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  1. #1
    TDF Member IainC's Avatar
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    Smile Costa Rica - Pacific Coast - Guanacaste

    The Mrs and I got in a few dives during a recent trip to Costa Rica :-)

    Brrrr! On the beach it 36C, but those deep pacific waters were a bit chilly, 22C on the surface and often down to 18-20 at depth!
    Wish I'd brought a shorty to go over the ageing 5mm, then we would have bene OK as opposed to shivering every dive :-)

    To be fair, it is not the best time of year (the main point of the trip was not diving) and talking to the diveshop beforehand they said that (much like the UK) the diving is pretty weather dependent, strong winds cause cold water upwelling and that brings lots of nutrients, but also poor vis and a distinct chillyness!

    We didn't get to the Bat Islands (too windy), nor did we go to the Catalina Islands (we could have, but as the divers coming back hadn't reported any great things compared to the local dives, we stayed local and avoided the extra fee and long RIB ride, the local boat was larger and had covered space, a cooler full of drinks and fresh watermelon and pineapple, and a head).

    Thermal issues aside, it was quite pleasant, rocky reefs, pink algae , dropping away to yellow sand - a bit like St Abbs but with pacific stingrays and thousands of puffer fish instead of lobsters and wolfies. It is alleged that if you are lucky (especially out at the islands) you can see lots of big mantas and sharks, but there were none reported whilst we were there, however we saw the big "southern rays" on every dive and a few green morays and spiny lobsters as well a round rays and butterfly rays.

    I'd happily use the dive shop again (Rocket Frog on Playa Ocotal), Nitrox available, nice facilities and reasonably well run by a US guy and his costa rican wife. Different dive sites every day, no repeats, also plenty of chance to make fun of the dive master interns, who were lovely friendly americans, but at 25dives


    Summary: not bad, but probably not the best time of year to dive Bring a 7mm or a shorty over your 5mm at this time of year or you'll freeze. If you go to Costa Rica, go see the volcanoes and the waterfalls and the crazy wildlife, it s a fabulous little country!

    Iain.

  2. #2
    Established TDF Member mark weaver's Avatar
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    Anu chance of some non diving detail? Costa Rica is one of a few places on my bucket list.

  3. #3
    TDF Member IainC's Avatar
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    Hi Mark, non diving wise..

    There is masses to do in CR, more than we could manage in two weeks, we had ot filter down what we wanted. We cut out the carribean coast and hte soutch compeltely. We flew into Liberia in the north west, not to San Jose (firect thomsons flights now fomr gatwick).

    We only saw a small part of the country. My advice would be to get some guidebooks from your local library (we did) and plan where you want to go, also hit you tube - we found local tourist guide people doing videos and also travellers who had done holdiay blogs and things.

    In terms of what we did..

    We stayed in playa coco whilst diving, and didn't do much else there, just hung out on the beach, went rockpooling and drank a lot of mint lemonade.

    We spent two nights in the arenal observatory lodge (4 hour drive up form the coast past the very scenic lake arenal), did the mistico hanging bridge park on the way, We did nature walks and a lot of casual bird spotting (we are not birders by any means but you will fins lots of htem in CR with huge papparazzi style lenses on their SLRs :-) and on the way ot next spot we went thorugh la fortuna and went ot the one of the hot springs (ecotermales, whic his small and spa like, some are more like theme parks with waters slides an lots of kids kids) and to the waterfall, which is, like many CR waterfall, quite spectacular.

    We stayed in Pital for a couple of days (off the beaten track for tourists) and went to la paz waterfall gardens and the poas volcano. we then went to Monteverde wher we went horse riding, did a xzp line things and did a lot of nature walks in the forest reserves, also we made sure to pass the quaker dairy and have ice cream every day.

    We drove ourselves, we were very glad of having a 4x4, although somehow you see the occasional ordinary car up there dirivng evne slower then everyone else, depsite the horribly pitted unsurfaced road/ track to get there.

    You can spend a lot of cash on lots of acivites but we felt every thing we did was worth the money apart from some overpriced tourist restaurants. (food in general is nice, but not brilliant). Local eats in local soda's are cheap (4) but you'll end up paying nomral UK/USA prices for food in most toursit places. Get used to rice and beans and chicken (Casado :-))

    Locals were friendly and helpful (especially if you try a little spanish) but some don't but nothing runs to time, so don't be in a rush anywhere :-)

    I could write a lot more!

    Iain.

  4. #4
    Established TDF Member mark weaver's Avatar
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    That is great. Thanks for the insight. Will re-learn some Spanish before heading to that neck of the woods.


 

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