Costa Rica is a country in Central America that is considered one of the most beautiful in the area. My experience shows that it is one beautiful country that is worth visiting. The Caribbean Sea is on the east and the Pacific Ocean on the west. From the north, it borders with Nicaragua and from the south with Panama. The area of this country is only 51,000 square kilometers.
The country is divided into 7 provinces, and the capital is San Jose. The country has two international airports – in the capital – San Jose, and Liberia. The main language spoken by the locals is Spanish. But you can communicate in English with everyone.
Costa Rica is at the forefront of the best diving spots. You can find coral reefs and wrecks here. In Costa Rica, you’ll find amazing nature and marine life such as sharks and large schools of fish. If you are a fan of deep diving, you will find places where you can do deep technical dives. Each place has its own unique atmosphere and is worth a visit.
The country, despite its small size, can boast of many types of animals and plants. This applies to both land and underwater nature. This is where we can find both tropical jungle and active volcanoes! The country has put a lot of effort into protecting nature. Currently, about 25% of Costa Rica’s area is protected. Now you only have to choose: where to go first and what to see?
My first dive in Costa Rica
I absolutely wanted to see how Costa Rica looks like underwater. Therefore, before coming, I research diving courses and offers on the local Costa Rica Divers website. So, in the beginning, we should not go to places with high current or too deep. Understand your capabilities, experience, and just relax. Because that’s what diving is all about, relaxation. It should be remembered that scuba diving is a sport that can be called extreme. Therefore, never try to dive without training. It can be dangerous. The first steps should always be taken under the guidance of your diving instructor.
What to expect from Costa Rica?
In Costa Rica, you can find many places where you can enjoy the best scuba diving experience. Diving schools can be found in the Playas del Coco area of Guanacaste, Uvita in Puntarenas, and Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean side. There is also Cocos Island, where we can go on a several-day trip. However, this is something for experienced divers.
The most famous diving spots in Costa Rica are Cocos Island and Isla del Caño. Cocos Island is part of the UNESCO World Natural Heritage. Isla Del Caño is a natural biological reserve and is under strict protection. We can count on being immersed in a world undamaged by man. It is here that you will be able to admire the richness of nature in its original form. I was counting on that.
It is worth mentioning that according to legend, Cocos Island has a hidden treasure. From 1820, more than 500 different expeditions were looking for it. So far nobody has found the treasure. And there is something to look for! The island is to contain 1000 diamonds, 200 boxes filled to the brim with jewels, and a two-meter gold figure. The value of the lost treasure is estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars! However, nobody knows its true value or it can be much more. Read more about amazing underwater finds here.
The other interesting island is Isla del Caño. It is located less than 1.5 hours from the shore. We’ll get there by boat and there are several dive sites around the island. Under the water, we can see various sharks, turtles, and rays. Sometimes, whales are also found with their young. The water temperature during the year varies between 21 and 26 degrees Celsius. We will find shallower and 30-meter dive spots. You can also visit the island and take a short walk to the viewpoint. It is a good idea to rest between diving.
In addition to these two islands, in Costa Rica, you will find many other interesting diving spots. Many of them are also islands around which you can enjoy the natural beauty. Here are two great spots;
Catalina Island – This is a volcanic island that was formed millions of years ago. The ground is rocky and we will find several great places for diving. Here, we can expect turtles, rays, and dolphins. From time to time whale sharks are being seen.
Bat island – On Bat Island, which is located in the northwest of Costa Rica, we can observe rays and bull shark. There are many more places but for me, these seemed to be the most interesting.
The underwater world around Costa Rica
Manta rays, various shark species, rays, whales, dolphins, and turtles are seen in all waters around Costa Rica. Flocks of hammerhead sharks can count several dozen pieces and make an amazing impression. You will probably spot and feel lively tuna fish swimming around you when you scuba dive. Costa Rica protects its nature very much so the diving experience will be unforgettable. Each of the places we choose will be the right one. Everywhere you will see clean beaches, palm trees, and crystal clear water.
The best part is that the beaches are not overcrowded. You will easily find a place just for yourself, and if you are lucky – a completely empty beach. Anyway, after diving, it’s always nice to lie on the beach or go for a drink to one of the bars next to the sea.
Diving course in Uvita
I decided to dive into Uvita. Earlier I had little experience and that’s why I chose the basic diving course, Open Water Diver. The course lasts 3 to 4 days. If the theory is done online, the course lasts 3 days. I preferred to do the theory at the dive center.
The most exciting was the first day of diving in Uvita. Equipment, boat, lots of fish! I was very excited. I didn’t know whether to look at fish or where I was swimming. We had to do skills and watch the instructor. I was lucky enough to see a shark during my first dive. He swam past me, looked at our group, and swam away. What an adrenaline rush. That day we did two dives near Isla del Cano.
On the second day, we also did two dives. During the first one, we had to perform the most difficult skills. We had to remove the mask underwater and clean it. I had to repeat the exercise twice. When I finished I saw a turtle. I think he was watching me. We had lunch during the break. Rice, beans and fruit, a traditional Costa Rican dish – called “Casado”. It was very tasty.
The last, the 4th dive was the most pleasant. We could relax and admire nature. Fish were swimming around us and two more sharks appeared. In the end, we were using a compass to find a boat. It was not easy. Underwater it is easy to lose orientation. Three more people dived with me and only I pointed in the right direction. I was so proud of myself!
My adventure with diving in Uvita was amazing. Previous dives were completely different. I didn’t know how to operate the equipment and I was stressed. This time I knew what to do. I also learned how the compass works. In the future, I can dive up to 18 meters. I can’t wait for more dives. I have so many plans!
Will I come back to Costa Rica?
Costa Rica is an amazing country. I spent two weeks here, and I could eternity. Everything is green, lush nature, jungle, volcanoes, diving. You will find everything you want. Places where is over 30 degrees Celsius and mountains where you should put on a jacket. Nowhere outside Costa Rica, I have met so many microclimates. I will definitely come back here again, this time in a larger group.
I always wanted to scuba dive in Costa Rica. And finally, it was amazing in Uvita. The instructor was very patient and told us how it all works. At first, I was excited about everything. With so many new pieces of information! Now I feel more experienced and confident. To be honest, now I want to do an advanced course, Advanced Open Water Diver.
I missed visiting Cocos Island but that’s reserved for my second trip to Costa Rica. Diving there and among sharks is my dream.
Thanks for reading!