The Catalina Islands are a group of around 20 small islands located 30km south of the Playas del Coco coast and offer exceptional diving for the experienced diver. The trip takes less than an hour by boat, then you will descend onto steep walls covered in sea fans and soft corals, with striking topography and great currents for drift diving.
This area is renowned for big schools of fish such as big eye and jacks and sometimes even hundreds of devil or cow nose rays swarming around you. Keep an eye out for cleaning stations where massive manta rays come in for a bath. If you're really lucky, you might even see a hammerhead shark!
The best sites include La Pared (The Wall) where you can fly through shark channel and see the reef sharks, ending up around some pinnacles where an array of rays hang out, just waiting to say hello. La Punta (The Point) and Sombreros are also ray and shark hotspots that will leave you begging for more.
Most of the diving here is done in the months from November til May, so be sure to time your diving holiday at this time to maximise your chance of coming face to face with some of the coolest marine life on the planet.
(By Kelly Luckman)