Guanacaste & Bat Islands
Escape to the beautiful area of Costa Rica: Guanacaste and the Bat Islands.
Guanacaste is a province located on the pacific side of Costa Rica in the northwest part of the country. The Bat Islands are located in a protected Marine Park inside the Guanacaste conservation area. It is one of the most beautiful island chains in Costa Rica and home to a diverse dry tropical forest.
Liveaboard trips in this area includes three main geographical areas in the North Pacific of Guanacaste: Bahia Culebra and Catalina Islands Area, Cuajiniquil and El Jobo Area, and Bat Islands in Santa Rosa National Park. These areas are very diverse with an opportunity to dive with lots of species of rays, mantas, turtles, sharks, large schools of tropical fish, frogfish and other macro life. Large pelagics such as Humpback Whales, dolphin and other shcarks are seen.
If you planning a diving trip here, you should plan your visit between June until October, during the rainy season, these months are the best diving months in this area, the best visibility, the warmest temperatures, the most marine life, the smallest crowds...etc. The rain really doesn’t affect you as divers, as marine scientists study, the rains also tend to coincide with the return of the bull shark diving at the Bat Islands. During the rainy season here, the days generally are packed with sunshine until mid afternoon, then the rain come down hard for an hour or two, possibly mixed with a fantastic lightning display in the distance over the water, and then it will clear up for the night.
Typical dive sites in Guanacaste & Bat Islands
Bahia Culebra, Punta Gorda and Catalina Islands Area:
This area offers a variety of up to 20 dives including the Catalina Islands, which are located about 8 miles offshore from the shore. This area includes some of the most beautiful scenery with pristine beaches.
Punta Gorda: This is the perfect area for a check dive, the depth ranges from 4.5m to 20m. It is a shallow dive surrounding a small rock that emerges to the surface and gradually goes down to a depth of 20m. Lots of small coral fish can be observed: King Fish, Morish Idols, Mobula Rays, schools of Angelfish, Moray Eels and lots of small fish on on the coral. It is a very easy and colorful dive.
Tortuga Islands: There are three shipwrecks to visit off the Tortuga Islands. The Franklin Chang Diaz and Coronel Alfonso Monge were both Coast Guard ships that now lie comfortably below the surface within scuba diving depths. Nearby, the Caroline Star, sits a little deeper at 30 metres and is home to white-tip reef sharks and a variety of tropical fish.
Virador: This volcanic island acts like a magnet to sea life. There’s a shark cave at 10m and frequently there are large stingrays and white-tipped reef sharks at 22m. You’ll also see huge schools of grunts, snapper, king angelfish and sergeant majors.
Tiburones: You will dive to a canal between 3 different rocks, which goes down to 30m. where you will see rays, large schools of tropical reef fish, Scorpion Fish, White-tip Sharks, colorful corals, Spade Fish and much more.
Acuario: There are two large rocks you will dive around. Everything from Harlequin Shrimp, Sea Horses, beautiful corals, eels and large schools of fish can be seen.
Arcoiris: This is a large rock that emerges from the surface to 90m down. Lots of schools of tropical fish including Yellowtail Snappers, Nurse Sharks and more. A nice, wide-open panorama for diving.
Catalina Islands: The unique underwater structure is what draws divers to these islands. Look for arches and caves, plus vibrant coral growing on the volcanic rock formations. You may see several different kinds of rays and sharks as well as sea turtles.
Cuajiniquil and El Jobo Area:
Cuajiniquil is a small fisherman village, which collides with Santa Elena National Park. This area has one of the most exuberant and beautiful dry tropical rainforests in the world; it has a beautiful bay with excellent dive sites around it.
La Rueda: Dive will start at a rock and plundges to 18m. Huge schools of over 200 horse eye jacks are often seen, lots of small Yellowtail Snapper, schools of King Angelfish and the yellow Barber Fish. Guests often see urtles and Eagle rays. Very calm conditions and visibility ranged form 20 to 30 meters.
Coral Negro: Beautiful site with lots of black coral, reef fish and very entertaining to dive with lots of rays and interesting macro life, such as sea horses and frog fish.
Coral Negro 2: This site has two main rocks, depth varies form 20m to 10m and has very interesting black coral all around the site, beautiful place with excellent visibility, lots of frogfish as well as a wide variety of reef fish.
Bat Islands & Murcielago Islands Area
This is one of the most attractive places in Guanacaste, it is a small archipelago located 10 miles offshore of Santa Elena National Park, which is completely uninhabited and pristine. It possesses some of the most exciting diving in the Pacific of Costa Rica with dives that can be easily compared with the unique Cocos Island. It is home to Bull sharks, giant Oceanic Manta Rays and Nurse Sharks, it is a favorite.
Bajo Negro: This is an amazing dive site, a big vertical rock that goes from 30m all the way up to the surface. Go around the rock and you can enjoy enormous schools of various tropical fish, Snapper, Batfish, Tuna etc. Big schools of Eagle Rays and Devil Rays are often observed. Oceanic Mantas and large pelagic fish frequent the area. It offers a large diversity of ocean life.
The Big Scare (el gran susto): This dive site drops to more than 30 metres and can have a strong current. Where you have the chance to watch the mighty Bull Sharks roaming by, hence the name ‘The Big Scare’. When conditions are right, in this famous site, these curious beasts congregate on the sandy bottom area around 22m and swim by the divers making it a very exhilarating dive. You’ll also have the chance to spot other large pelagics like manta rays, sailfish and the occasional whale or dolphin.
Los Arcos: A dive next to a cliff in an exposed rock at the limits of the protected area. Divers will dive down 70 ft next to the rocks until you reach a big wide arch which gives the site its name. Divers can swim through and observe large schools of fish, Devil Rays, Nurse Sharks and more. It is a very nice scenic dive.