Best Diving in Catalina Islands

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The Catalina‘s is a small group of islands close to the Flamingo area in the Pacific north coast of Costa Rica.

The dive site cannot be called colourful but it is definitely busy with a variety of marine life.

School of Fish, Costa Rica

Catalina Islands, Flamingo, Pacific Coast, Costa Rica. Photo Credit: Debbie Woods

I am not really a shark diving person, but this place is full of them, there are caves and swim-throughs where they are pretty much a guarantee to see white tips, often 6 – 10 in the same area.

Sharks, Costa Rica

White Tip Sharks. Photo Credit: Debbie Woods

Surge is pretty strong and I was often swinging 15m side to side whilst trying to fin in a straight line.

One of the most memorable dives there was with 4 manta rays for almost 45 mins followed by the biggest school of jackfish I have ever seen.

Manta ray in Costa Rica

Manta ray. Photo Credit: Debbie Woods

The jacks were pretty big but in a school of 100’s you could not see the end of the wall of fish in front of you.


Snappers. Photo Credit: Debbie Woods

Note: Catalina’s is the name of the island and there are no specific dive site names (not where I worked anyway). This is the most dived site of the area and always just called ‘Catalinas Island’.

  • Marine Life: 3.7/5
  • No corals as such. Sponge and algae: 2.5/5
  • Min Visibility: 5m
  • Max Visibility: 25m
  • Min depth: 12m
  • Max Depth: 30m
  • Dive Season: Year round
  • Diver’s level: OW
  • Currents: Low / Surge
  • Location: Just south of San Pedro town.

The Author: Debbie Woods is a PADI and SSI Master instructor. She dived many times at Catalina Islands while working there for 9 months.

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