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Diving at Coco Beach, Costa Rica

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

Since getting certified as an instructor in Vietnam, and being back in the states, I’ve made a commitment to myself to go on at least one dive trip a year. I refuse to get in the cold Washington and California waters so that means I need to fly to warmer waters to get my dive fix. I chose to head down to Costa Rica as I haven’t dived in Central American waters nor been to Costa Rica, so off I went for a quick trip during Thanksgiving break and spent 3 days diving with Rich Coast Diving.


Coco Beach is not to be confused with the famous Cocos Island which needs to be booked a couple of years in advance and is only accessible by liveaboard (It’s ~350 miles off Costa Rica). But Coco Beach has some beautiful diving including a handful of local dives just minutes from the beach. So if you don’t have a week to spare and just want a quick getaway to get in the water, this is a great choice!


This part of Costa Rica is known for dive sites Cats and Bats. Cat island is known for Manta Rays that can be seen from November to May. Bat Island is known for Bull Sharks which are in the area from May to November. The bull sharks moved out by the time I was there, so we headed to Cat Island to try and catch the mantas. Both dive sites are early morning starts (6 am) as it takes an hour to get out to the islands. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any mantas during either dive. We did however see an active octopus which was super cool. I’ve never seen one swimming around; I’ve only seen them clinging to or hiding behind rocks. This one was eating and changing colors in front of us. It was so awesome to witness and got to capture it all on my new Olympus TG5 camera!


The local dives didn’t have any of the big fish but they were still great dives. We got to see schools of fish, lobsters and so many nudibranchs! And since the dive sites are close to the beach (<15 minutes) you can do a 2 or 3 tank dive and still be back to the beach before 2 pm.


I used a GoPro for years but have since switched to using the Olympus TG series. I’m so happy I did and I’m kicking myself for not switching sooner! The Tough series has so many more settings than the GoPro. It can do wide and super-wide like the GoPro, but it also has a macro mode, which the GoPro fails at. There’s also a built-in flash and when coupled with the underwater housing, it makes for some beautiful photos underwater.

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