These world-renowned waters explode with big animal action. Get there on a liveaboard dive boat.
Cocos Island is home to sharks — lots of them. Take your pick from packs of whitetips, squadrons of scalloped hammerheads that patrol the blue, and the ubiquitous whale sharks that make any dive the best dive you’ve ever been on. While the whitetips, hammerheads and stingrays are the highlights, divers will likely encounter a few other special sightings as well. Massive manta rays blot out the sun, and smaller frogfish peek from their reef holes. At night, Cocos shines even brighter as dozens of whitetip reef sharks are visible in the dark ocean.
The only way to access the remote island of Isla del Coco –– more than 300 miles off the western coast of Costa Rica in the eastern Pacific –– is by boat. Liveaboard diving boats depart from either the port town of Punteranas or San Jose and anchor in one of the two large bays — Chatham on the northeast side or Wafer Bay on the northwest — once you reach Cocos.
When to Go
The rainy season runs from May to November, which also happens to be the season that provides some of the best scuba diving.
Water temperatures range from 75°F-78°F from mid-May to mid-December; realize that temperatures can change and thermoclines can bring in water that’s a cool 70°. Cocos diving can have strong currents, but most of the action is shallow at 50–100 feet with visibility reaching 100 feet.