The only way to see Cocos Island is on a diving liveaboard vessel which you can board from the port city of Puntarenas in Costa Rica. Liveaboard trips usually last for at least 8 to 10 days and it takes up to 36 hours to reach Cocos Island from Puntarenas.Cocos Island, because of its heavy currents and surges, is recommended for advanced divers only. The dive sites consist of boulders, pinnacles and seamounts which rise up from the deep. There is also an opportunity at Cocos Island to go beyond recreational diver limits to become an aquanaut. If available, you can get on the DeepSee Submersible which can take you down to as deep as 1,000 feet (305 meters), often to explore a mammoth seamount called Everest. Truly a once in a lifetime experience.When packing for your Cocos Island liveaboard, be sure to bring along a 3 to 5mm wetsuit, a hood and booties. You may also wish to pack a reef hook. As a final note, you’ll want to take out divers’ insurance for your trip. The nearest decompression chamber is back in San Jose, a 36-hour boat ride from Cocos Island.
Best Scuba Diving Spots in Cocos Island
Cocos Island Sea Life
Cocos Island is most famous for its huge congregations of scalloped hammerhead sharks. These sharks come to the island to feed and also to visit cleaning stations. A particular favorite cleaner of the scalloped hammerhead shark is the black-nosed butterflyfish, otherwise known as the barberfish.Also expect to see mobula rays, manta rays, and the occasional whale shark coming to feed in the nutrient-rich waters. Along the boulders, find marble rays and spotted eagle rays hunting and whitetip sharks resting in the daytime. During night dives, whitetip sharks become active and you might be able to witness a feeding frenzy. Other sharks to look out for at Cocos Island include the Galapagos shark, silky shark, silvertip shark and if you are lucky, the tiger shark.Along with the sharks are mammoth schools of bigeye trevally, snapper and grunts.Traveling deep into the ocean in the submersible, you might be able to catch sight of the endemic rosy-lipped batfish and benthic sea creatures.
How To Get There
To reach Cocos Island, you’ll need to go by liveaboard diving cruise from Puntarenas. First, fly to Juan Santamaría International Airport in San José on airlines like United Airlines, Delta Airlines, Air Canada, Jet Blue or Interjet. Puntarenas, where your ship awaits, is about 2 hours away by car or bus.