It’s phenomenal. But you knew that right?
If you’ve dived in the Cocos Islands, you’d know exactly what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, let me fill you in.
Diving in the Cocos Islands is an adrenalin filled, crazily good underwater experience. This remote area is around 550 kms off the mainland of Costa Rica, which equates to 36 hours travel time and can only be done by boat. This is a great time to relax and unwind prior to launching into your next week or so of insanely awesome diving. The pinnacles rising from the sea that make up the Cocos Islands are surrounded by nutrient packed water, which attracts the huge amount of life that this dive destination is so famous for.
Cocos Islands is THE place for pelagics. I’m a sucker for big sea life. Give me sea turtles, mantas, sharks and other pelagic species over small stuff any day. Muck diving is great, and I definitely have time for the little things in a divers life (pygmy seahorses, nudibranchs and frog fish instantly make me happy as soon as I see them) but nothing compares to the feeling you get when you see a large dark shape looming out of the blue and realise there is a 4 metre wide manta ray headed your way. For any lovers of big animals, Cocos Islands needs to be on your bucket list, and it should be right at the top. Cocos Islands is where you can see schooling hammerheads, and sometimes these schools are so huge that all of a sudden it’s like someone switched the lights out as the sun gets blocked by the sheer number of sharks swimming overhead.
Cocos Islands is a protected marine park, and the island and surrounding waters are relatively untouched by human life, making it a diving haven. Cocos Islands offers a variety of different kinds of dives, and all levels of experience are catered for. From drift dives along steep walls teeming with life to blue water dives there is something for every diver. You can take things to the next thrill level by night diving in the Cocos. Imagine being surrounded by darkness, the only thing illuminating the water around you is the columns of light given off by your torches. Then you see multiple pairs of little green eyes coming out of the darkness as sharks surround you, feeding in the moonlight.
There are over 20 sites to visit in the Cocos Islands, and the fantastic thing is they are relatively close together, maximising your dive time and minimising your travel to each site. A firm favourite and a site that features on most live aboard itineraries is Bajo Alcyone. Here you’re likely to see hundreds of hammerheads and other pelagics as the swim along the submerged formations of the island.
The other great thing about Cocos Islands is there is no ‘season’. Diving is great year round. The rainy season (June to December) brings with it even more nutrients to the water, and in turn this attracts even more life to this diverse ecosystem. Dry season is when waters are calmer, and this is from December to May. It’s really up to you when you decide to visit this part of the world for a diving packed adventure!
Who to dive with?
Due to the remote nature of the Cocos Islands, the only way you can dive this location is on an overnight live aboard. These usually run for about ten days, and will take you to the best of the best sites this pristine area has on offer. Liveaboard.com offers the best price for Cocos Islands live aboards, and there is a trip to suit every budget.