Costa Rica: Scuba Diving in the Gulf of Papagayo, Guanacaste9 days | 8 nights


Take some time for you, relax, allow yourself to dive in the beauty of the Pacific Ocean and discover this amazing marine life.

Scuba diving in the Gulf of Papagayo (Guanacaste) is one of the most memorable diving experiences you will have during your stay in Costa Rica. The busy season in Costa Rica runs from December to March, and in Guanacaste the weather at this time of the year is absolutely beautiful; the sun shines every morning and there is a refreshing breeze in the afternoons. During these months, the most visited dives spots are concentrated around Flamingo and Hermosa Beach (local diving) and the Catalinas Islands (also called the Cats). From May to September, the diving area can be extended up to Murciélago Island, located off the coast of Santa Rosa National Park, famous for the encounters with the impressive Bull Shark.

This Costa Rica Vacation Package includes:

  • Private arrival transfers with English speaking assistance.
  • 2 nights in Parque del Lago Hotel, Standard room.
  • 6 nights in Bosque del Mar Hotel, Junior Suite.
  • Five days (two tanks a day) of local dives, dives in Catalina’s Islands and Murciélago Island (according to season).
  • Daily breakfast.
  • Lodging taxes.
  • Private departure transfer.

Not Included:

Not Included: Departure tax (US$29 per person), tips, optional Costa Rica tours, alcoholic beverages, personal expenses, air tickets to/from Costa Rica.


Day 1

Arrival to Costa Rica

Meet and greet at Juan Santamaria International Airport. Private transfer to your hotel in San José.

Night in Hotel Parque del Lago, Standard Room

Day 2

Private transfer to the Gulf of Papagayo (B)

Breakfast included in the hotel.

Private transfer to Hermosa Beach in the Gulf of Papagayo, Guanacaste (5 hours approx.).

Logistic note:

Before or during this transfer, we can include an activity such as the walking tour of the capital city or the visit to a coffee plantation.

Night in Hotel Bosque del Mar, Junior Suite

Check-in: 14:00 – Check-out: 12:00

Set in a unique front beach property, in Playa Hermosa, Bosque del Mar Hotel is located only 30 minutes driving away from Liberia International Airport. Bosque del Mar features a concept of an eco-friendly boutique hotel and offers 4 different categories: Junior Suites, Garden View Suites, Ocean Front Suites and a Penthouse. Less than a minute walk from the Costa Rica beach, Junior Suites are a great choice for families because a door in the terrace connects every two rooms. Steps away from the beach, the restaurant and the swimming pool and with a close view of the tropical gardens, the Garden View Suite features a bedroom with 2 queen beds and a living room with a sofa bed. Niromi is a great dinning place with beachfront view, offering an open-air, semi-formal restaurant. Breakfast is served from 7 a.m. and the rest of the day, guests can enjoy lunch, dinner or your favorite drink anytime you want until 10 p.m. The swimming pool and Jacuzzi area is open from 8 a.m. and restaurant staff will be around ready to serve the guests’ favorite drink at the pool or right on the beach. Other facilities and services provided are Spa treatments, 24-hour Front Desk, free internet connection throughout the property, laundry service and parking lot.

Junior Suites

These rooms are located in two-floor buildings with garden front terraces. They feature 2 queen-size beds and a bathroom, plus a separate living room with mini bar. Less than a minute walk from the beach, the Junior Suites are a great choice for families because feature two rooms.

Day 3

From Day 02 to Day 8 (B)

Six-night stay in Bosque del Mar Hotel, breakfast included.

Playa Hermosa Bay is a great and peaceful location, perfect for beach lovers, not crowded and offering gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean. With grey sands and clear waters, this beach has been given the prize of “Bandera Azul” for upholding high environmental standards and provides gorgeous scenery, surrounded by mountains and lush vegetation.

Hermosa Beach in the province of Guanacaste is a popular place to watch sunsets as you can get a full view of the sun going down for the day. The tide is fairly calm and the beach stretches for 2 kilometres. The dark grey sands contrast brilliantly with the blue waters and dark green vegetation and it is easy to observe colourful birds.

Day 4

This stay includes five days diving in the Gulf of Papagayo, the Cats and Murciélago Island, depending on the time of the year.

Pick up from the hotel: 8 a.m.

Return to the hotel: 1 p.m. approx.

It includes: Bilingual diving staff with over 7 years of experience and over 2000 dives, dive gear, oxygen equipment and first aid, cooler with cookies, juice, water and fruits.

Important to know:

  • Open Water Diver Certification required for local dives and the Cat and Advance Open Water Divers license for Murciélago Island (PADI, SSI, NAUI, FEDAS).
  • Two 45-minute dives per day, depending on the air consumption of the divers.
  • Diving is available all year round except during the month of October.

Day 5

Local Dives:

Renowned as one of the best dive sites in Costa Rica, the Gulf of Papagayo offers over 20 different sites for the practice of scuba diving. Warm and clear waters as well as an abundant marine life have contributed to this favorable reputation. The maximum depths vary from site to site ranging from 30ft (10 m) to 100 ft (30 m). Visibility varies according to the tides and currents, but generally, there is always the opportunity to see a lot of marine life thanks to the great abundance of nutrients found in the Gulf’s waters. Most dive sites are within a 10 to 20-minute boat ride away from Playas del Coco and are suitable for all levels of experience, from beginners to advanced divers. The most abundant marine species found are the white tip shark, the Eagle Ray, the Southern Ray, the trumpet fish, the angelfish, sea turtles and moray eels.

Day 6

Some of the spots that can be visited are:

Virador & Monkey Head (30-75 fl)

Virador is a low lying volcanic island hosting a myriad of life. With a shark cave at 33ft (10m) and large diamond stingrays and white-tipped reef sharks resting at 70ft (22m), this site has something for everyone. Teeming with huge schools of grunts, snapper, king angelfish, and sergeant majors.

Level: easy, sometimes current.

Monkey Head is the name of a volcanic rock that has been worn away by the ocean waters to resemble the head of a gorilla. Just a small sand channel away from Virador, this site is often frequented by large schools of eagle rays and stingrays on their oceanic journeys.

Level: easy.

Punta Gorda (15-70 ft)

Rich in corals on the shallow side of this island and rich in marine life on the deep ocean side. This side features a shark nursery in about 20ft of water.

Level: easy.

Tiburones (25-100 ft)

Rightly named for the white-tipped reef sharks that are usually found on these submerged rock pinnacles. Numerous stingrays lay in the sand parked like cars at a drive-in.

Level: intermediate, often current.​

Important to know:

  • Advance Open Water Diver Certification required.

Logistic note:

Night dives can be also organized. Other activities can also be included for non-divers passengers.

Day 7

Some of the spots that can be visited are:

Catalina’s Islands:

Diving here is a quite advanced Costa Rica tour due to the strong currents. The water temperature is between 75 and 85 F. These islands attract rays, sharks, angelfishes, snappers, octopus as well as many species of eel. Manta rays are most commonly seen at the Catalina Islands between December and April. If luck is on your side, you may even see whale sharks, spinner dolphins, humpback whales, pilot whales, orcas, false killer whales and schools of hundreds of mobulas or cow-nosed rays.

Some of the most popular dive sites surrounding the Catalina’s Islands include Big Cupcake, where you can swim alongside schools of angelfish, as well as Little Cupcake, where parrotfish are abundant. Dirty Rock is popular for its great visibility, whereas Two Hats is the go-to destination for incredible wall diving. Challenge yourself at Big Catalina, where white-tip reef sharks and giant manta rays are spotted.

Important to know:

Open Water Diver Certification required (PADI, SSI, NAUI, FEDAS).

Bat’s Islands:

The Bat Islands are located about 30 miles out to sea off the coast. A boat ride will take you out to this majestic dive site and on the way to the islands you may even get the first glimpse of what awaits in the crystal blue waters; dolphins, turtles and during the right season whales. The Bat Islands are located off the point from Santa Rosa National Park which is important to the Islands for the history, ecology and geology that it holds. The national park has a dry tropical forest and provides shelter to many plants and animal species. The sea turtles use this park to leave the waters and come to shore each year to lay their eggs. The location of these tropical islands allows for the amount of marine life that can be seen in its waters. The Bat Islands tend to be a gathering place for many different marine life and fish that normally do not exist together. The waters stay around eighty degrees and the outside air temperate holds a steady 85-90 degrees year-round with low humidity. Water visibility can range from 25 to 70 feet depending on the tide, where you are diving and the currents that tend to be quite unpredictable. Visibility for the Bat Islands can vary from twenty feet to one hundred feet depending on the strong currents and the waves. There are three different dive sites. One of them is called “El Gran Susto” (The Big Scare), because of the many Bull Sharks found in this area. For the underwater photographer these waters hold a majestic world.

Important to know:

  • Advance Open Water Diver Certification required.

Logistic note:

Night dives can be also organized. Other activities can also be included for non-divers passengers.


Day 8

Private transfer back to San José (B)

Breakfast included in the hotel.

Private transfer back to San Jose (5 hours approx.). Night in Hotel Parque del Lago, Standard Room

Day 9

Departure (B)

Breakfast included in the hotel.

Private transfer to Juan Santamaria International Airport (6 hours approx.). Check in at airline counter must be done three hours prior to flight departure.

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