Diving in Cocos Island

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A week of diving in Cocos Island, Costa Rica.

Remote Cocos Island lies 375 miles off the coast of Costa Rica and is famous for its shark populations. Captained by Alberto, a very enthusiastic instructor and dive master, the liveaboard offers excellent service and thrilling diving.

After a 36 hour journey from Punta Arenas you wake up to find the birds of the island visiting the ship as if to wake you up and start diving. And that is exactly what you’ll do four times a day.

Practically there isn’t much to prepare. Just sign up for a trip and make sure you are in San Jose the day before departure. Both American Airlines and Continental serve San Jose daily via Miami or Houston. An Okeanos representative will shuttle you from your hotel to the boat and then the adventure begins.

Currents can be very strong so this isn’t a destination for beginner divers. Bring an underwater camera though, you’re guaranteed to come back with excellent shots. You might also consider putting a so called “reef hook” in your dive bag. This device which consists of a fish hook off which the sharp edge has been removed and is attached to a thin rope. Divers in Cocos island use this to attach themselves to the reef while watching the sharks swim by. It also comes in pretty handy if you are a photo/videographer and don’t have a hand to spare to hold on. A 5mm wetsuit is perfect for these waters but you might want to bring a hood as well to keep you warm, you’ll be doing A LOT of diving. Gloves are essential as you need to grab the reef and ropes at times to get to (and stay on) the site. We also recommend a safety sausages for additional visibility as waves are high sometimes and the current might take you away from your group.

There is Nitrox on board and you can take the course on the Okeanos if you need to get certified. You can learn how to dive a rebreather during the week although we don’t recommend it. Most sites have strong currents and this is not the most ideal of circumstances to learn in.

The dive sites are diverse and there is always something to see. If it isn’t the famous schools of hammerheads, its lots of silver tip sharks and marble rays. You see them everywhere. The dive isn’t over until you get back in the dinghy, we saw manta rays, and mobulas on several safety stops. You will also encounter eagle rays, turtles, moray eels and if you look very carefully the occasional stonefish.

The food is great, the crew ever so helpful and friendly and the boat never feels crowded. It is the largest one operating in Cocos Island. If you’re not diving there’s always an interesting excursion to the island. Cocos is a nature reserve and there are no inhabitants on the island except for a ranger/research station that you are very welcome to visit. When time permits take a hike to the waterfall.

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