Most of the diving in Guanacaste is done from Playas del Coco and you'll easily find a good few dive centres along the main street here. You can choose from around 20 dive sites off the coast within a 15-20 minute boat ride from the shore, mostly for beginner and intermediate divers but advanced divers will also find some great sites. Advanced divers can take a day trip out to the wonderful Catalina Islands or Islas Murcielagos (Bat Islands) for more challenging dives.
This area is great for diving with the big stuff such as reef and bull sharks, manta and eagle rays, huge schools of fish and large pelagic fish to the small macro critters such as nudibranchs. The striking underwater landscape is made up mostly of volcanic pinnacles with great visibility of up to 25 metres and average water temperatures are a mild 26 C-30 C; 20 C if you dip down into the thermocline which is a mix of cold and warm water.
Cabeza de Mono (Monkey's Head) is a great shallow site to see schools of rays passing by, or Meros for a small wreck, groupers and great nudibranchs. Punta Gorda has colourful corals and a shark nursery or try Tortuga for another wreck and lots of sleeping reef sharks. The site Tiburones is also great for shark sightings.
Punta Argentina has some a good array of tropical fish, sometimes in big schools and maybe a frogfish if you're lucky. There can be some currents on this site though. Sorpresa is a deep dive with large moray eels and loads of fish. Another favourite in the area is Virador, with a shark cave, lots of stingrays and pelagic fish.
There's some wonderful sites to explore in the waters around Guanacaste. Be sure to rate your favourites sites.
(By Kelly Luckman)
The main area of the Guanacaste regions is Playa del Coco and although this isn't really the place to come for pristine beaches (actually the beaches are quite dirty unfortunately), it is however a great access point for the surrounding national parks and islands.
Playa del Coco can be reached by bus from San Jose or other neighbouring cities, there's also an international airport about 10 minutes out of town. It's quite expensive for accommodation here as the town is rather Americanised and caters for tourists, but you can find a nice room in a B and B for around $30 a night. If you're on a budget then head for a local hostel.
There isn't any surf here but the town is a great access point for the famous Witch's Rock and Ollie's Point, located at the Parque Nacional Santa Rosa. Boat operators must be licensed for the park so be sure to check that. There's also great charter trips and fishing trips out to Parque Nacional Palo Verde; try to hook yourself a mahi, tuna, mackrel or maybe a huge marlin!
Visit the nearby Bat Islands and Catalina Islands for a great day trip and some nice snorkelling. There's a pretty good nightlife here, with a mix of surfers and divers, it's laid back and nice for a few days adventure.
(By Kelly Luckman)