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Guanacaste in December

Discussion in 'Central America' started by Javony, Oct 4, 2011.

  1. Javony

    Javony Guest

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: California
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    My gf and I are taking our first vacation to the Guancaste region in Costa Rica in December. Can anyone refer a reputable dive shop, and is there any must see dive spots? Thanks in advance! We have been talking about this trip for 8 months and would like to make the most of it.
     
  2. dolesorchard

    dolesorchard Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Maine
    206
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    Costa Rica diving in Flamingo has been good by us and they are close to the Catalina Islands, the best diving in that area. El Ocotal Resort is in my opinion the best dive shop in the area, but it is a long boat ride from there to the Catalinas and is much more expensive.
     
  3. Didje

    Didje Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Montreal, Canada
    278
    8
    18
    Also check out Rich Coast Diving in Playas del Coco. They also do the Catalinas and Bats Islands trips. Highly recommended.
     
  4. ibj40

    ibj40 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Texas
    2,978
    2,532
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    Have you decided what hotel or resort you are going to book? If not, I suggest you look into the the Hilton Papagayo, and the on-site dive op, Resort Divers.
     
  5. Javony

    Javony Guest

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: California
    9
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    We have already booked the Occidental Grand Papagayo resort. Ive heard a lot about the Catalina and Bat Islands, seems like that is on the must do list? Thanks for the input
     
  6. Summer-Salt

    Summer-Salt Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Playas del Coco, Costa Rica
    32
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    When staying at the Occidental Gran Papagayo you´ll have the joice to dive with either Charlie´s Adventures who officially serves the hotel (but don´t have a dive shop there, it´s at the Allegro Papagayo), but you have little chances to make them take you to either Cats or Bats. The other options are located in Playas del Coco, about a 20min car/taxi-ride from your hotel (you´ll have to check transfer options with the dive centers): Deep-Blue Diving, Rich-Coast Diving and the Summer-Salt Dive Center. December is a nice season to visit Costa Rica and Guanacaste with lots of sun, literally no more rain in Guanacaste but still green landscapes. The diving-options might be reduced due to the Papagayo wind that starts around that time of the year and usually make it impossible to go dive the Bat Islands. Cats can be dove all year round and it does not really take more time to get there from Playas del Coco than from Flamingo (at least under normal Sea conditions).
    To me personally, the Cats are not that much better than what you can see on the numerous "local" dive sites with the exception of occasional Mantas (Dec. through April is the season to see them). But if you dive several days, it makes a nice change to see different dive spots and because of the 40min boat ride along the coast to the South...
     
  7. bkotheimer

    bkotheimer Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southern CA
    220
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    I'm in the Guanacaste region myself the first week of December and planning to dive a couple days at least. So I'm following this thread closely and hoping for great tips. What is the water temperature like during early December in the Gulf of Papagayo and at the Catalinas?
     
  8. Summer-Salt

    Summer-Salt Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Playas del Coco, Costa Rica
    32
    1
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    December is the beginning of the windy and dry season. The "dry" won´t affect the diving, but the "windy" can make the sea somewhat rougher, especially on the off-shore Islands like Cats and Bats (the Islands give shelter, but the boat ride to get there is exposed). The wind usually starts in the early after-noon and lets you enjoy the morning dive excursion in calm conditions. You will find similar conditions all around the Gulf of Papagayo: The Cats, the Bats and what we call the "local" dive sites (10 to 20min away by boat). With the wind having started (there is no exact date yet, it could also be in January only), the water temperature is likely to drop a few degrees to around 23 to 25 C or low to upper 70´s F and below the common thermoclines at a depth of around 15 to 20m / 45 to 60 ft the temperature is a bit less from 20 to 23 C or around 70 F, at some occasions it can get less. If you plan to dive several days and bring along your own gear, take a 5mm suit. The common rental suits in the area are 3mm which might be a bit chilling at that time of the year (well, you can ask for 2 suits...:-D).
    Visibility can also be affected by the wind. Don´t overestimate this factor there is always a lot to see; instead of worrying where the rock ends, just enjoy what´s around you! What lowers the viz are sediments that swell up to the coast because of the wind where tons of marine life feeds on it. Expect 10 to 30ft and you won´t be disappointed.
    O.K. "be prepared for worst-case scenario", "use apropriate exposure protection" and "have positive attitude" for better enjoyment are some tips for diving the Gulf of Papagayo and anywhere else...:-D!
     
  9. bkotheimer

    bkotheimer Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southern CA
    220
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    Thanks Summer-Salt! I'm a California diver, so 70 F is warm and 30 ft viz is gin-clear. The Flamingo area is the shortest boat ride to the Cats, right?
     
  10. Summer-Salt

    Summer-Salt Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Playas del Coco, Costa Rica
    32
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    Yes it´s the shortest ride, but I don´t think it makes a big difference to dive the Cats from Flamingo, Tamarindo or Playas del Coco in terms of time. From Coco it´s considered a "long-range" trip (about 15 miles/20km) that´s why dive centers will use powerfull speed-boats to get there just as fast -if not faster- than any other operator. But you´ll have to pay some extra and ev. wait for some additional divers to go there (depending who you dive with, operators ask for at least 2 to 4 divers).
    I´d rather let the ambiance beside the diving make you chose: Flamingo is a nice-relaxed-international Beach-Resort Community while Playas del Coco is a local-busy-fun place to stay with residents and tourists. Tamarindo is something in between and has the surfing in addition.
     

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