The Best Costa Rica Snorkeling Locations


Last Updated on June 21, 2023 by Snorkel Ken


Apart from having breathtakingly beautiful beaches, Costa Rica is also a world renowned snorkeling destination. And why not?

Many of the snorkeling locations in Costa Rica are amongst the best in the world and a magical showcase of underwater magnificence. (Dramatic sentence!) Thanks to Costa Rica’s clear waters, the visibility underwater ranges from 30 to 100 feet close to the surface and ensures you can easily snorkel or scuba dive and have a clear view of the fascinating and captivating animals that inhabit the sea.

Some marine life that you could possible see snorkeling in Costa Rica include; many different species of tropical reef fish, dolphins, whales, manta rays, turtles and even sharks.  And let’s not forget to include the gorgeous coral and marine fauna!

There is no denying how soothing the tropical, warm waters of Costa Rica are, making it most enjoyable to snorkel any time of the year. Whether a beginner or seasoned snorkel vet, Costa Rica has a lot to offer the snorkeler. Many of the hotels have snorkeling equipment to rent and there are lots of seaside snorkel rental spots at the most popular destinations.  But why not buy your own snorkel gear, huh?

Top Snorkeling Locations in Costa Rica

The Gulfo Dulce on the Osa Peninsula


This impressive destination has unique terrestrial vegetation and a vibrant marine ecosystem so this is an excellent location for those who love both land wildlife and marine life. Additionally, it is a natural habitation for a large population ofspinner dolphins. Chances are if you snorkel in Gulfo Dulce you might catch a glimpse of spinner dolphins dancing rhythmically.  (Check out my favorite dolphin video of Lizzy and I snorkeling on Big Island, Hawaii). It is an unforgettable experience that will leave you with a new appreciation of what nature has to offer. Also, Gulfo Dulce is filled with fish and other marine life amongst reefs off the Coast.

The Marenco Rock

This is a perfect Snorkeling spot, particularly for experienced snorkelers who can handle its incredible depth that ranges from 50 feet to 60 feet. The Marenco rock features swaying black corals that are inhabited by large crawling lobsters and swimming snappers that hide beneath and amongst the many hiding spots in the coral. Additionally, this magnificent snorkeling destination is characterized by a large amount of plankton which are a crucial food to several aquatic creatures such as whales.

Paraiso in Cano Island

Just as its name suggests this destination is indeed a splendid paradise, and if you were a sea creature you would want this to be your home! It features large deposits of volcanic lava rock that make a perfect habitation for millions of gold and blue swimming snappers. These snappers move beautifully in schools as if they are following a pattern. Additionally, Paraiso is also heavily inhabited by a large amount of beautifully colored barracudas. These barracudas viciously attack any animals on the sea floor. Watching these predators one-on-one is a worthwhile experience.

Best-Costa-Rica-Diving-SpotsEl Bajo del Diablo in Cano Island

This is arguably one of the most popular snorkeling and scuba diving sites in Costa Rica. It mainly features huge rock pinnacles that stem from the bottom of the sea. These huge, under-water rocks form a breathtaking marine-scape that is marvelous to see up close. This rocky destination is inhabited by rare and visually captivating species such as the giant manta rays that have an incredible wingspan of up to twenty feet. Another rare species that you will have a chance of seeing here is the jumping mobula ray. Also, ff you want to get over your fear of sharks, then this is the place to be! Several shark species such as bull sharks, nurse sharks and even the rarely seen whale shark can be spotted at El Bajo del Diablo. Schools of small fish species inhabit the jutting rocks at this breathtaking snorkeling spot.

The Coral Gardens

If you are a big fan of coral reefs then this is the place to be! The Coral Gardens, just as the name suggests, is a snorkeling spot crowded with beautiful and majestic coral reefs. These coral reefs are widespread, and of different species, making their appearance visually appealing and captivating. Whether you are a seasoned snorkeler or a beginner then this is a convenient location for you as it has a depth ranging from 15 feet at its shallowest and 40 feet at its deepest. An up close look of these sea creatures is like living inside a National Geographic Documentary. It’s nothing short of spectacular and mesmerizing. The color, the movement, the hunted running from the predators is nature at its best. No doubt the Coral Gardens will make snorkeling a beautiful, awe-inspiring adventure that you cannot afford to miss.

Best-Costa-Rica-Snorkeling-SpotsPapagayo Peninsula

If you are visiting Costa Rica for the first time and are new to the concept of snorkeling, then this is the perfect destination for you. It mainly features shallow waters as well as calm bays and inlets which is perfect for beginners who are still learning how to snorkel. Although this spot is not as popular as the ones mentioned above, it is nonetheless an excellent destination inhabited by marine life and coral species. Papagayo Peninsula is inhabited by over four hundred different species of wild animals both sea creatures and land animals. If you are just now learning to snorkel then this is an excellent destination for you.

Snorkeling is one of the best ways to experience nature at its best, particularly marine life. In these snorkeling spots you will get the unique chance of swimming with sea creatures and you’ll have a front seat view of their way of life which most people find more than interesting, relaxing and beautiful.

Next time you are in Costa Rica, or if you’re planning on your first trip, then do yourself a favor and visit any of these destinations.  I assure you that you will fall in love with snorkeling and find it very, very difficult to go back home.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

I accept the Privacy Policy

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.