Cocos Island, Costa Rica

Cocos Island, Costa Rica

The Cocos Island is a small island belonging to Costa Rica which is located about 340 miles off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. The Cocos Island has for years been ranking as one of the top 10 scuba diving destinations in the world. The island has around 20 dive sites which are all located quite close to the island. The depths and the difficulty of the diving ranges, however, it is regarded as a destination which is best suited for advanced and experienced divers.

Why Visit The Cocos Islands

Cocos Island is an uninhabited island, aside from the Rangers who occupy a ranger station on the island, so you will never experience crowds at any of the dive sites. The location is accessible only by liveaboard dive vessels (there is no airport on the island). The 340 mile, 36 hour journey each way, along with its price point, tends to bring out only serious divers.

For those who do take the journey to the Cocos there is a lot to discover! The island is perhaps best known for its hammerhead sightings. Hammerheads gather at the islands in huge numbers making for an amazing spectacle for shark enthusiasts. You also have the opportunity to see several other species of sharks including tiger sharks, several species of reef sharks, as well as galapagos sharks.

Aside from sharks, there are different species of dolphins and even orcas which visit the area, several species of turtles, eels, and huge schools of fish.

When To Visit

The Cocos Island is located quite close to the equator, so the temperature is always nice. Averaging around 25 degrees. There is also a large amount of rainfall each year (around 23 feet annually) which make for beautiful and lush vegetation on the island. That being said, there are two different seasons. The dryer season runs from December until May. The dryer season features calmer seas and better visibility which can reach 90-100 feet. From May until November is the rainy season. This features rougher seas, less visibility, but significantly more hammerhead action. This is the most desirable time for the true shark fanatics to visit the island and get some great shots with hammerheads like you see on the right hand photo gallery. August and September are seen as the peak two month period for visits, with the shoulder months on each side offering decent chances at sightings and also a chance for a bit calmer seas.

Diving Conditions

The water temperatures on the surface are fairly constant throughout the year, ranging from 75-84 degrees. The one major factor which you will experience in the Cocos is thermoclines. It is not uncommon for temperatures to drop to 45-50 degrees on a single dive at depth, which can be a very uncomfortable temperature if you aren’t properly suited. Most people find that diving in a 5mm full suit with a hood and boots keeps them comfortable in all conditions at the Cocos.

Price Of Diving Cocos Island

This trip isn’t for the faint of heart or for a diver on a budget. The trips tend to start at around $5500 per person, with most itineraries lasting 10 days. The trip also includes 30-36 hours boat trip each way from the port of Puntarenas in Costa Rica, which takes a full day off of diving on each end. That being said, you will be hard pressed to ever find someone who didn’t enjoy their trip to the Cocos.

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