Scuba Diving in Costa Rica
and Bat Islands (North Pacific Coast/Nicoya
Costa Rica does not only offer virgin rainforest,
fascinating volcanoes and pristine beaches but also an overwhelming
world of undersea wildlife. A a distance of 2 to 15 miles
offshore in the northwest of the country from Nicoya peninsula
the archipelago of the Catalina Islands is to be found that
consists of about 20 rocks of different sizes. A little bit
further north, Bat Island / Isla Murciélagos is located. The
exposed location of these islands guarantees an abundant variety
of sea wildlife which is hardly to be found somewhere else.
For some reason - unexplored up to now - the Catalina and
Bat Islands are a melting pot of very different undersea wildlife
and fish that usually do not occur together. With good luck,
even whale sharks are to be seen at Bat Island.
Visibility: is about 18 to 75 ft.,
and strong currents have to be expected once in a while. But
you will be highly recompensed by a spectacle that does not
allow even one minute of boredom: huge schools of snappers,
sharks, eagle mantas, turtles and barracudas are awaiting
the diver as well as an immense variety of other tropical
fish and reef wildlife. The huge mantas rays are to be seen
between November and May; and one of the giant turtle species
can be met all year round.
Water temperature: Is between 75
and 85° F; diving season is all year round since there are
no bigger rivers here that could transport stones and mud
during the rainy season and would thus affect the good view.
Between the end of November and end of February, the diving
trip to Bat Island may not always take place since at this
time of the year, a strong coastal wind from the north (Papagayo)
may hinder the boat to leave the harbor. Short term, bookings
are then switched to the Catalina Islands.
Marine Life Around Catalina Islands:
The best months for diving the Catalina Islands are December
through May, where we have seen up to 50 Manta Rays with wingspans
of 14 to 20 ft on a single dive.
Marine Life Around Bat Islands: The
optimum months for the long range trip to the Bat Islands
are March through November. Here we see the impressive 8 to
15 ft bull sharks, schools of cow-nosed rays, eagle rays and
horse-eye jacks, spade fish, pompano, snapper and Wahoo.
Marine Life on Local Dive sites: The
local dives offer many white tip reef sharks, giant schools
of grunts and yellowtails, spotted eagle rays, turtles, gigantic
stingrays, angel fish, octopus, sea horses, starfish, frog
fish and many species of eels. With some luck, you will be
able to see also whale sharks up to 35 long as well
as spinner dolphins, humpback whales, pilot whales, Orcas
and false killer whales.
Beard's Diving Safaris
The American owned and managed diving company "Bill
Beards Diving Safaris" is located at the Hotel
Sol Playa Hermosa and La Costa/Condovac Playa Hermosa in the
northwest of Nicoya Peninsula. Playa Hermosa is a small but
lively beach place with some restaurants, bars, disco and
shops along a dark colored sand beach.
There are daily two trips with 2 tank dives as well as night
dives. Along with more than 25 local dive sites within 30
minutes from the dive shop, longer range dive trips are offered
to the Catalina and Bat Islands.
Catalina and Bat Island: Dives are seasonal, a minimum
amount of divers requirement, and an additional charge that
is NOT included.
Dive Boats & Equipment: All of the boats (29
diesel custom built dive boat, 37 twin diesel boat with
lots of deck space, 10 x 34 twin 125 outboard tri-hull
pontoon) are covered. There are three compressors and rental
equipment for up to 40 divers. Oxygen, first aid, snacks,
beverages, weight belts and tanks are on all boats.
Computer diving allowed. Nitrox fills and certification
courses are available in limited numbers.
Diving Packages / Hotel Sol Playa Hermosa
- Diving: Is a two tank local morning boat dive leaving
at 8:30 AM unless otherwise specified, Includes weight belt,
weights, snacks on board, Captain and underwater guide.
- Accommodations: Are at Hotel Sol Playa Hermosa
Resort and rates are per person based on double occupancy.
Single and triple rates are available.
- Meals: Breakfast is included
- Taxes: are included.
del Caño & Peninsula de Osa
Isla del Caño and the Osa Peninsula coast are part of
mammoth (Rio Sierpe, Rio Terraba, Caño Island) marine ecosystem.
Isla del Caño is located on the South Pacific coast
of Costa Rica, in front of Drake Bay. It is a Biological Reserve,
protected under the our National Park System. It has 320 Has.
(800 acres) of land and 2700 Has. (6672 acres) of marine habitat.
The abundant marine life and coral are almost unique for Pacific
waters in Costa Rica.
The Osa Peninsula reaches out into the Pacific ocean
from southwestern Costa Rica and is described by National
Geographic as "the most biologically intense place on
earth" More than 1,000 acres of mangroves wetlands and
1,000 miles of fresh and salt water rivers, estuaries an tributaries
interact with the Pacific ocean through tides, which provides
for an incredible abundance of marine life.
Marine life: Around Caño Island you may encounter
Humpback whales, Dolphins, Reef Sharks, Giant Manta Rays,
Mobula Rays, Sea Turtles, Groupers, Snappers, Angels, Moorish
Idols, Trumpet fish, various types of Eels, Crustaceans, Huge
schools of Barracudas, Jacks, Grunts and much more.
Coral Formations: The soft and hard Coral formations
are common, but not as colorful and abundant as in the Caribbean.
There are 15 or more types of stony coral species as well
as the attendant coral eaters (star fish, mollusks and hermit
crabs) The terrain varies widely and includes 20' reefs, 50'
underwater pinnacles, canyons, walls and caves.
Dive site: The dive trips are usually a full day adventure,
leaving in the morning and returning in the late afternoon.
Visibility: The visibility varies from site to site,
but is usually no lower than 40' and up to 100' plus making
it the best in mainland Costa Rica.
Temperature Range: High 70's to Low 80's with thermo
clines at varying depths.
de Osa - Costa Rica Adventure Diving (Drake
Bay, Osa Peninsula)
This resort is a small beach front retreat located in
beautiful Drake Bay, along the Osa Peninsula among one of
the most beautiful lowland tropical forest on earth, the rooms
are clean and comfortable with a view of the Pacific ocean
and Drake Bay. It is also a PADI International Resort
Facility, offering a wide range of professional underwater
services for the recreational Scuba Diver. They are also members
of DEMA and DAN.
Package includes: Dives, weights, belt & dive
guide. "C" card and liability
release is required.
Groups and Tour Conductors: Maximum group size is
14 and One free tour conductor.(Based
on space availability for every 10-13 paid guest)
Night Dives: Are available
on a limited basis.
Dive Staff and Boats: All
boat dives are guided by certified PADI instructors
or Dive masters and all dive staff are Medic first aid and
oxygen provider certifies. The boats are small but fast, allowing
only 4-6 divers per boat up to a maximum of 8.
Equipment Rental: Top
quality Sherwood Regulators, Gauge BC's, Mask, fins
and Snorkels; Henderson 3mm neoprene wet suits are available