Saturday, May 11, 2013

Costa Rica, the final destination of my central America tour. I'm heading down to the Osa Peninsula in the south-west of the country.This is Costa Rica's most remote region, a large finger of land jutting out into the Pacific Ocean. It draws adventurous travellers for its natural wilderness and wildlife. Many come to see Corcovado National Park, considered the finest of Costa Rica's excellent national parks and a superb place to see wildlife, including numerous species of monkey, scarlet macaws, tapirs and jaguar.

The main reason for my trip is to check out the diving at Cano Island, a biological reserve around 12km off the coast than is known for its big fish encounters. My base is the beautiful Drake Bay, a sweeping stretch of sand between the rainforest and the ocean. It is home to a few eco lodges, a small village and no more. The only access to this region is by boat or a small plane - it is a part of the world where the pace of modern life plays no part, a place where you wake up to the sounds of nature and the tumbling waves that lap the shore.

While the visibility can be variable in this part of the world and was not spectacular for me, the marine life more than made up for it. This is an area where the pelagic species that pass by make diving very exciting. White-tip reef sharks and southern stingrays are seen on almost every dive, while large schools of fish often ungulf divers and dolphins, manta rays and numerous shark species are regularly seen.

The island's signature dive site is called Devil's Rock, a pinnacle around a km off Cano Island that is a manta cleaning station and a magnet for big marine life.  Spotted dolphins accompanied our journey to the site and the descent took us through a swirling mass of barracuda. It was not long before a shape emerged in the distance, a giant Pacific manta ray emerging from the plankton rich waters. She circled our small group of divers as if intrigued as to our presence, forcing me to descend to avoid contact. Giant Pacific mantas are the largest of the two manta species, reaching wingspans of up to 8m. They are wanderers of the ocean, only gathering at a few special spots to clean and feed. She disappeared into the distance, but soon returned with another, and then another manta enjoying the cleaning services offered by the reefs inhabitants. It was, quite simply, a magical dive - one to remember for many years to come.

Diving at Cano Island is strictly controlled. Only 10 divers are allowed in the water at any one time and there are just 5 sites that are permitted for diving, ensuring the are remains completely unspoiled. For adventurous divers and nature lovers, the natural wildernesses of Cano Island and Corcovado make the Osa Peninsula a fabulous addition to any Costa Rican itinerary.

If you would like to discuss a trip to Costa Rica, contact the Dive Worldwide team now!

No comments: