Costa Rica may be known for its surfing beaches but let’s not forget that scuba diving is also an accessible sport.
You can find many diving shops in the northern Guanacaste area, and unfortunately, not too many in the southern region. During my stay at Playa Carillo, I had planned to dive with a shop that was a 10 minute drive away – Freedom Diving – but I found out they were closed the week I was coming for renovations!
To their friendly response of my diving inquiry, they recommended another dive shop to me- Buceo Gavilana in Playa Garza. This shop was only about 35 minutes away by car, and I was NOT going to pass up on diving.
Luckily, Didier at the dive shop informed me they were open and he’d take me diving!
I met Didier with my husband for a two tank dive at Playa Garza. Didier is Belgium and had one of his friends diving with us as well. We met him on the beach next to the bar and walked on over to take a small boat to the actual dive boat which was docked out in sea. Never have I ever gotten on a boat in such a way, but it was so fun and easy!
Our first dive was at Ojala, about a 50 minute boat ride from the coast.
This is where the current changes every 45 minutes or so. It was hit or miss for visibility and we happened to begin the dive when it was on the murkier side. At times, it would open up and the second half of the dive was much more clear with 40-60 feet visibility.
The coral was nice and there was actually quite a bit of plant life. There were many rocks and moray eels within them. You’ll see the eel in the video above.
The coolest part of the dive, and I mean TOTALLY COOLEST – was seeing this tornado of fish. It reminded me of something I had seen in magazines in the past. This time, I was the one witnessing it and in the tornado.
Our second dive was at Barro Leche. We took the boat back south-east and closer to shore. Before we jumped into the water, you could tell this water was much more Caribbean-like. It was blue-green and you can see fish coming to the surface.
By far, this dive had much better visibility! Maybe 60 feet starting in all directions. The coral reefs reminded me of the Caribbean a lot in this area. There were many fish and the water was calm. We spent about 55 minutes at this dive as we stayed at about 20-25 feet the entire time. Long and sweet it was for sure!
Overall, the experience with Didier at Buceo Gavilana was great! Scheduling the dives with him via e-mail and his website was easy. He was fast to respond to emails. Meeting him at the beach was easy too and he had the tanks and weights ready for us on the boat. The boat was comfortable, we had snacks and plenty to drink. While diving, I felt safe and afterwards, he recommended spots for us to eat good (yet cheap) lobster. For a two tank dive, it’ll cost you $80. A great deal if you got all your own gear!
*I was not sponsored by the dive shop and I paid the full fee for diving this time. All opinions are my own of course and as a frequent diver, I have to share this with all others who head down to southern Guanacaste!