Cocos Island: one of the most incredible liveaboard dive trips
Dive the Island of the Sharks
Cocos Island, located 300 miles off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, is undoubtedly one of the best places in the world to dive with large predators, as well as a number of endemic animals, such as a unique species of red-lipped batfish. But this is not a trip for beginners. With 36 hours out and 36 hours back, sometimes with swell, drift dives and almost always encountering currents and sometimes thermoclines. But the brave divers who love the adrenaline of diving will be rewarded in the form of schools of giant hammerhead sharks (a unique spectacle that can be seen nowhere else in the world like in these waters), groups of more than 25 whitetip sharks or dives with tiger sharks.
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Why Cocos Island is the ideal liveaboard destination for thrill-seeking divers
PARADISE OF BIG CRITTERS
Cocos Island is known for its large schools of hammerhead sharks (groups of up to 500 of these sharks have been documented), but in this Costa Rican island we can dive with extraordinary species such as mantas, sailfish, dolphins, turtles, many species of rays, whales, barracudas, tuna.... Lots of big critters.
DIVING WITH SHARKS
Exactly, this is the main reason why divers from all over the world make a journey of almost 2 days to get to Cocos. With up to 14 species of sharks we can dive in Cocos: Hammerhead, Tiger, Whale, White Tip, Silky, Black Tip, Silver Tip, Galapagos, Nurse... no wonder they call it the island of sharks.
Cocos Island has very strong currents in some places and great depths, making it a destination only for experienced divers with many dives behind them. This, together with its quality of World Heritage Site by UNESCO, few lives on board the boats that operate there, price and defense of the authorities, makes diving there an exclusive privilege where you will not see more than your group in the water.
When is the best time to dive Cocos Island?
As in Galapagos or Socorro Island, you will have an extraordinary dive experienceat any time of the year, although there are two different seasons. On the one hand we have the dry season, from December to April, when the sea is calmer but with less abundance of large pelagic schools. The wet season, from May to November, is undoubtedly the best. Especially in the summer you will see more big fish and the groups of hammerheads are more numerous. On the other hand, you will have more swell and stronger currents.
The water temperature varies between 24ºC and 30ºC, although there can be thermoclines, especially in the summer. A 5mm wetsuit and hood is sufficient.
WHAT CERTIFICATION DO I NEED TO DIVE AT COCOS ISLAND?
Cocos Island is a dive destination for advanced divers with a lot of experience. It is a destination of action, unpredictable, with conditions that can change, sometimes strong currents are found and the dives are between 18 and 30 meters deep.
THE CROSSING TO COCOS
Cocos Island is located 300 miles from the coast and it takes about 36 hours to get there and 30-32 hours to get back. The crossing is not easy. It is very common to have strong waves and it can be a bit heavy. We must take into account that we are in the middle of the Pacific, in areas of strong currents and winds, so it is not recommended for beginners or unaccustomed to the sea. The reward is exceptional, but it is not for everyone.
All the boats that operate in Cocos are perfectly prepared and you will have plenty of free time to prepare your equipment, read, meet the other divers... It is more than advisable to take seasickness pills and a lot of patience. The return is always more bearable, with the hangover of having dived in one of the greatest underwater treasures of the world and with time to look at and edit photos and videos.