For divers, the area is most famous for the encounters that you can have with the very large bull shark! However, you do not have to be a scuba diver to visit! This lush, uninhabited island is located 340 miles off Costa Rica’s south Pacific coast. Mytanfeet LLC Copyright© 2013 - 2021 - Thank you for supporting our Travel Blog. The Santa Rosa National Park fee is $15 USD per person, free for children under 9. Get Exclusive Costa Rica Travel Tips and our Free Travel Guide Straight to You! It is a little way down the coast, but as such is a little less touristy. We were really hoping to see some humpback whales as it was whale season in Costa Rica. All of a sudden, Marcy started pointing to something in front of us and we saw a large fin dip into the water. I wanted to go snorkeling. We went snorkeling as soon as we got to the islands and had an amazing experience. Water temperatures are generally a little warmer from May until November. It rained a little bit in the morning and in the late afternoon but snorkeling conditions were wonderful and we got nice weather for the greater part of the day. It was like snorkeling in an aquarium. Playas del Coco, Guanacaste, Costa Rica. For the Bat Islands excursion, we left Coco bright and early at 7 AM and got to the islands around 830 AM or so. There are also massive schools of Rays that pass through the area. Certified Divers Only Pricing: 2 tanks: $135 / 3 tanks $165 equipment rental is $30 per day. The Bat Islands are one of the most impressive scuba diving destinations in all of Costa Rica. The Bat Islands are full of marine life. As we reached the Bat Islands, it started raining a little bit so we boated around the islands for about 1 hour until the rains left and winds died down. For the trail, we walked it in flip flops but you need to be in decent shape and be able to walk up and down ungroomed steep paths and hills. Your guides will leave the boat to arrange for your … The mantas are joined by schools of their smaller relative, the Devil Ray. All Rights Reserved. Visibility ranges from 30-100 feet and can vary greatly even during the same dive. Cocos Island National Park – UNESCO-listed Cocos is what put Costa Rica on the snorkeling and diving world-map and if you’re looking for that ‘ultimate’ snorkeling destination, then you can stop looking, right now. One of the world’s top ten scuba diving destinations, Cocos Island features an amazing display of biodiversity among ethereal underwater experiences. Murciélago Island is a rocky archipelago located in the Pacific Ocean just west of Colorada Island. We saw two turtles, a nurse shark, manta rays and huge fish (jacks I think). It appears that you stop running excursions in September. The only island with access is Isla San Jose with a ranger station, camping area, bathrooms and trail access. The area has been protected as a marine preserve by the country as part of the national park. With the air  always quite a pleasant temperature in the high 80s to the mid 90s fahrenheit or 25’30 Celsius. It was breathtaking when the sun came out and we could see the crystal clear turquoise waters. Visibility also varies greatly in this location of Costa Rica. You can camp on the main island of Bat Islands for an extra $4 per person a day (according to the SINAC website). Snorkeling in Costa Rica Posted by Shilpy on October 5, 2012. Located roughly 48 km off the coast of Costa Rica and from Santa Rosa National Park, these islands feature a large variety of marine species all in one place. Hi Jim, definitely check out the scuba diving companies in Playas del Coco. July would have been better because Costa Rica receives a “little summer” where it dries up but August was nice too. Bat Islands is a seasonal dive trip from May through to October. Scuba diving trips will run excursions during those months, some only until October. The Bat Islands are one of the premiere scuba diving destinations in Costa Rica. The turtles were the same, just nibbling on some sea grass, minding their own business as we watched them go about its day. Cocos Island. One extra special thing about this national park is that even though it is open to the public, many tourists don’t visit due to the access and distance. Filed Under: Activities and tours Costa Rica. This national park is part of the Guanacaste Conservation Area World Heritage Site and it protects a plethora of unique flora and fauna. The kayaking and snorkeling experience was fun. This tiny island off the coast is a great location to spend the day, or even a weekend, and cool off. Most of the “snorkeling” spots along the coast are hit or miss depending on the conditions. Do you have a referral that I could contact to arrange a trip(s) to the Bat Islands during the time I am there? The waters in the Gulf de Papagayo are heavily influenced by the wind. I couldn’t stop taking photos and running around to every viewpoint, it was so unbelievably beautiful! I will be in Guanacaste from October 26 to November 9 and want to experience the Bat Islands either on a trip like yours or as a scuba diving excursion, or both. About Bat Island Our center makes special expeditions (seasonal) to the Islas Murciélagos (Bat Islands), an archipelago that is formed of 5 main islands. Costa Rica isn’t really known for snorkeling (think surfing instead). While most dive sites are also good for snorkeling, the best places for shallow water exploration are around the south of Coco, the area that separates the beach from Playa Ocotal. It just swam past us so nonchalantly without a second glance at us. I saw a turtle close by and couldn’t wait to jump in and snorkel! Places like Playas del Coco , Playa Hermosa, Playa Ocotal, Bat Islands and Catalina Islands are excellent for swimming with large marine creatures like manta rays, brightly colored tropical fish, sharks and sea turtles. Cano Island is located 12 nautical miles from Drake Bay. Read more about it below! The much smaller devil rays can sometimes be found in schools by the hundreds and even thousands majestically traveling through the water eating the plankton from the nutrient rich waters. This site is located at the outer most island of the chain and is where you will find the often feared bull shark which can easily reach 6 to 7 meters in length. The combination of gorgeous views, great snorkeling, wildlife, empty beaches and breathtaking mountains made it one of the most perfect days ever, even with some rain. We couldn’t wait to get onto the island and explore, but first, we wanted to go snorkel and cool off in the water. Phone: (506) 2787 0362. The only other people there were the two park rangers. But I really wanted to go. If you are in love with snorkeling, you will be hypnotized with the environment in Bat Island. Web Design and Marketing by, Costa Rica Divemaster Internship Hall Of Fame. It started raining a bit past Witch’s Rock, one of the most famous surf spots in Costa Rica. When you reach the Bat Islands you will likely be diving a dive site called Big Scare. One of the highlights are the face to face encounters with massive bull-sharks, up to 12ft/3.5m. The best visibility is usually during the months of May to November when the winds are a little less extreme. The Bat Islands in Costa Rica (Isla Murcielago) are truly a scuba diver’s paradise. The Bat Islands are a world class dive location that has been protected by the Costa Rican government. Like I mentioned earlier, the Bat Islands are boat access only and nearly everyone that goes visits as part of a scuba diving excursion. We knew that it was a long boat ride to the islands so we wanted to get there as early as possible. Bull Shark swimming at the Bat Islands in Costa Rica. From the moment we jumped into the water, we were surrounded by all of those who call the ocean home. We even had a chance to tour the island. Please enter special requests here. Due to this fact, sea conditions are evaluated daily before embarking on this adventure. 3. The water was so calm, warm and gentle and it was really nice to swim and snorkel around. The marine sector is by boat only and the land sector is difficult to get to by car as the infrastructure requires a strong 4×4 and is accessible only certain times of the year. To dive the Bat Islands you have to travel by boat about 30 miles from towns such as Coco Beach or where our dive shop is located in Playa Ocotal in the province of Guanacaste Costa Rica. Thanks to the rain, we saw a rainbow over Witch’s Rock! Another huge attraction to the Bat Islands is the Pacific Giant Mantas. We were encouraged to flip over rocks to get a view of the creatures that may be living on or under the rocks. Any other special requests regarding equipment can be entered here as well. Slipping into the Pacific waters off Costa Rica for a snorkel is a relaxing way to spend the day. Snorkeling is one of the most popular attractions for vacationers in Costa Rica. This place is the feels like a customized location for snorkeling admirers. Located around 30 miles/45 km north-west from Playas del Coco, at the most outward west-tip of the Santa Rosa National Park. Come on board and glide along the Sierpe River to the Pacific Ocean with relaxing sky and forest reflections. 2:50. Scuba diving and snorkeling at Caño Island is one of the top activities to do in Uvita and the Osa Peninsula and it was one of our favorite experiences in Costa Rica so far. The best time of the year is from May until November. We visited the Bat Islands on a day excursion with our friend who has a private boating company in Playas del Coco. Because the waters are considered a part of Santa Rosa National Park, they are protected. There are land and marine sectors and the Bat Islands (Islas Murciélagos in Spanish) are one marine sector of Santa Rosa National Park. Thanks to many years of government protection, a myriad of marine creatures call the Bat Islands home and is undoubtedly one of the best scuba diving and snorkel spots in Costa Rica. These islands are one of the only places in … One scuba diving boat stopped at the island for about 20 minutes and then left. They swam all the way over to where we were and we watched them for about 30 minutes just swimming around. Most of the divers who have joined us on the Catalina Island Tours told us that it was amongst the most beautiful dive sites to which they have ever been! As we boated past Witch’s Rock, we got a really nice surprise. The boat then will travel straight across the Gulf de Papagayo to the Bat Islands. From the coastal waters to the vast strides of the open ocean, your guide and the captain will use their eagle eyes to help you spot dolphins, turtles and whales (Jul.-Nov.) until you arrive to the shores of Cano Island. So amazing to see! The dives can also be quite deep, sometimes reaching  over 100 feet or 30 meters. The departure for the Snorkeling Tour at Cano Island is at 7;30 am. Experience the perfect place of Costa Rica’s most beautiful regions from the water on a kayaking tour of Lake Arenal, Tortuguero, Isla Damas or Manuel Antonio […] Read more. Rocket Frog Divers 2019 Rocket Frog Divers. Costa Rica: Diving the Catalina Islands. After we finished snorkeling, we walked up to the park ranger office to check in and say hi to the two guards who stay on the island full time. This is one of Costa Rica’s most popular diving and snorkeling spots. They are actually located just off the coast of Santa Rosa National Park, which is famous for it’s landscape, wildlife, as well of some famous surfing … Bull shark diving at Bat Island is a very exciting and Adrenalin loaded experience. It was the perfect spot to introduce Dad to Costa Rica's underwater playground! Snorkeling Costa Rica. From Playas del Coco, the islands are 1.5 hours one way by boat. I know Rich Coast Diving still runs Bat Island scuba diving tours through November, Deep Blue Diving runs them through October. We watched the turtles swim around us and soaked in all the stunning views until it was time to go. You just need to hire a captain who will boat out there and is familiar with those waters. Snorkeling and diving are good all year, but are best during the dry season (Dec.-April). Not surprisingly, as you snorkel or dive around Isla Tortuga, one of two islands … It was undeniably worth every penny and waking up at 5 AM! We had the entire island to ourselves, we saw dolphins, turtles, fish, a shark, manta rays and humpback whales and saw some of the most pristine ocean and mountain views in all of Costa Rica. Our trip to the Bat Islands (Islas Murciélagos) was hands down, one of the best things we’ve ever done in Costa Rica. During the summer months of December – April, it gets incredibly windy and conditions are not suitable or safe for diving/snorkeling/hiking. The Bat Island is located just a kilometer away from Baina beach of Vasco-da-Gama, and is well known for its snorkeling sites and other water sports. This collection of islands in Santa Rosa National Park is a popular experienced scuba diving destination as it is home to an abundance of amazing marine wildlife but anyone can visit to see the islands and visit the national park. We were lucky to visit these islands on a day trip from Playas del Coco and it was undoubtedly one of the most incredible things we’ve ever done in Costa Rica. 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