The Allegro Papagayo and Occidental Grand Papagayo partner with Charlie's Adventures, a PADI DIVE CENTER, to offer their guests scuba diving packages and instruction.
The Gulf of Papagayo, located on the northwest Pacific coast of Costa Rica offers some of the most pristine and adventurous diving in the world. The majority of the diving takes place around volcanic rock formation and rock pinnacles where the surrounding plankton rich waters are home to diverse aquatic life.
These waters are especially known for attracting large species, drawing in white-tip reef sharks, bull sharks, manta rays, eagle rays and diamond sting rays. Though less frequently sited, divers may occasionally be treated to appearance of schools containing hundreds of Mobula Rays or thousands of Cow-nosed Rays. During certain times of the year, it is also possible to see spinner dolphins, humpback whales, pilot whales and whale sharks.
Diving Costa Rica is not all about the "giants." There is no shortage of colorful reef fish to be found, including huge schools of tropical fish such as jacks, grunts, yellowtail snapper, and angel fish. Searching among the rock formations, divers are also likely to see octopus, sea horse, starfish, frog fish, and many species of eels. Hard corals do not thrive in the Pacific Costa Rican waters, however soft corals and sea anemones thrive in this environment.
Most of the Gulf’s 20+ local dive sites are accessible within a 30- minute boat ride of either the Allegro or Grand Papagayo. The dives generally range from 50 feet to 70 feet with mild to moderate currents.
Some of the more popular ones are Aquarium, Surprise, Virador, Monkey Head, Punta Gorda, Baja Tiburones for normal diving and Los Meros and Escorpiones for shallow dives.
There is an abundance of plankton and other nutrients which greatly affect the visibility, (visibility is 20-80 feet, with the average being 40-50 ft.) however, this is one of the reasons we encounter so many large species. Water temperature from mid-May to mid-December is generally from 75°-78° Fahrenheit at depth. From mid-December to mid-April, water temperatures vary from day to day.
Thermo-clines are to be expected, so it is recommended that divers gear up for the possibly dips to 70° when packing their wet suits!
Trip to the Catalina and Bat Islands (Isla Catalina and Isla Murcielagos) are an absolute MUST for more experienced divers. These are the areas where you are more likely to find the larger pelagics. Whales can be spotted September through March. Visitors diving The 20 uninhabited outcrops, which make up the Catalina Islands, offer no less than 30 different Costa Rica diving spots to explore. Catalina Islands during the months of November - May may be rewarded with sightings of schooling, giant manta rays, while Bat Island hosts the white tip sharks, bull sharks and tiger sharks primarily in March - October. cow-nosed rays, and schooling jacks. There are six sites that are regularly visited at Catalina, with two of the most popular considered to include Elephant Rock and Los Sombreros. Trips to Catalina and Bat Island take approximately 2 hours each way, making these two-dive days trips an all day affair, but always well worth the journey!