The Costa Rican diversity does not stop on land. Costa Rica is also famous for its impressive surrounding water, magical marine life, coral reefs, and shipwrecks. The clear sea offers excellent visibility for scuba diving and snorkeling options that suit both beginners and experts. Here are the best.
1. Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio is close to major Costa Rican Central Valley cities. With its pristine beaches, calm water, and lush forests, the place offers many adventure activities. Scuba divers and snorkeling lovers come here to enjoy the stellar views of the nearby reefs and marine life of the pacific coast. One can see schools of a wide variety of tropical fish while snorkeling. Scuba divers also get underwater visibility ranging from 15 to 70 ft.
2. Cahuita National Park
Boasting a wide variety of marine life, Cahuita National Park offers a great snorkeling opportunity to explore the living coral reef. One can start at Punta Cahuita and cover over 3.5 miles of pristine coastline. The place also offers a picturesque diving scene. The gentle water makes it an ideal scuba diving destination for beginners. Visitors can also have a glance at coatis, colorful butterflies, and white-faced monkeys here.
3. Isla Tortuga
Isla Tortuga is a vacationers’ paradise for its incredible beauty and Calm turquoise waters. The place is famous for spotting sea turtles and also boasts a wide variety of tropical fish and other marine life. One can get there by boat from Puntarenas, Jaco, or Montezuma. Enthusiasts can snorkel in the tropical water for watching the fascinating marine world. Divers can dive among shipwrecks for a lifetime experience.
4. Catalina Islands
Catalina Islands offer great scuba diving and snorkeling experience to vacationers. Located on the northern side of Guanacaste Province, it is a diving paradise with small islands. The place is famous for the wide variety of marine life present in volcanic rock formations. One can spot manta rays, sea turtles, dolphins, octopuses, etc. there. September through March offers the best visibility. One can also take a half-day diving and snorkeling tour from Guanacaste.
5. Gulfo Dulce
Boasting clear blue water and abundant marine life, Gulfo Dulce is also one of the ideal destinations for snorkeling and scuba diving. It is also a great place for watching land animals. Located off the Osa Peninsula, the reefs are full of a hoard of creatures making it one of the most popular diving and snorkeling destinations in Costa Rica. One can also watch them from a boat.
6. Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge
Many people consider it to be the best spot for scuba diving and snorkeling. It is located in Limón on the Caribbean side of Costa Rican. The place boasts everything from shallow coral reefs, to fascinating marine life, and little bays making it an ideal vacation destination. Besides these, the refuge has mangrove forests as well as dense jungles nearby. One can reach it easily from San Jose.
7. Cano Island Biological Reserve
It is one of the topmost scuba diving and snorkeling destinations in Costa Rica. It is about 10 miles off the mainland and one can see it from Drake Bay on a clear day. The place boasts a wide variety of marine life and the pristine water offers fascinating underwater adventures. One can watch devil rays, sea turtles, and white-tipped reef sharks there.
8. Playa Hermosa
This beautiful beach on the Pacific Coast draws surfers, scuba divers, and snorkelers. The water is clear and calm there and that makes the place one of the favorite places for swimming, diving, and snorkeling. One can spot dolphins, rays, sharks, etc. not far from the coast. The dive sites suit everyone from beginners to experts. Visitors can enter the water from the beach nestling in rocks for snorkeling.
9. Isla del Coco
It is famous for the magical marine beauty there. One can access it by boat trip. The place boasts a wide variety of tropical fish and marine life including dolphins, rays, etc. under the water. This Costa Rican marine park is also one of the top diving destinations in the country. It is the ideal place for adventurous scuba divers.
10. Isla Uvita
Isla Uvita is one of the premier diving destinations in Costa Rica on the Caribbean side. It boasts a great history. Christopher Columbus landed here in 1502. One can visit the place taking a short day trip from Limon. You will find gorgeous reefs and a shipwreck dive spot there. The place is full of marine life including fish, coral, and other marine animals.