Cocos Island Liveaboards Diving

Cocos Island Liveaboards Diving

Scuba Diving in Costa Rica is renowned in the world-class sites of Cocos Island. This remote island can only be reached via a Cocos liveaboard.

The Cocos Island National Marine Park is sometimes compared to and even called the Little Galapagos. The similarity is due to its diversity and quantity of marine life resulting from the climate and position.
At 550km from the mainland, the island is only reachable by a Cocos liveaboard. Cocos Island is renowned for some of the most incredible shark diving in the world.

The Costa Rica diving along the coast and especially the Cocos Island has nutrient-rich deep water. The nutrients attract a diverse range pelagic of life making it a world class dive destination in the Pacific ocean. Hundreds of hammerheads school here along with manta rays, whale sharks and reef sharks making it a must for any shark lover.

Joining one of the deep water submarine dives can be a unique experience on the Cocos liveaboard. Diving to depths way beyond recreational limits where there are extraordinary marine creatures on the deep seamounts. Some aquatic species have even been discovered in this incredible environment. A submarine dive can be a once in a lifetime experience.

Take a look at the Liveaboard Cruise options below as well as more information on dive sites, best time to go, how to get there, water temperature & more!

Cocos Island Liveaboards Diving - 4 LIVEABOARDS

From $387 / day

Okeanos Aggressor II Liveaboard in the Cocos

The luxurious Cocos Island liveaboard, the Okeanos Aggressor I in Costa Rica.

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From $473 / day

Okeanos Aggressor I Liveaboard in the Cocos

Scuba diving in Costa Rica and the Cocos islands from the liveaboard Okeanos Aggressor.

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From $540 / day

Argo Liveaboard in the Cocos

Newest addition to the Undersea Fleet is the Argo in the Cocos Islands.

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Scuba Diving Costa Rica

Cocos Island diving is one of the top 10 best places to scuba dive in the world, described by Jacques Cousteau as “The most beautiful island in the world.” Cocos Island is the most remote liveaboard diving destination worldwide.

Costa Rica's Cocos Island was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 and diving here you can see the largest quantity and sized species of every type of Pacific fish and mammal of the area.

Best Places to Dive in Costa Rica

Cocos Island, Costa Rica is around 36 hours travel by liveaboard from the mainland, making it a remote and mostly undisturbed haven for marine life and divers alike. A protected area that has nutrient-rich waters provides a unique experience for shark diving, making the Cocos Island diving an amazing once in a lifetime experience.

Best Dive Sites in Cocos Island

Bajo Alcyone 

A seamount that is the best place to see schooling hammerheads around Cocos Island. The hammerheads arrive in their hundreds along with other pelagic life such as mobula, manta, marble and eagle rays. Galapagos, white tip, black tip reef, silky and oceanic blacktip sharks along with whale sharks give this site not only vast numbers but a great variety of shark life to see.

Dirty Rock

This is one of the most popular dives around the island due to the large population of scalloped hammerhead sharks at around 25m of depth.

The nutrient-rich water also brings in white tips, black tips, marble rays, eagle rays, mobula rays, jacks and whale sharks. If this is not enough for scuba divers, then safety stops are often completed with turtles and bottlenose dolphins.

There are two sites reachable only by submarine in Cocos Island that can be added to your trip on some liveaboards.


At 80- 90m of depth, this is a truly magical and unforgettable experience. Mobula rays, schooling hammerheads, silky sharks, tuna and giant groupers are seen around this seamount. The rare red-lipped Cocos batfish is found in the deep water. The experience of ascending up an underwater volcanic mountain to its summit is unique.

The Wall 

At 300 to 500m deep and as such has no natural light. The topography is vertical walls and ledges with overhangs and steep sandy slopes. The fish, corals and marine life are unique in this dark environment and include Jellynose fish, the goosefish, prickly shark plus some unidentified species. This is a 2-hour dive that will be entirely unlike anything you will have experienced before.

Scuba diving in Costa Rica includes the fantastic Cocos Island, which is in the top ten dive destinations in the world. A liveaboard cruise reaches this shark diving destination. For more information about Cocos Island Dive Sites please click on the photo.

Cocos Island dive sites

Costa Rica Scuba Diving Highlights

  • Common sightings - Hammerheads, whale sharks, dolphins, white tip sharks, turtles, Galapagos shark
  • Special sightings - Whales, jellynose fish, goosefish, prickly shark
  • Topography - Boulders, swim-throughs, deep seamounts
  • Visibility - 10- 30m depending on the time of year
  • General information - For diving in Costa Rica and Cocos Island, it is advised to have 25 to 50 hours experience with an Advanced open water level. It is a remote open sea area so divers should be comfortable in currents.
  • Onboard options - Island visits

Best Time to Go

Cocos can be dived year-round with schooling white-tips, dolphins, marble rays, mantas, sailfish, whale sharks plus other marine mammals present along with the tiger shark as a year-round resident. But the time of year you visit can quite dramatically affect the numbers of the marine life present.

The dry season is December – May and offers the best sea conditions, warmer water and excellent visibility. As the boat journey is so long, divers who are not comfortable in rough seas would be best to dive at this time of year.

Much of the pelagic life is still sighted in large numbers, just fewer than the rainy season.

Schools of fish are often seen at a distance from the rocks, hammerhead sharks, individually, and in schools, marble rays and white tip sharks are seen in large numbers, and most dive sites are open at this time.

Rainy season from June to November can have pretty rough sea conditions, high plankton levels and the highest rainfall.

But, it is the peak time of the year for hammerhead sharks, whale sharks and manta rays. July offers the most sightings of these creatures but with variable sea conditions. Long open ocean crossings are likely to be less comfortable during the rainy season.

During the rainy season, the south wind limits the number of days diving at the east and southwest sides of the island as the calm water in the northeast provides safe mooring for boats.

Whale sharks, hammerheads and white tip reef sharks are at their peak numbers around June and July.

Water temperature is around 25°C, and the visibility averages 12-24 metres. During July through October,  the hammerhead shark sightings are at their peak, hundreds can usually be seen in very shallow waters, and at very close proximity to the rocks. Cleaning-stations are incredibly active for long periods of time. Humpback whales, mothers and calves, usually visit the island every year between July and September.

Whale sharks and bull sharks can be found in these Pacific waters during the winter months of  May to August.  Migrating green turtles will come to the beaches to lay their eggs in August and September including the leatherback turtles. At the end of the year, manta rays will make their appearance, and January brings the migratory humpback and pilot whales.

Ocean temperature is 24-29C, but cooler during the dry season, from December to March as low as 20C with some thermoclines possible.

A general recommendation is a 5 mm full-length wetsuit, hood, gloves and boots to be prepared for all eventualities.

Country Information



Local time vs GMT




What to pack

Average temperature

Food and drink

Colon, but USD is widely accepted.

On entry for most nationalities

- 6 hours

Spanish and English is spoken widely

Juan Santamaria (SJO)


Suncream, lightweight and beach apparel

30 - 32 C daytime - 20 to 22 C evenings

Simple food like beans, rice and plantains with beer