Recommended Dive Site

May 28th, 2003, 08:32 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 324
Recommended Dive Site

Can anyone recommend a Dive shop and specific site to dive in the area of Tamarindo or Playa Hermosa? I will be there at the end of July and have just received my certification and would really like any information.
ewesthoff is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 05:53 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 15
there is a website for tamarindo and there is one dive shop there. they are italians of offer quite reasonably priced packages

you could also try Bill Beard's diving adventures

Enjoy !
pjd is offline  
Jun 10th, 2003, 12:42 PM
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I think Diving Safaris runs out of Playa Hermosa and is good for local dives. There's another good one up near Playa Panama (about 10 mins. from Hermosa) called Resort Divers (runs out of an Italian-owned all-inclusive). Resort divers will take you out to the Bat Islands (Islas Murcielagos) off the tip of Santa Elena - big fish; sometimes bull sharks. I have not done any dives with Bill Beard's.
Miguelini is offline  
Jun 11th, 2003, 05:02 AM
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we are using aquarica out of Tamarindo. We plan to take the trip to the Catalina Islands. The dive shop has been very accomadating to our questions via email. Looking forward to diving with them.
mku4440 is offline  
Jun 11th, 2003, 09:59 AM
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To ewesthoff, in case you've not heard, Catalina Islands diving has strong currents and is recommended for experienced divers only, so you may want to check with the dive company of your choice before booking a dive as this would not be a good choice for you.
To mku4440, I don't know what your experience is, but if not an experienced diver, you may also want to ask about that with the people at aquarica diving.

For anyone who's going diving or been diving in the area, I'd sure like to hear about it. I'm a diver too, and although I've been to CR 8 times I've never been diving because 1) it's not known as a diving 'destination',
2) I've never heard of anyone having a great dive there
3) the pictures I saw from one guys dive were not good (poor visability and very little to see).
This divers web site did not say what month he was there, (Dec-May is supposed to be best) so maybe he was there at a bad time, but even in the best of times, the average visability is only 50 feet. It looked to be only about 20' in his pictures. And while he did have a picture of one large spotted ray, that appears to be about all he saw. It's not worth the time, trouble and money in my opinion.

PLEASE post a report if you've dived in CR!
and let me know!!

Ally is offline  
Jun 11th, 2003, 01:26 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 14
I was diving in Hermosa/Panama in early March. I did 4 dives - 2 local at Palmares and Mangos; 2 farther out (about an hour) at the Bat Islands (Islas Murcielagos) called Big Scare and Black Rock. I wanted to dive the Bat Islands because many of the divers had reported seeing bull and whale sharks out there. We weren't so lucky. The current was strong but not alarmingly so. The water was cold at Black Rock. The visibility changed with depth - was neither good nor bad (the best I've seen in open water was in the Philippines; Cenote water in Yucatan, MX, is also crystal clear but that's a whole different thing). I've heard the mantas are thick as thieves in the Golfo de Papagayo during Feb/Mar, but the visibility sucks because of the plankton (which is what attracts the mantas). I posted some pics and movie clips from CR at Enjoy! Pura vida!
Miguelini is offline  
Jun 12th, 2003, 09:05 AM
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I would like to thank everyone for their help and information. For Ally, I sense negativity about CR. May I ask why? I have heard and read so many different things about CR, but the best being from a book by Jaque Coustoe who claimed that the outlying areas of CR to be the best diving in the world. I have only been a couple of times, here in the Mid Atlantic region where the water has been frigid and the the vis about 35 feet, so anything should be better. I will definitely let you know how things went. As for the time to go diving, I have also read that the best temps and vis are from May to Dec which are known as the green or rainy season. Either way, I will post my info when I return in August.
ewesthoff is offline  
Jun 12th, 2003, 12:22 PM
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To Miguelini: great pictures, thanks for posting the link. Couldn't agree with you more about the difference between travel and tourism. We are going to Costa Rica this summer for the third time and love to stay at small independent hotels there.

To ewesthoff: one person you should not suspect of negativity towards Costa Rica is Ally! She is a frequent traveller to Costa Rica and there is nobody on this board who is more knowledgeable about Costa Rica and more willing to share her experience.
Iza is offline  
Jun 12th, 2003, 04:59 PM
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Thanks for the kind words Iza!
Yes, I have NO negativity about Costa Rica! As I said in my previous post, I've been there 8 times! I AM a diver and have just not heard anything great about diving in the area, which is why I've never been diving there. I only posted info I have read and researched about diving in Costa Rica. I tend to think the area Jaques Cousteau (sp?) may have talked about..the 'outlying' area are the Canos Islands which are some 300 miles offshore and you need to take a 'liveaboard' boat to dive there as there are no hotels there. The diving there is supposed to be a fabuolus, unbelievable experience with hundreds of hammerhead sharks!
In any case, if conditions you're used to are frigid waters and only 35' vis, go for it, you'll most likely love the diving in Costa Rica! I'll be looking for your report when you get back. Hope you have a fantastic trip!
Ally is offline  
Jun 12th, 2003, 05:06 PM
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I forgot to add, although the water temps would be a little warmer from May-Dec., the best time to dive Costa Rica is actually Dec-May. There's a much better chance of seeing rays, for instance..sometimes dozens of them, in Feb.
But again, like you said, anytime would be better than what you've experienced already and I would go fot it if I were you! Have fun!
Ally is offline  
Jun 16th, 2003, 06:33 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 80
Although I'm not a diver I have an office in a local dive shop so I hear all the comments, pro and con, about diving in our area. Water visibility is the most common complaint but it can change overnight from 25 ft to 60 ft. If you have expectations of Caribbean water visibility you will be disappointed. There are over 20 local dive sites and although they are all within a 10 miles radius the visibility at one site can be terrible yet much better just around the corner due to currents.
The Bat Islands and Catalina Islands offer the best diving in the area and comments from returning diver's are positive with schools of large rays, white tip sharks, bull sharks - as Ally commented - best diving is Dec - May and the diving at these islands are for intermediate - advanced divers. This area has become a dive destination as there has to be a reason the same divers come back year after year and dive boats are full daily. I know last week 5 boats were going out daily with over 55 divers aboard and this is just one of 5 local dive shops. Take a look at Diving Safari's website as they are one of the best shops in the whole country. -

Just to add to what Iza said - Ally has helped so many people with her in-depth knowledge of Costa Rica and is a huge asset to this bulletin board.
Sailing is offline  
Jun 16th, 2003, 11:39 PM
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I dived at several sites out of Playa Hermosa (with Diving Safaris). It is true that the visibility isn't fantastic, but it was OK, and there were plenty of big fish to look at. We also took a trip out to Islas Murcielagos, where we saw some impressive rays. I would recommend Diving Safaris - they seemed quite knowledgeable and professional. Equipment was only so-so, but appeared to be well-maintained.

The best diving was at Isla de Cano, south of Bahia Drake, on the Oso Peninsula. Visibility was much better, and there were all sorts of interesting rock formations and schools of big sharks.

The world-famous Costa Rican dive location is Cocos Island, which is hundreds of miles offshore, in deep water. Friends who have gone there say that the quantity and variety of big fish was breathtaking. It was also a little scary to face endless rows of hammerhead sharks swimming several feet from your face! This is a whole 'nother level of diving, both in cost, time, and experience required.
ALF is offline  
Jun 17th, 2003, 03:29 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 80
Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste is a beautiful beach to stay, relax and have a great time. We have over 20 different dive sites to choose from and all have a large variety of life. Diving Safaris is located in Playa Hermosa and the dive boats depart daily at 8:30am for 2 morning dives and normally return around 12:30. Average max depth is 80 feet but average depth on the dive is 50-60 feet. The dives are multilevel. Visibility is average 30 to 60 feet and water temperature is 78-84F. We put a divemaster / guide with every 5 divers. One of our favorites is Virador which is a 15 to 30 minute boat ride. We have been seeing schools of eagle rays and southern sting rays, white-tip sharks, turtles, clown shrimp, sea horses and huge schools of fish.
Hope to see you soon
Earl and Bobbie Jo Gibbs
Diving Safaris
Po Box 121
Playa del Coco,
Guanacaste, Costa Rica 5019
Office 011-506-672-0012
FAX 011-506-672-0231
[email protected]

Sailing is offline  

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