What Makes Costa Rica A Great Scuba Destination
Costa Rica is a beautiful country located in Central America, nestled in between Nicaragua and Panama. Costa Rica is well known for being a leader in terms of conservation and for also being a world leader in using “Green” Energy. Over 25% of the countries land mass is protected in National Parks and the country runs on over 95% renewable energy. Most of this energy is created by geothermal energy, windmills, hydro dams, and solar farms. The country has been rewarded for these efforts in conserving land and using green energy with a huge surge in tourism over the past 10 years.
Most people visiting Costa Rica go to see the rainforests, the volcanoes, the beaches, and to raft the rivers which are set up excellent for rafting with regular releases from the hydro electric dams. What many people don’t know about is the beautiful scuba diving which exists just off the Pacific Coast of this beautiful country.
The Diving Conditions Of Costa Rica
The conditions of the Pacific are quite different than you will find in the Caribbean. The visibility is certainly not as crystal clear and the temperature does tend to be a bit cooler and more variable as you would find in the Caribbean. The wildlife you will encounter in the Pacific is also quite different then you will encounter in the Caribbean. If you are scuba diving in the Flamingo area of Costa Rica, you will be located just a short distance away from the Catalina Islands. At these islands you will have the opportunity to dive with the huge and majestic Giant Pacific Mantas. If you make the trip to the Bat Islands you will have the opportunity to dive with the powerful and often feared bull shark in a completely natural setting. There is no baiting or feeding. These sharks are here naturally feasting on the abundant schools of fish which exist in this protected marine park. Anywhere you dive in the Gulf de Papagayo you will see many different species of rays, eels, and turtles. You can also see white tipped reef sharks, sea horses, nudibranches, octopus, clown shrimp, and massive schools of various types of fish.
The Seasons For Diving in Costa Rica
There are many different micro-climates in Costa Rica. In the area where the majority of the diving takes place, the coast of Guanacaste, there are two quite distinct seasons. The dry season runs from December until early May and features next to no precipitation. The air temperatures will be in the mid-90s every day with hardly a cloud in the sky. In the “green season” (a marketing word by the tourism industry which also means rainy), the temperature will be in the low to mid 80s each day and there is generally an hour or two of intense rainfall late each afternoon. Often times this will create incredible thunder and lightning storms over the mountains of Santa Rosa National Park. A great spectacle if you happen to have an ocean view room.
The diving follows quite the opposite schedule that you would suspect from the weather. In the dry season, the water temperatures tend to be much cooler. Often in the low 70’s, sometimes ducking into the 60’s. The visibility also tends to be quite a bit less and certainly more variable. A good day for visibility in the dry season is in the 40-50 foot range. Poor days can be in the 10-20.
In the rainy season the water temperatures are generally in the mid 80’s and the visibility can reach up to around 80 feet. There are still certainly bad days where the visibility can get down in the 10-20 foot range, but you should expect around 50 feet during these months.
Saguaro’s First Ever Group Trip To Costa Rica
With the dive conditions in mind, we have announced and mostly filled our first ever group trip to Costa Rica September 1-8th of 2018. We will be staying at the All Inclusive Riu Guanacaste which is located about a half an hour from Liberia Airport (airport code LIR). The Riu itself is located on beautiful Playa Matapalo. This huge beach is mostly deserted apart from the 2 Riu Resorts located at it’s north end. There are no other developments on the beach leaving a ton to be explored. We will be doing 5 days of 2 tank boat dives with additional tanks available to those who want to spend even more time below the surface. We also offer the chance to upgrade your diving to visit either the Bat Islands ($80 upgrade) or the Catalina’s ($50 upgrade) as well on the trip. The dive shop we will be working with in the area, Rocket Frog Divers, is happy to cater to our needs for afternoon dives as needed as well as to make the trips to Bat Islands or Catalina’s.
Other Activities In The Area
What really makes this trip a lot of fun is that we are including a day to explore the Rincon de la Vieja area. On this full day adventure you will get the opportunity to visit hot springs, go on a hike, do some ziplining, and see lots of wildlife. This area is about an hour from the resort and it is included in the price of our group trip.
If you want an activity to do after a day of diving, the Riu is located directly next to Diamante Adventure Park. They have an incredible set up of zip lines and also a really cool animal park where you can see most of the wildlife which calls Costa Rica home. Plenty of mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians, and insects. Watch the Diamante Adventure Park video on the right hand side to get an idea of the zip lines!
If Costa Rica seems like a destination you would be interested in exploring both above and below the water, and you are interested in joining us on this trip, please visit our Costa Rica group trip page, and place your deposit of $300 as soon as possible.