Among the Best
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know every dive master and facility in Costa Rica and
have dove with them all! Below is a listing of the best
Costa Rica has something for everyone to enjoy!
Dive Site Descriptions
(Map Index )
J.D.'s Watersports is a fully equipped and PADI-certified dive center, and offers 14 different dive sites, most within 45 minutes of Punta Leona. While not the easiest diving in the world, diving in Costa Rica is unique. The incredible rock formations, large fish, large schools of fish, giant manta rays, turtles, and occasional whale sharks, all make it a special and unique dive spot.
We dive primarily on the east side of the Gulf of Nicoya, between Punta Leona and Jaco, including the now- famous Herradura Bay end Island. But, conditions permitting, we sometimes go across the Gulf to dive among several islands, including the world-famous Tortuga Island, and Isla de Negritos. One of our most popular dive involves a fascinating look into the lives of the white tip shark. This fresh-water inlet in a crevasse about 90-feet deep is a favorite resting place for small white-tip shark.. If you're brave enough, you can even pet them while they "sleep."
Another popular dive, 'The Garden,' off Punta Escondido, is a place teeming with all kinds of life: lobster, rays, and many colorful small fish. But perhaps our most popular dive occurs when we find a school of giant mantis. In January - March, hundreds of these gentle giants come to the waters around Punta Leona and occasionally, a huge whale shark comes to visit and swim with us. Many divers wait all their lives to swim with a whale shark and never do. It truly is the experience of a lifetime! So, come join us in the paradise of Costa Rica for a truly unforgettable diving experience!
Dive Tours Exclusive
Wall & Sea Mound Dive Sites
Be one of the first to experience new dive sites offered only by Adventure Dive Tours & Travel. As of July 1997. A new wall and sea mound have been charted, for our divers, off the Pacific Central Coast of Costa Rica. No other dive tour company has found, or dove, these sites. We will be promoting to these sites. The sites are approximately 45 minutes to one hour from shore and you will see a large variety of palagics at these virgin dive sites.
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(Playa Cocos/ El Ocotal, Guanacaste / North Pacific area)
Punta Gorda - A great spot for macro. Everything form white-tips to frog fish. Several varieties of eels in rocks. One of the few sites with hard coral. Usually grunts, sergeant majors, and stone fish everywhere. We have seen as many as 10,000 golden/cow-nosed rays on the site as well as sea-horses and occasional eagle rays. This site is 15-20 ft deep on one side of the pinnacle and drops to 75-80 on the outside, with most of the life at the top of the rocks.
'Bajo Tiburone - This is a great site for white tip sharks. We also see southern sting rays here. There are some crevices that house white-tips and squirrel fish. The top of the rock is at 20-30 ft, making the safety top interesting. We have sighted 500 to 1,000 mobulas on. many occasions lately on this site. There are 3 basic rock formations with sand channels between them.
Aquarium - This could not be a more aptly named site. Everything that is available in our area has been seen here, as well as turtles, tiger sharks, jew fish and yellow-tails. The spiraling schools of grunts are gigantic with numbers easily in the thousands. Although we generally limit ourselves to 80 ft., there are spots as deep as 130.
Virador - This is a singular rock pinnacle, 20 ft on the front side and 90 ft or so on the back side. there are horse-eye jacks, butterfly fish, grunts, sergeant majors and many other varieties of schooling fish to see here. we have also seen the harlequin/clown shrimp here as there are several varieties ot starfish. You may see white tip shark, jew fish and turtles, too.
Los Meros- This is a perfect place for a check-out or refresher dive as well as a great local dive. You will not see larger schools of grunts on any other site we have. There are also eel, octopi and nudibranchs. If you want to go deeper than 40 ft, you will have to bring a shovel.
There are to many sites to name them all, but this should give you an idea of our local sites. They are all volcanic rock formations and rock pinnacles. Visibility is 20-80 feet, with the average being 40-50 ft. There is an abundance of plankton and other nutrients which greatly affect the visibility, however, this is one of the reasons we encounter whale sharks from time to time along with the manta rays which are seen seasonally.
Long Range Sites
Catalina Islands- These are located approximately 50 min. to 1 hour from El Ocotal. We have seen white tip sharks, bull sharks, tiger sharks, and huge schools of horse-eye jacks, along with moorish idols, tangs, and many other varieties of eels and starfish. There most times non anchored dives with surge and some current. During the months of Jan-April, you will be delighted to find Manta Rays with 14 to 24 ft wingspans. We have seen as many as on6 and as many as 50 on one dive!!
Bat Islands- These are located approximately 1:45 to 2 hours from El Ocotal.
Here we go looking for the BIG Bull Sharks. They range from 9 to 15 ft in length, with some of them weighing weighing around 2,000 lbs!! The site is called The Big Scare. The large schooling fish-snapper, jacks, rainbow runners and gafftop-sail pompanos are unbelievable. Our other sites at Bat Islands also have these and more. We have sighted the giant Manta Rays here many times as well as eagle rays, and occasionally schools of thousands, yes thousands of golden, cow-nosed rays. There are non-anchored and very challenging dives. We make a day of it and stop in a wonderful area called the Refuge for snorkeling on the surface interval. This trip is a must for everyone who wants to see the best the area has to offer.
- There are too many sites to name them all but the listing below should give you an idea of the local sites. They are all volcanic rock formations and rock pinnacles. Visibility is 20%-80%, with average being 40 - 50 feet. There is an abundance of plankton and other nutrients which greatly affect the visibility, however, this is one of the reasons why we encounter whale sharks from time to time along with the manta rays which are seen seasonally.
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Cocos Island (Map Index )
Live aboards to Cocos Island: Seahunter,
Undersea Hunter and Okeonas Aggressor
Probably, you'll see only the divers who accompanied you on your adventure. Eco-minded Costa Rica largely limits activity to the live-aboards. The rhythm of Cocos revolves around three daytime dives from small pangas and a night dive off the mother ship. The drill is intense: pile into the panga, rain or shine, chug to the site, backward roll from the free-floating boat, and, after the dive, surface in sometimes-churning Pacific swells. Forget about anchor lines, expect swift currents and watch your gauges - the closest re-compression chamber is two days away in Panama City.
For topside activities, consider sea kayaking along the island's scalloped coastline beneath the waterfalls, or hike the mile-long trail between Wafer and Chatham bays. Your panga driver might shuttle you near Isla Conico to watch humpback whales breach and slap their tails.
Cocos Island Dive Sites
Manuelita Island Depth: 45 to 150 feet Skill Level: Advanced
This islet off Cocos's northeast corner features a sheer wall and deep boulders on the west side and shallow orange plate corals on the east. Lazy white-tip sharks and marbled rays are stacked atop each other on the rocks. Hammerheads venture in close for barberfish cleanings. Locate the schools of creoles - they migrate toward big-animal action - settle into the rocks, and don't move.
Dirty Rock Depth: 65 to 150 feet Skill Level: Advanced
Like diving the Grand Canyon. Half a mile off Cocos's northwest corner, this site has monstrous boulders sloping down the south side and a 100-yard-wide channel separating the main rock from a collection of pinnacles. Eagle rays soar between gaps, gorges and valleys formed by boulders, while hawksbill turtles and octopuses bop around the rocks. Look for whale sharks and mantas cruising the channel.
Shark Fin Rock Depth: Surface to 200 feet Skill Level: Advanced A mile southwest of
Punta Turrialba. This is a mammoth underwater rock with boulders hugging the southwest side and a wall on the northwest. A tornado of bigeye jacks sweeps around this site, while solitary tuna and pairs of wahoo hunt. Watch for mobila and Pacific manta rays during your safety stop.
Pajara Depth: 65 to 100 feet Skill Level: Advanced
Islet at the mouth of Weston Bay. Someone emptied a cupboard of plate corals down the south slope of this site. There's an 85-foot wall on the north side. Look for orange, muppet-like frogflsh on the wall at 55 feet and morays in the coral. Green and hawksbill turtles rotate around a pinnacle to the west.
Big Dos Amigos Depth: 65 to 120 feet Skill Level: Advanced
A half-mile off Punta Rodriguez, this islet features a 45-foot-high arch and a 60-foot pinnacle off the southeast side. Rainbow runners, yellowtail snappers and bigeye jacks stream through the arch. Cracks are packed with lobster. Hundreds of hammerheads swim between the islet and the pinnacle.
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Osa Peninsula (Map Index )
The Osa jungle is listed by National Geographic as the most bio-deverse spot on the planet. Osa Peninsula - constantly changing. From October through December, torrential rains wipe out primitive roads, transform creeks into swollen, raging rivers and nourish swift-growing foliage. Residents must vigilantly trim back the undergrowth, lest it consume them. Osa represents Central America's last stand of rain forest on the Pacific coast, and, like Cocos Island, the lack of development means pristine diving conditions. Many lodges close in the month of October and advance reservations are required at all lodges. All lodges sell out December through March, so plan ahead.
Just getting there is like something out of a Indiana Jones movie. First, catch an eight-seater plane from Pavis airport in San Jose to the tin shack airport at Palmar Sur. Then, grab a cab for the ride through banana plantations to the village of Sierpe, where you'll hop an outboard skiff heading down the Sierpe River, past yawning crocodiles and screaming howler monkeys. Your empty into Drake Bay, and, if you survive the crashing breakers, you can hang your pith helmet in one of a handful of isolated, waterfront jungle lodges.
More than anywhere in Costa Rica, you'll see color off Cano Island, an 800-acre biological preserve one hour from the coast where the diving takes place. Red and yellow sea fans and blue cup corals accent volcanic sea mounds, where mobila mantas congregate by the hundreds. Expect isolation. Even during the relatively dry period from January to April, 15 people might be diving Cano. If you don't mind a soggy topside, you'll dive virtually alone from May through September - rain rarely diminishes the 60-foot visibility
Consider the upscale Aguila de Osa Inn , and not just for the dive amenities. Deluxe thatched-roof bungalows come with vaulted ceilings, sunken showers, cane-frame beds and bay views. A dreadlocked Dominican chef named Cookie serves jerked chicken in an open-air restaurant that features the jungle's most extensive CD collection - Motown to Italian opera. Fishing, kayaks and guided horseback tours. Plus Cano Island and Corcovado Park tours.
Casa Corcovado is another lovely deluxe property on the border of Corcovado Park. They offer diving through a local operator, not on site.
Jinetes De Osa is a budget PADI resort that offers diving trips to Cano Island and horse back riding tours .
For topside adventure, dodge charging wild pigs on the trails of Corcovado National Park. Or, for real wildlife, migrate to Brisas, a dance shack on the beach in the village of Agujitas, where locals travel for miles by skiff and horseback to salsa, cumbia and meringue all night.
Cano Island Dive Sites
Bajo del Diablo - Depth: 20 to 80 feet Skill Level: Intermediate
"Under the Devil" - Volcanic mounds and canyons are patrolled by white-tip reef and bull sharks. Barberfish and king angels groom needlefish. Remember to look up - hundreds of mobila mantas fly overhead, silhouetted by sunlight.
Paraiso -Depth: 65 to 70 feet Skill Level: Intermediate
"Paradise" - Drop in on hundreds of circling barracuda eyeing schools of horse-eye jacks. Four-foot amberjacks stare boldly into your mask. Five rocky mounds are separated by sandy crops of garden eels.
Cueva del Tiburon - Depth: 50 feet Skill Level: Intermediate
"Shark Cave" - seven feet high, 40 feet long - obviously houses big4oothed predators, but expect diamond stingrays and boxfish as well. Watch for pilot whales and sailfish during the safety stop.
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