Scuba Destination Spotlight #5: Cocos Island, Costa Rica

This week’s scuba diving destination spotlight is Cocos Island, on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. This incredible island, where the latest “Jurassic Park” was filmed, was once available to only the hard core divers, but is now getting more and more popular and sought after. Is this the new Galapagos Islands?

Just like Galapagos in Ecuador, Cocos Islands has an abundance of whale sharks, hammerheads and many more large pelagic.

Scuba Diving Cocos Island, Costa Rica

scuba diving Cocos Island

There is no people aloud on Cocos Island, except for a few park rangers that live on the island, so the only option for scuba diving the great sites around the island, is on livaboard dive boats, mostly leaving from Punarenas. These boats can stay out for days at a time, offering many dives per day ay any of the best dive sites, and a trip like this is a dream come true.

Around 20 dive sites surround the island, from shallow but steep vertical walls, drift diving, to deep pinnacles down to over 130ft (40m), and blue water dives. Cocos isn’t recommended for new divers because of the conditions, but because of these conditions, such as deep currents, you are almost guaranteed to run into any number of large pelagic. The most notably being the huge schools of hammerhead sharks gliding in the drifts.

Dive sites around Cocos Island

scuba diving Cocos Island

Dirty Rock – This is one of the most popular dive sites around the island, due to loads of hammerheads, as well as countless other species of fish around the pinnacles. Incredible spot.

Manuelita Garden – Another great site, this one at the island of Manuelita, which is a submerged mountain forming an islet to the north of Cocos Island.

Manuelita Deep – Yet another sweet site for hammerheads, at the island of Manuelita.

Bajo Alcyone – This is the highlight of Cocos Island, and maybe any dive experience. Descend to 25m, and fill your view with countless hammerheads, gliding below blocking out the sun, and everywhere you look. This is an experience of a lifetime.

Dos Amigos Grande – This is the bigger of the “two friends” sites, and this one you can swim threw a huge arch, which is awesome to see underwater.

Dos Amigos Pequeña – At first you will think this is a boring site, with its barren volcanic slopes, but eventually you will run into the hammerheads, which aren’t scared of humans, and get quite close out of curiosity.

Punta Maria – At this site you will be able to see the Galapagos sharks, which get up to 11ft long, and look a lot like the silky shark, which you will probably also see in Cocos.

If there is only one spot in the world where you can go for the very best scuba diving, Cocos Island makes a awesome choice. There aren’t many places in the world that let you see so many amazing sharks, and the protection of the national park gets better each year. There is a reason that it has made out list for the best diving in the world, so make Cocos a huge priority, to experience at least once in your lifetime.

scuba diving Cocos Island

scuba diving Cocos Island


Did you see last week’s scuba destination spotlight?



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Justin Carmack
Justin is a dive master and world traveler on a mission to dive and document the top 100 dive sites in the world. In doing this he hopes to bring love for the marine environment to the world!

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