Spanish galleon.


Isla Uvita 

Isla Uvita is an uninhabited island off the coast of Limon. You’ll have to rent a boat to make it over, but it’s worth the trip to dive near this deserted island. There’s a sunken ship just offshore here as well.


Punta Uva 

Punta Uva has white sand beaches and clear blue waters. This peaceful beach remains undeveloped and secluded. You could have a very calm dive here.


scuba diving in costa rica
Punta Uva is a popular spot for scuba diving in Costa Rica


Isla Punta Mona

Isla Punta Mona is another quiet beach to dive from. There are tons of coral reefs and species of fish nearby.


When to Dive in Costa Rica


Costa Rica is warm year-round, so you can visit anytime you’d like. But depending on what you want to achieve while diving, some times are better than others.

December through April is the dry season, when the seas are calm and there’s little wind. This is a better time for beginners to go who want an easy dive. You’ll also benefit from a visibility of up to 100 feet thanks to the calm waters.

May through November is the rainy season in Costa Rica. You can expect rain every afternoon for an hour or two. During this season, nutrient swells bring in the sharks for feeding. If you’re an advanced diver who enjoys this kind of action, this is the best time to go.



Where Can I Go to Get Certified for Scuba Diving in Costa Rica? 


Where can you go to get certified for scuba diving in Costa Rica and how much does it cost? Great question. The answer is a bit complicated because there are different certifications available and places include different things in their courses.

There’s no shortage of scuba shops, so you can find one that works with your time and budget. Some places even offer scuba certification online for your convenience.


Agua Rica Diving Center

  • Location: Tamarindo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
  • Certification Type: PADI
  • Price: $550


Anamaya Resort

  • Location: Montezuma / Southern Nicoya Peninsula
  • Certification Type: CMAS
  • Price: $395-$495


Aquacenter Diving

  • Location: San José, Costa Rica
  • Certification Type: SSI, NAUI and PADI
  • Price: $235-$439


Buceo Gavilana Dive Centre

  • Location: Nosara y Guines, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
  • Certification Type: CMAS and PADI
  • Price: $550


Buzos de Aventura

  • Location: Playa Hermosa
  • Certification Type: PADI
  • Price: $470 – $525


Cano Divers

  • Location: Drake Bay, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
  • Certification Type: PADI
  • Price: $395


Costa Rica Adventure Divers

  • Location: Drake Bay, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
  • Certification Type: PADI
  • Price: $340


Costa Rica Dive and Surf

  • Location: Dominical, Costa Rica
  • Certification Type: PADI
  • Price: $225-$545


Curu Dive Center

  • Location: Paquera, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
  • Certification Type: PADI
  • Price: $450


Deep Blue Diving

  • Location: Playas del Coco, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
  • Certification Type: PADI
  • Price: $335 – $445


Diving Mania Scuba Gear Shop

  • Location: Rohmoser, San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Certification Type: PADI


Freedom Diving

  • Location: Samara de Nicoya, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
  • Certification Type: PADI
  • Price: Starting at $110


Herradura Divers

  • Location: Jaco, Herradura, Costa Rica
  • Certification Type: PADI
  • Price: $395 – $440


Iguana Divers

  • Location: Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
  • Certification Type: PADI
  • Price: $190-$700


Mad About Diving

  • Location: Uvita, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
  • Certification Type: PADI
  • Price: $320 – $400


Montezuma Crew

  • Location: Montezuma, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
  • Certification Type: CMAS


Mystic Dive Center

  • Location: Playa Ventannas, Costa Rica
  • Certification Type: PADI
  • Price: $385


Oceans Unlimited

  • Location: Manuel Antonio, Quepos, Costa Rica
  • Certification Type: PADI
  • Price: Starting at $115


Punta Uva Dive Center

  • Location: Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Limon, Costa Rica
  • Certification Type: PADI
  • Price: $355


Reef Runner Divers

  • Location: Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Limón, Costa Rica
  • Certification Type: PADI


Rich Coast Diving

  • Location: Playas del Coco, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
  • Certification Type: PADI
  • Price: Starting at $75


Rocket Frog Divers

  • Location: Playa Ocotal, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
  • Certification Type: PADI
  • Price: $295 – $475


Sirenas Diving

  • Location: Playas del Coco, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
  • Certification Type: PADI


Tamarindo Diving Center

  • Location: Tamarindo, Guanacaste,
  • Certification Type: PADI
  • Price: $450 – $500



If you’re curious about the difference in the types of certification, check out this explanation. PADI, CMAS, SSI, and NAUI are simply different organizations that all offer comparable services.

PADI and SSI are more widespread, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re better.

The more important thing, if you’re a beginner, is to choose an instructor that you like and feel you can learn from.


Conclusion – Best Scuba Diving In Costa Rica


No matter where you choose to vacation in Costa Rica, you’re going to have a blast. It’s an extremely beautiful country, with an abundance of exotic wildlife on land and at sea.

Its tropical climate makes it a fantastic choice year-round for vacation fun, especially if you love to scuba dive. There’s no shortage of excellent dive spots, so you’ll easily find one within your budget that works with your schedule. Don’t hesitate to dive into the fun and adventure!


Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.