Virador and Monkey Head: A Two Tank Dive Combination
Many dive sites of Playas del Coco are named after their strong resemblance to something. From the aptly named Punta Argentina, whose rocky reef descends to a long point resembling that of its South American namesake, to the popular ‘Tortuga’ Island that arguably looks like a turtle resting on the seafloor. Monkey Head is the most striking dive site on the surface and, once looking from the side, the rocky pinnacle takes the obvious shape of a gorilla’s head. A short distance away nearer to the mainland lies Virador, or ‘Turning Point’, which can be identified buy a low rocky pinnacle. It is slightly deeper.
The Monkey Head/Virador 2 tank combination is a 10 minute boat ride from Ocotal Beach. Both pinnacles are exposed to winds and currents. The current can make for an awesome drift if it’s flowing well enough but conditions are changeable and it is just as likely you will experience the diving here in very calm surface conditions.
The rocky reef of Monkey Head descends as a sloping wall of boulders to approximately 80ft/25 meters – but you can select your depth. Virador is very similar in bottom topography and has a subtle drop off at 70ft on the deeper side. You can get 90+ft out in the sand if you happen to want to go looking for surprises in the blue. It’s worth it if your air consumption is good and you can get a Nitrox tank.
At both sites giant green morays hide in their rocky dwellings, turtles mooch around looking for a sea plant to nibble, octopus slide from rock to rock squeezing into tiny holes looking for prey. The usual tropical fish families reside here: Butterfly, parrot, Moorish Idols among many. My favourite encounter is a sudden school of spotted Eagle Rays out in the blue. The cold water season brings the huge southern stingray whose diameter can reach 6ft across. Macro enthusiasts will enjoy the safety stop area upon various rocky ledges. Many nudibranch, sea horse and occasional frog fish can be spotted by the keener-eyed guide.
These dive sites are great course dive sites. It is possible to dive here at any level. Whether a beginner needing to remain at 12m/40ft or Advanced Open Water course dives to utilise the depth and current for Deep and Drift. Check out these sites as well as many others while scuba diving in Costa Rica.
Article Written by Laura Tyrell of ScubaDiveMarketing.com