What to Bring: Bathing suit, change of clothes, water shoes, Dramamine (for motion sickness), sunglasses, sunscreen, camera, any personal diving equipment that you may feel to be preferable to use, rather than using the rental equipment.
Cost (Scuba Diving – Caño Island tour): $175.00 USD (two separate dives for the day / each dive with one tank at 3000 PSI)
Cost (Snorkeling – Caño Island tour): $130.00 USD (two separate group tours for the day)
For scuba diving and snorkeling adventures, we highly recommend Costa Rica Dive & Surf (CRDS). The entire crew, from the office staff, the awesome dive guides and especially the boat crew are true professionals and always go out of their way to assist all divers and snorkelers to have a great experience. That is a literal statement. The CRDS team really does go to great lengths to make every diver and snorkeler to feel secure and to have a great time.
CRDS offers scuba refresher courses if you have been out of the water for an extended time and also offers PADI certification for several basic and advanced courses.
Please note that Caño Island is located within a Biological Reserve that has been established by the government of Costa Rica. There are strict limitations on the number of divers and snorkelers that are permitted to be in the water at any given time and the specific dive sites around the island are also protected and controlled to ensure that there are not too many humans in the water at a particular location. In addition to CRDS, there are multiple other dive shops that travel to Caño Island daily. Our recommendation is to therefore be prepared for these known conditions, and to register for your ideal dive date with CRDS as early as possible and provide the 50% down payment be certain that your seat on the boat is held firm.
The day of diving (or snorkeling if you prefer) begins at the CRDS Office in Uvita at 7:00 am. For the next hour you will be working with the staff to size up a wet suit, BCD, mask, and fins. CRDS always provides coffee, tea, bananas, banana bread, and fresh drinking water. The wait time is rather enjoyable, as you will have the opportunity to mentally prepare yourself for the day and to get to know your companions that will be accompanying you on the adventure to come.
Around 8:00 am or so, the group will begin walking toward the Uvita Public Beach and enter the national park at the front entrance. The payment that you have already provided to CRDS for your scuba or snorkeling adventure has been factored in to also cover the national park entrance fee.
At the beach before boarding the boat or boats – which is entirely dependent upon the number of divers and snorkelers on any given day – everyone will take off their shoes and put shoes into a big-netted bag. Then it is time to wade through the water a bit to get to the boat. One of the boat crew will assist you with a helping hand to enter the boat, as the waves can be a bit rocky at times.
From here the boat ride begins to Isla del Caño. This particular boat ride takes at minimum one hour or so. Sometimes the waves are swelling a bit larger, which makes for a bumpier ride and adds maybe 15 to 20 minutes to the travel. It is highly recommended that you take Dramamine if you happen to be prone to motion or seasickness.
Eventually the boat ride will end, and the group(s) will arrive at the island. Hanging out on the island is nice, and a welcome rest from the boat ride. This is the opportunity to use the restroom and get prepared for the fun to come. There are lots of coconut trees on the beach, and lots of good-to-eat coconuts just laying around on the ground. You will have to compete with armies of hermit crabs, but there are a lot of high-quality coconuts to choose from. One of the things that the CRDS crew must do on the island is to coordinate with the ranger station about which specific dive sites are authorized for that particular day. This list of authorized sites apparently changes daily.
From here the first dive will begin. The scuba divers will be separated from the snorkelers who will go on their own adventure. Our overall assessment is that the water around the island is generally calm and the visibility is good to great. The water itself is typically always clear and has a low sediment content, but visibility is also dependent upon sunlight, and some days in Costa Rica are heavily overcast with cloudy skies. This will impact how much light penetrates from the surface to the lower depths.
Most diving occurs in the depth range from 20 feet to 60 feet. There is an abundancy of species diversity around Caño Island. Based upon the dive trips that we have taken to date, and the written recordings in our logbooks based upon the assistance from CRDS guides to classify these species, the following sea life will most likely be seen;
This list can expand of course, as nature is not predictable. But safe to say, based upon our personal experiences, these particular species always seem to be present at the various dive sites.
It is also common to see Dolphins during the boat ride trip to the island or on the return trip back to Playa Uvita.
After the first dive ends, there will be a break for an hour duration or so. This is a good time to just relax a bit on the boat or to swim around and play in the water.
The second dive will be at a new location that had been previously authorized by the ranger station. The new site will be fairly close to the first location, so more or less the same conditions of visibility, ocean currents and specie diversity will continue for your second dive.
Once the second dive ends, CRDS will provide a meal. If you happen to be vegetarian or vegan, just notify CRDS prior to the dive date and a special meal will be provided for you. Typical meals consist of a rice dish with chicken, and some tortilla chips and a nice fruit juice drink.
After the meal and a bit of resting, the return to Uvita begins. If you are one of those people, please be certain to take another dose of Dramamine for the return trip, as several hours would now have lapsed since the morning dosage.
Upon returning to Playa Uvita and leaving the boat, everyone will then walk back to the dive shop. At the dive shop there are several outdoor showers that can be used to wash off the sea salt and grime that has accumulated on your body over the course of the day. There are clean restroom facilities at CRDS and more coffee, juice, water and maybe some banana bread, though this commodity is quite popular and typically disappears early in the day.
If you need to record the day’s events in your logbook, your CRDS dive guide will assist you with this process and then stamp and sign the logbook.
We have been very happy with the CRDS team and are always impressed with the professionalism displayed by this crew. We very much hope that your future diving and snorkeling adventures will be great experiences.
For additional reference information regarding scuba diving and/or snorkeling in Costa Rica, please review the following web sites;