The Best Snorkel Spots in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has never been known for its snorkelling sites, and it will never have the world class areas of Belize or Honduras. However, the beaches and sea life of this amazing country have their own unique charm. The warm turquoise waters are filled with bright tropical fish, small areas of reef, sea horses and even a few whale sharks and dolphins!

One thing you need to take note of when snorkelling in Costa Rica is the time of year. During the wet season, the waters can become rather wild, and visibility can drop down to only 10 feet. The best time of year to snorkel is from September to October when the weather is clear and the tide is low.

Isla Caño

Reef sharks.

Reef sharks. Photo credit: shutterstock

Caños Island is Costa Rica’s most popular snorkelling spot. The waters surrounding the beautiful little island are clear, warm and teeming with wildlife. It’s common to see puffers, snappers, barracuda and king angelfish happily swimming around the island. As there’s a small reef to one side of the island, there are also frequent reports of eagle rays, turtles and even reef sharks. Isla Caño is a must see site for anyone in Costa Rica that has an interest in snorkelling.

Manzanillo-Gonduca Wildlife Refuge

One of the snorkelling spots: Manzanillo-Gandoca Refuge.

Manzanillo-Gandoca Refuge. Photo credit: shutterstock

Another extremely popular snorkel and dive site, on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, is the Manzanillo-Gonduca Wildlife Refuge. The cute little bays, and picturesque islands not only attract sun loving humans, but they are also the ideal spot for marine life to gather and thrive. This natural marvel also has more extreme wildlife than most of the other spots. Here you can find crocodile, manatee, dolphins and even nesting turtles from March to July. Even though the Manzanillo-Gonduca Refuge lacks the underwater flora and coral other sites have, it’s still the perfect spot for those aquatic animal lovers.

Cahuita National Park

Crab in Cahuita National Park.

Crab in Cahuita National Park. Photo credit: shutterstock

Although this national park is on the same side of Costa Rica as the Manzaniloo-Gonduca Wildlife Refuge, it’s a totally different experience. Cahuita is a protected coral reef with over 35 species of coral. But fear not, vibrant sea fans and fire coral aren’t the only things you can see here. This National Park is also home to more than 120 species of fish and 40 species of crustacean! Cahuita National Park stretches along 3.6 miles of coastline, so there are plenty of white sand beaches to enjoy between swims. One of the best beaches to snorkel from is Punta Cahuita, where you can find sea horses, schools of tropical fish and crazy coloured anemones.

Tortuga Island

Tortuga Island

Tortuga Island. Photo credit: shutterstock

This idyllic island is the stuff dreams are made of. White sand beaches lined with palm trees, cute little tiki hut restaurants, and glistening crystal clear water as far as the eye can see. Step into the water directly off the beach and you will be greeted by manta rays, gigantic marlin and elegant sailfish. Venture further out by boat, and you can snorkel amongst the playful dolphins and graceful sea turtles. Don’t let the fact that Tortuga Island sits on the Pacific side of Costa Rica fool you, snorkelling in this site is utterly magical.

Santa Teresa in Costa Rica

The picturesque beach of Santa Teresa.

The picturesque beach of Santa Teresa. Photo credit: shutterstock

Santa Teresa is a picturesque beach, largely overlooked by divers and snorkelers. However, at low tide, an Oympic swimming pool sized tide pool is formed uncovering a wondrous world of beautiful and unusual sea life. As the creatures found in the clear, warm pools are trapped there, it’s an unmissable opportunity to see fish and crustacean species living in harmony that you would never see together in the open sea. The shallow pool is also the perfect place for first time snorkelers of children to explore this colourful world under the waves.

Costa Rica is a country rich of wildlife and is one of the most environmentally friendly countries. Don’t wait any longer and make yourself familiar with the snorkel spots of Costa Rica or check out all other snorkel spots of Central America. Contact us for more information. 

 

Author: Fern Coll

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