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American Bill Beard was a pioneer of scuba diving in Costa Rica. Now well known to divers around the world, Bill and his lovely wife Nadine have made touring Costa Rica their lifeblood. Their company, Bill Beard's Diving Safaris, provides excellent service at a number of different lodgings in Playa Hermosa area.
For adventurous divers, Costa Rica is a year round destination. However, there are two distinct seasons, each with its own merits. The dry season runs from November to April. It will provide calmer seas, and warmer seawater in the range of 78-82 degrees Fahrenheit. The rainy season, sometimes referred to as "Green Season," runs from May to November. During the rainy season, the water temperature in Costa Rica will range from 76-80 degrees Fahrenheit and the marine life becomes even more prolific.
Located three hours from Guanacaste, Arenal is a cone-shaped volcano rising out of flat, surrounding plains. It is the most active volcano in Costa Rica. In the daytime, clouds of ash and smoke frequently billow into the sky. On clear nights, spectators are occasionally treated to eruptions of lava and burning rocks that explode into the air and shower down the cinder cone. Even when it is overcast, the rumblings, venting and molten lava glowing through the clouds afford a very spectacular experience. Near the Arenal volcano are the Tabacon Hot Springs, where you can relax after a day of hiking in the Rain Forest, and enjoy the most splendid natural hot mineral springs, pools and waterfalls.
Setting sail from Puntarenas, Costa Rica, Cocos Island is a dot of land 300 miles west in the Pacific Ocean. Remote and wild, Cocos Island rises out of deep water five degrees north of the Equator, some few hundred miles north of the equally famous Galapagos Islands. Cocos Island marine life includes schooling eagle rays, countless white tip sharks, marbled stingrays, green and hawksbill turtles, king angelfish, butterfly fishes, big eye jacks, leather bass, spotted blue jacks, trumpet fish, puffer fish, yellow and blue striped snappers, etc. Icing on the cake comes June through November when immense schools of great hammerhead sharks congregate. Yes, it is safe to scuba dive with these fabulous animals, and an experience you will never forget.
The jewel of Central America, Costa Rica has a rich and verdant flora and fauna both above and below the sea. Most of the scuba diving in Costa Rica is done on the North Pacific Coast, where large schools of fishes, cooler waters, and unusual creatures are the norm. Going live aboard diving to remote Cocos Island Costa Rica adds big animal encounters including schooling hammerhead sharks. Topside, the jungles of Costa Rica are a riot of beauty and diversity. Costa Rica touring is especially good for enjoying exotic bird life, troupes of howler monkeys, innovative jungle canopy tours and natural hot springs like the Tabacon hot springs resort, where you can relax when the day is done.
San Jose is the capitol of Costa Rica, and site of its international airport. Most air service from the USA flies into San Jose. There is a smaller airport at Liberia, in the northwest part of the country, closer to the Gulf of Papagayo where the diving is done. As diving in Costa Rica increases, the Liberia airport is served by an increasing number of international flights, as well as commuter flights from San Jose.
The Tabacon Hot Springs Resort is located near the base of the active Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica. At the Tabacon Hot Springs Resort, natural hot springs and mineral baths have been developed so that tourists may enjoy their hearth-giving properties when traveling to Costa Rica. Tabacon Resort offers hot springs, waterfalls, 12 mineral pools and an indoor Jacuzzi. Each pool varies in temperature and depth, and some vary in mineral count. With lush tropical surroundings, and the Arenal volcano in the background, Tabacon makes the perfect add-on to a Costa Rica Dive trip.
One resort in Costa Rica is the Ocotal Scuba Diving Resort and Hotel, a deluxe 4-star beachfront resort overlooking the Gulf of Papagayo. Ocotal dive resort offers an extensive variety of services including scuba diving safaris, PADI scuba diving certifications, snorkeling, kayaking, sport fishing, a health spa, romantic honeymoon packages, and even unique weddings. Ocotal Resort gets consistently high marks from its guests and has a very good repeat customer base.
Costa Rica is known today as a unique tourism destination, and not only for its marine life, but because of its many other Costa Rica activities. When the diving is done, visitors have the opportunity to explore picturesque national parks, white water rafting, big game fishing, horseback riding, bird watching, spa treatments, jungle canopy and the Arenal volcano tours, or simply breathtaking sunsets and warm star-filled nights. Above all, visitors will feel welcomed by the friendly and peaceful Costa Rican people.
Go live aboard diving in Costa Rica in Cocos Island, which may only be reached via a live aboard dive boat. The crossing is through open sea, and depending on conditions, can take from 30 to 36 hours. Seas on the crossing are sometimes rough, so this undertaking is not for the faint of heart or those prone to seasickness. Fortunately, three excellent vessels are available for scuba dive cruises to Cocos Island: Undersea Hunter, Sea Hunter, and the Okeanos Aggressor. Each has the equipment, services, and specialized knowledge to make Cocos Island accessible and enjoyable to the average scuba diver.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|