Diving in Costa Rica – for beginners and advanced.

Everything you want to know about scuba diving in Costa Rica

Scuba diving in Costa Rica is one of the best attractions offered by this beautiful country. Today we will answer all of your questions about diving in this beautiful country. Whether you are a beginner or advanced diver, here you will find the answers to your questions.

Everything you want to know about scuba diving in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is a country of relatively small size, but it can boast of a huge diversity of animals and plant species. The country has put a lot of effort into protecting nature’s treasures. In a result about 25% of Costa Rica are a protected areas.

In Costa Rica you will find many national parks that protect their natural heritage and make sure that nothing is being destroyed. This applies to the land part of the country, as well as places located under water.

And we will talk about them today, because we are most interested in scuba diving in Costa Rica!

Where can you dive in Costa Rica?

Tiny Costa Rica has access to two large water reservoirs. On the west side you’ll find the Pacific Ocean, and on the east you’ll find the Caribbean Sea. You can dive all year round on both sides of the country, but the Pacific is considered far better than the Caribbean.

On the Pacific side two jewels of Costa Rica’s underwater world lie: Cocos Island and El Caño Island. Both are part of the UNESCO World Natural Heritage, and are part of the extensive system of Costa Rica national parks.

Most dive sites in both of these locations are in a protected areas. This guarantees that you will be able to admire the natural richness in its original form.

Top 4 best diving spots in Costa Rica

Coco Island

This island is one of the best diving spots around the world. Coco Island is located in the Pacific Ocean, about 300 miles from the coast of Costa Rica.

The whole island is covered by jungle and is actually completely uninhabited. The only people who stay here are the guards of the Costa Rican Forest Service.

Scuba diving in Costa Rica - for beginners and advanced. A practical guide
Scuba diving in Costa Rica. The best diving spots in Costa Rica – Coco Island

Cocos Island is a paradise for divers and the best dive site in Costa Rica! It is a great place to see various species of sharks and manta, as well as humpback whales and huge schools of fish.

Due to its location, access to this island requires a several-day trip during you will live on a ship. Permission is required to dive near this island. Therefore, these trips are not cheap.

Supposedly, a huge pirate treasure has been hidden on this island…

Caño Island Biological Reserve

This place is a natural biological reserve and you can expect that you will meet there many species of fish, manta rays, sharks and moray eels. You can also meet dolphins and whales around the island.

Isla del Caño - practical tourist information national park
Isla del Caño – Costa Rica

Definitely one of the best diving spots in Costa Rica. It is a very good place for diving for beginners. You can read more about Isla del Caño in our other article: Isla del Caño – practical tourist information

try-dive costa rica

PADI Discover Scuba Diving in Costa Rica – Caño Island Try Dive

First time underwater? During this trip you will do two dives with an instructor.
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Diving in Guanacaste – Catalina Islands

this place is in the province of Guanacaste, which is the driest and hot part of Costa Rica. Around these islands you will find several diving spots that offer encounters with large animals, such as manta rays.

However, you must remember that sometimes there is a large current that may hinder diving.

Diving in Puntarenas – Isla Tortuga

This island is located in the province of Puntarenas. It is an excellent place for diving in Costa Rica, especially since it offers wreck diving.

You will find here three wrecks and on all of them you can dive. It is definitely a good place to dive, even for beginner divers.

I am a diver – what can I see in Costa Rica?

As I mentioned at the beginning, Costa Rica is a country full of animals and amazing vegetation. The same applies to oceans and underwater life. I will mention here only a few species of animals, which most often can be found during the dive.

  • whales – let’s start with the largest whales. Costa Rica is a place where whales come in search of warm water and to give birth to their babies. Diving with whales is not possible, but the opportunity to see them on the way to the dive site is a great attraction. You can read more about whale watching in Costa Rica here: Whale watching in Costa Rica – where is the best place?
  • Manta rays, also known as the “sea devil”, are a species of fish that attract divers with their characteristic shape and surely are a great attraction. Who would not want to have a photo with the “sea devil”?
  • various species of large fish, such as tuna, merlins, barracuda. These fish are also an attraction for people who come to Costa Rica for sports fishing. But as a divers we prefer to watch them.
whale watching tour uvita costa rica
Whales in Costa Rica

Diving course in Costa Rica

If you have decided to visit these beautiful underwater places, then you should have a diver’s license. If you are not a diver yet, you have two choices. The best idea would be to attend a diving course in Costa Rica.

If you are a person who is just thinking about becoming a diver, Costa Rica is great for you. By diving in Costa Rica you can learn all the necessary skills that a diver must know.

Become a diver!

Costa Rica is also an excellent diving destination for beginners, because of the calm and warm ocean waters. If you are a beginner diver, the best solution is to sign up for a basic diving course.

It only takes a few days, and completing a diving course entitles you to dive around the world.

Scuba diving in Costa Rica – what you can see?

Obtaining a diver’s license is also a great idea for a holiday souvenir. The current development of technology allows us to conduct part of the diving course over the Internet!

You can do all the theoretical knowledge of the diving course online with an instructor. You can find more information about the online diving course here: How to start your diving adventure without leaving your home?

Scuba diving in Costa Rica for beginners.

Scuba diving in Costa Rica for beginners

However, diving in Costa Rica for beginners is not just a diving course. You can also take a try dive with an instructor to see the beauty of the underwater world.

Only after such a try dive you can decide if you want to do the entire diving course in Costa Rica.

If you would like to learn more about diving in Costa Rica for beginners, please contact us and we will certainly give you all the information.

You can also see our diving offer for beginners: Caño Island Try Dive.

Why should you try diving in Costa Rica?

This question have many answers, just as many divers visit Costa Rica each year. So let me list a few reasons from my point of view.

  • scuba diving in Costa Rica is one of the best thing you can do. Of course, it depends on the place and time of year, but in general what you see underwater will stay in your memory for a long time. It is worth saying that Jacques Cousteau himself spoke very well about diving in Costa Rica.
  • diving course in Costa Rica is a great way to become a diver and join a large family of divers. Costa Rica offers the possibility of diving in the warm, tropical ocean waters. Believe me, there is nothing worse than cold water pouring behind the collar… In Costa Rica it’s different. Diving is always pleasant here!
  • diving in Costa Rica for beginners is also a way to explore the underwater world without having to do the entire PADI course. If you still do not know if you want to become a diver, such a try dive is just for you. It’s like taking a car for a test drive. You don’t want to buy a pig in a poke, do you?

Snorkeling in Costa Rica

Snorkeling and diving in Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, you can not only dive, but you can try other water sports. If you have not yet decided on a diving course or diving for beginners, then you can go for snorkeling. It is a great way of spending time with the whole family.

With the mask and snorkel you can look under the water surface and see underwater life. You don’t always have to go deep down to see great things underwater.

All you need is a mask and snorkel and there it is: a great day begins. You can read more about safe snorkeling in Costa Rica in our other text.

You can do snorkeling from the beach or from the boat if you want to see more distant places. One of those places where snorkeling is worth recommending is the natural biological reserve – Isla del Caño.

Is diving in Costa Rica safe?

One of the most common questions is whether diving is safe. When it comes to diving safety, you need to specify what exactly you are asking. Do you ask about the general sport and risks associated with diving, or do you ask about the safety of practicing this sport in Costa Rica?

When it comes to general safety during this sport, I can say that it is a very safe sport. Because of the potential risks, all procedures are perfectly prepared and you will learn them during the dive course.

We leave nothing to chance and always follow what we have learned in the course. Thanks to this approach this sport is a safe form of recreation. If you want to know more about diving safety, I invite you to read our other text which you will find here: Is diving safe? We will solve all your doubts!

Scuba diving in Costa Rica and safety.

Diving safety in Costa Rica is another important topic. Most dive centers in Costa Rica are run by experienced people who have the knowledge and appropriate permissions. This gives you confidence that everything will be carried out according to the procedures that are used in recreational diving.

And it doesn’t matter if you choose the largest diving center in Costa Rica or a small school hidden on the beach. If everything is done according to the standards, then scuba diving in Costa Rica will be a great pleasure for you.

Scuba diving in Costa Rica – safety rules

However, as you know, people make mistakes, not equipment. Therefore, when choosing a diving center in Costa Rica you need to check a few things. Based on our internal standards at Costa Rica Divers, I will list what you should pay attention to. At least, I always check it when I dive in one of the many best dive sites in the world.

What to look for when choosing a diving center in Costa Rica:

  • does the center belong to the well-known federation of diving instructors? This is an important question, not only because of the “logo”. Our center is a member of PADI, the largest organization in the world. For this reason, we must comply with high standards, and our activities are constantly controlled and checked by PADI.
  • is your dive guide authorized to run clients? If you dive privately, you can do it with your friend. However, professional divers are subject to different rules and this is directly related to your safety. At the dive center, the person who takes you under the water must be a professional diver with a minimum level of Divemaster. Don’t be afraid to ask, because your safety depends on it!
  • does the person who takes you under water work legally? This is a question that rarely comes to minds of diving center customers, but it is equally important. Labor laws apply worldwide everywhere in the world. This is important for the local economy as well as for your safety. In case of any trouble you would like to be sure that the responsible person will not disappear the next day, right?
  • do you have time to ask additional questions? It’s sad to say, but in some places in the world, the dive business is just a business … And of course it is understandable that every dive center is run for a profit. However, for a good diving center you should be more than just another customer. Maybe it’s a matter of attitude to the world, but for us every customer is a colleague and partner. After all, diving is a great sport, which is about experiencing beauty together.
  • are there safety precautions during the dive? This is a very important question that you must answer before you decide to jump into the water. What are the most important safety measures during the dive? For me, there is no diving without:
  1. first aid kit
  2. pure oxygen tank
  3. lifebuoy
  4. radio and navigation
  5. fire extinguisher
  6. during dives below 18m, a spare tank, which is located at a depth of 5m.

How much does diving in Costa Rica cost?

If you decided to dive in Costa Rica, then you certainly wonder how much diving in Costa Rica costs. It must be said that prices differ due to many aspects, such as:

  • the place where you want to dive – whether it is diving from shore or from a boat.
  • the amount of fees to the national park – if you want to dive in the national park, the organizer of the trip must pay a fee for each diver. This affects the final price you pay for diving.
  • the period in which you want to dive – whether it is low season or high season.
  • the group you want to dive with – do you want to join a larger group of other divers, or do you prefer a private trip
  • additional discounts on various occasions. Here I can only say about our center and the permanent promotion we have introduced. If you book 7 places, you will pay only for 6. This applies to our entire offer. Trips and diving courses. Details of the promotion can be found here: diving promotion.


PADI Open Water Diver – Diving Course in Costa Rica + e-learning

In this course, you'll learn all techniques, operation of equipment and rules in diving.
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Scuba diving in Costa Rica – prices.

In our diving center, prices also depend on the above-mentioned conditions, but in general valuable dives in Costa Rica are as follows:

  • local diving from a boat – from $ 129
  • diving around Isla del Cano – from 159 $
  • shore diving – from 90 $
  • scuba diving course – from 449 $

If you have questions about prices for diving in Costa Rica, we invite you to check our offer. If you want to know the current prices and promotions, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter. This is the best and fastest way to learn about all the latest news about Costa Rica and diving.

Scuba diving in Costa Rica – for beginners and advanced. Summary.

Diving in Costa Rica for beginners and for experienced divers is a great experience. You really don’t have to wonder any more if it’s worth it! Perhaps diving in the ocean in Costa Rica will be your first step to a great adventure.

Or maybe you will even become a diving instructor? If you have any questions about traveling around Costa Rica, diving, snorkeling or watching whales in Costa Rica, please contact us and we will gladly answer your questions.

Be sure to write us in the comment what do you think about diving and whether you plan to visit Costa Rica.

Este texto también está disponible en Español: Buceo en Costa Rica


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