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Cocos Liveaboard Diving

Dive Around this Amazing Island of Costa Rica

...Good for: Large animals, hammerhead sharks and advanced divers...
...Not so good for: Wreck dives, beginners, non-diving activities, small animals...

If you are looking to escape to a remote island in the middle of the ocean teeming with pelagic action, then you will find that the island of Cocos deserves its reputation as one of the world’s finest such destinations. This is a location frequented almost entirely by Costa Rican safari boats offering liveaboard diving in Cocos Island and drawn by the promise of squadrons of hammerhead sharks, Galapagos, tiger, silky, blacktip, silvertip and whitetip reef sharks and a multitude of numerous species of rays.

This region has been afforded marine park status to protect the thriving rainforest on the island and marine eco-system underwater. With the only visitors being Cocos liveaboards, you will enjoy the peace of diving in small groups and experience many interactions with the marine life, which is largely unafraid of humans. Mobula rays even seem to mistake divers for cleaning stations as they gracefully swerve ever closer.

Liveaboard diving at Cocos Island with hammerhead sharks - photo courtesy of Avi Klapfer, Undersea Hunter
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Located 342 miles (550 km) south west of Capo Blanco in Costa Rica, the closest La Isla del Coco ever came to being inhabited was by the pirates and whalers taking shelter on their route along the Central American coast. Over 20 dive sites are located in close proximity to Cocos Island, offering you varied scuba experiences around the vertical granite walls, volcanic boulders and pinnacles. Diving in the often strong surge and currents, the lure of blue water and distance from the mainland require a certain skill level.

Bajo Alcyone is a submerged seamount, unsurpassed as the place to be treated to more hammerhead sharks than you will ever see anywhere else. The marine life at this remote site is mostly unafraid of scuba divers and the sharks and rays will swim within metres of you as they come in to be serviced at the many cleaning stations.

The large boulders and pinnacles break the surface at the very popular dive site of Dirty Rock. Below the surface the channel is calmer, protected as it is by the rock formations, making it more accessible to less advanced divers. The hammerhead sharks and marbled rays are the main attractions with large shoals of bigeye jacks followed by hunting tuna.

If you have dived several places and feel it is time to treat yourself to somewhere truly spectacular and to somewhere you can look back on all your life, then it is time to give Costa Rica liveaboard diving some serious thought. For men and women, young and old alike, Cocos has become a 'must visit' destination for keen scuba divers seeking out seas teeming with life in a place far enough from human population to allow nature to thrive in all its glory. It is therefore a very popular destination and spaces are limited. So we recommend you book many months in advance of your travel dates to avoid disappointment. For more detailed information, visit our Cocos diving website section.

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Diving Season

There is truly no high or low season for Cocos liveaboards as the island offers great diving opportunities all year round. Lying as it does close to the Equator means the weather is very changeable.

From June through December the heavy rains and rough seas carry more plankton, attracting the big fish but also reducing visibility somewhat. This is the best time to see squadrons of hammerhead sharks, whale sharks and manta rays. During the drier season from December through May there is less rainfall and the sea is calmer while still offering many pelagic sightings.

Although thermoclines can cause a drastic 43°F (6°C) drop in the water temperature, it usually ranges between 75-86°F (24-30°C). We recommend you take a 5 mm full length wet suit, hood, globes and boots on your Cocos liveaboard safari to be comfortable at all times. Above the water, the humidity is generally high and air temperature is an average of 75°F (24°C).

If you are visiting during January through early June you may want to consider a dive cruise to Caño Island. This is a destination visited by some of the liveaboards which promises more colorful dives and a mix of tropical reef fish and larger pelagics.

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Where is Cocos Island and How to Get There

Below you will find our maps of Cocos, Costa Rica and the world. More information on: how to get to Cocos.

Map of Cocos Island, Costa Rica (click to enlarge in a new window) Map of Costa Rica (click to enlarge in a new window) Map of the world (click to enlarge in a new window)

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Reef Summary

Depth: 33ft - >130ft (10 - >40m)
Visibility: 49ft - 82ft (15 - 25m)
Currents: Moderate to very strong
Surface Conditions: Can be rough and choppy
Water temperature: 75 - 86°F (24 - 30°C)
Experience level: Advanced only
Number of dive sites: ~20
Recommended length of stay: 10 days

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Useful References

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Operator websites:  Undersea Hunter


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