Costa RicaGuanacastePlayas del CocoActivities

Diving in Playas del Coco

The waters around Playas del Coco are open for diving all year long with local dive boats going out daily. The Catalinas are the best from November to May, while the Bat islands are better from May to November.

Catalina is famous for the giant manta rays, Mobula, and white tip reef sharks. Local dive sites closer to Playas del Coco offer big schools of fish, white tip reef sharks, different species of rays, nudibranchs, and more.

The Bat Islands are famous for bull sharks, big schools of fish, spotted eagle rays, and giant mantas, but at a depth of 30 m (100 ft), they require advanced diving experience.

Best Dive Companies

If you’re looking for diving tours out of Playas del Coco, we listed the top dive companies in the area below, and provide all of the contact information too.

  1. Rocket Frog Divers
  2. Rich Coast Diving
  3. Summer-Salt Dive Center
  4. Sirenas Dive
  5. Deep Blue Diving Adventures
  6. Scubacaribe Riu Guanacaste

Rocket Frog

The Pacific Express dive boat at Rocket Frog Divers is a speed demon that makes the trip down the Catalinas in half the time. Its two 250HP V6 Yamaha 4 Stroke engines allow them to leave other dive companies in their wake as they rocket out of Playas del Coco. When going to Bat Islands (Isle Murcileago) there is simply no faster way.

Rich Coast

With a history that dates back to 1993, Rich Coast Diving is one of the oldest dive centers in Playas del Coco. They are also the only 5-star PADI CDC facility in Costa Rica with a Green Star award. As in, they take great care in their diving environment and have a no glove, no-touch policy.

They cater to divers of all experience levels with tours for first-timers, those looking for simple fun, TEC diving or GO Pro! internships.

Summer-Salt

A well-established PADI Dive Center located in the heart of Playas del Coco, the staff at Summer-Salt Dive Center allow for beginners and experts to explore the wide range of dive sites in the Gulf of Papagayo.

Sirenas

A small personalized dive company with 20 years of PADI affiliation. If you’re looking for a highly customizable dive tour, then they might be worth looking into. Unlike the other dive centers in Playas del Coco, Sirenas does not have an office, and the main points of contact are phone/website and their boat parked near the beach.

Deep Blue

Designated as the first PADI Gold Palm Resort in Playas del Coco, Deep Blue Diving has been around since 1998.  Located on the corner of La Chorrera/Cangrejo their office is easily accessible via the main strip.  Their dives tours accommodate all experience levels, with more advanced tours heading out to the Catalina and Bat Islands. From Discover Scuba Diving to the Open Water Diver Course to the Divemaster Course, they also train in all PADI courses, as well as a decent selection of specialty courses.

Scubacaribe

While technically just outside of Playas del Coco, if you’re staying at the Rui Guanacaste, you’ll find Scubacaribe right on site. They are a 5-star PADI dive center and water sports center located right on the beach between the Rui Palace and Hotel Rui.

Nearby Dive Centers

If you’re taking a day trip out of Playas del Coco, it might make sense to your diving at a nearby center.

Connect Ocean

Located in Las Catalinas, which is just north of Potrero and Playa Flamingo, Connect Ocean offers lessons in both their aquatic center and in the ocean blue. They have a full range of PADI courses available that are taught in tandem with a hands-on Marine Awareness Education program.

Agua Rica Diving Center

If you’re heading to Tamarindo, Agua Rica is located on the way to Langosta, past Super 2001.  They offer a wide range of underwater services and are the only dive operation in the area that that has boats leaving from with a 5-minute walk from the main beach.

Marine Life

There is an astound amount of marine life that visits the Papagayo Gulf and surrounding areas throughout the year. Almost every month of the year but May you’re likely to see a whale, while whitetip reef sharks stay year-round, as do turtles, rays, and dolphins. Other notable species include seahorses and sailfish.

Whales

The humpback whales tend to come near the middle of the rainy season in October and stay throughout the summer season through April.  Whale sharks are quite visible from June through February, but they seem to be wary of Halloween, as they generally skip October.

The common sighting of Pilot whales normally comes from November through February with possible sightings in most other months aside from September.

TypeJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Humpback whaleLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyMaybeMaybeMaybeMaybeMaybeLikelyLikelyLikely
Whale sharkLikelyMaybeMaybeMaybeMaybeLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyNoLikelyLikely
Pilot whaleLikelyLikelyMaybeMaybeMaybeMaybeMaybeMaybeNoMaybeLikelyLikely
Possible Whalee Sightings

Sharks

The white tip reef sharks are generally visible year-round, while it’s unlikely that you’ll see a bull shark from January through May. Hammerheads on the other hand, only seem to come for visits between June and September.

TypeJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Whitetip reef sharkLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikely
Bull sharkNoNoNoNoMaybeLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikely
Hammerhead sharkNoNoNoNoNoLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyNoNoNo
Possible Shark Sightings

Rays

Eagle rays and manta rays are common sites in dive tours year-round.

TypeJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Eagle rayLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikely
Manta rayLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyMaybeLikelyLikely
Possible Ray Sightings

Turtles

Turtles pretty much love the waters in around and the Papagayo Gulf, so you’re like see hawksbills and loggerheads no matter what time of year you visit

TypeJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hawksbill turtleLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikely
Loggerhead turtleLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikely
Possible Turtle Sightings

Other Species

Dolphin sightings are pretty common all year round, while seahorses are more visible from January through May. Seeing sailfish is also very like most of the year other than September through November during the rainy season.

TypeJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
DolphinLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikely
SeahorseLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyMaybeMaybeMaybeMaybeMaybeMaybeMaybe
SailfishLikelyLikelyLikelyLikelyMaybeLikelyLikelyLikelyNoNoNoLikely
Other Possible Sightings

Quick Facts

Here are some quick facts about diving off the coast of Guanacaste near Playa del Coco.

Seasons

You can dive all year round here, even during the rainy season. Typically from November to May, it’s best to visit the Catalina Islands, while from May through November, the Bat Islands are better.

What to See

The most notable marine life you’ll find near Playas del Coco are whales, dolphins, sharks, rays, and green sea turtles. You’re also likely to see many fish and big schools wherever you dive. At different times of the year, you might also find yourself up close and personal with gorgeous seahorses and sailfish.

Visibility

The visibility can vary from 12 – 30 meters depending on the weather and the dive site you’re visiting. The average visibility is 18 meters, but during May through November, this generally requires a dive of 30 m (100ft) to achieve.

Water Temperature

From January through March the water is a balmy 27°C/80°F while from July through September it’s a little warmer at 28°C/82°F

Currents

The currents in and around the Papagayo Gulf range from mild to medium.

Average Depth

Depending on which dive site you visit, the average depth will be from 5 to 40 meters.

Recommended Equipment

When diving in and around Playa del Coco, only normal scuba equipment is required with a 2 or 3 mm wetsuit.