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Costa Rica has many coastal coral reefs, offshore islands, underwater caves, and rocks just off its coast, providing a haven for a plethora of aquatic creatures and excellent spots for underwater exploration. Scuba diving and snorkeling are very popular in Guanacaste, thanks to its many excellent dive sites such as the Gulf of Papagayo or Santa Catalina islands.

Costa Rica’s underwater wonders contain exotic, diverse and beautiful marine life like, giant manta rays, timid sea turtles, colorful angel fish, intricate coral formations, psychedelic sea slugs, spiny puffer fish, delicate sea fans, curious dolphins and, on rare occasions, whales.

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Though the country’s waters contain enough marine life to please the most experienced of divers, you need be little more than a curious swimmer to catch a glimpse of some of its underwater sights, since there are plenty of spots that are perfect for snorkeling. Costa Rica is also an excellent place to learn how to scuba dive, since most dive centers offer inexpensive certification courses in English that can be completed in less than a week.

The Pacific coast has the country’s best diving, with less coral, but plenty of big fish. The most popular Pacific diving area is the northwest, where dive centers in Playa del Coco, Ocotal and Hermosa offer trips to several spots in the Culebra Bay (Bahã Culebra) and the Bat Islands (Islas Murciã), to the northwest, where divers often see sharks and manta rays.

sleepy-cove-scuba01Visibility varies with season and location. Generally, heavy rainfall tends to swell the rivers and muddy the waters, even well offshore. The best visibility and water temperatures in the northwest are found from June to September, though the conditions can change from day to day.

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