Bill Beards Adventure & Scuba Diving Costa Rica S.A.

Avenida 331 Calle 472, 21007 La Fortuna
Costa Rica

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Diving in Costa Rica

Diving in Costa Rica
Add Costa Rica to your dive travel story! Costa Rica is widely recognized as one of the world’s most biodiverse nations. The small country is sandwiched between two oceans and is home to a number of ecosystems above and below the water. Costa Rica is fast becoming a hot spot scuba diving destination, particularly along its Pacific shores.

Best time to Dive in Costa Rica
Costa Rica diving is available year round so when asked when is the best time to dive in Costa Rica, Bill Beard always answers “Any time you can make it!”

Diving seasons are divided between the rainy “green” season (May to November) and dry season (December to April) If we had to pick, our favorite time is Costa Rica’s rainy season between May to November. Don’t be scared off as the rainy season, the mornings are usually sunny with some rain in the afternoons. Nutrient surges off the Pacific coast attract bull sharks to Bat Island from May to November and huge schools of fish and rays.

Water temperatures
Ocean temps with warm waters from 23C/73F to 29C/84F on average. Costa Rica experiences an influx of cooler water Dec to April, with averages from 20 C / 68F to 25C/76F. Seasonal air temperature along the coasts ranges from 27°C/82°F in green season and up to 35°C/95°F in the hot dry summer months from Dec to April.

On average tends to be better during the warmer water months from June to November however even during those months divers can experience a wide range of visibility even from dive to dive ranging from 30 m/100ft to 5m/15ft. Even with low visibility the water is nutrient rich with plankton which attracts tons of marine life and huge schools (universities!) of fish. The reefs are volcanic rock pinnacles so don’t expect beautiful corals, but the abundance and multitude of colorful fish and marine life makes for exciting and fun diving.

Currents and Surge
The Dry season is known for winds that sweep down from the north creating choppier ocean surface, and greater surge presence. Green season (May-November) offers predominantly calmer ocean conditions. Most sites are not generally visited by strong current. Cocos islands is the exception and can experience heavier currents and surges.

Whale Migrations
Divers can have some “noisy” dives with whale chatter from August to November with frequent visits from the Southern Pacific humpbacks making their trek 1000’s of miles from Antarctica to mate/birth in the warm shallow waters off our coast. From January to March, there is another migration of humpback Whales from the North to escape the Arctic winter.

Where to Stay
Below are our recommended top diving locations. There are dive packages available from every budget. Most of the diving from the mainland is done from the Guanacaste area. Divers can fly into LIR -Liberia airport and be at their hotel within 45 minutes. If you are diving Cano Island/Drake Bay or if you are doing a liveaboard to Isla de Cocos you will fly into the San Jose Airport

  • Playa de Coco, Hermosa, Ocotal and Panama
  • Playa Flamingo, Conchal
  • Tamarindo Beach
  • Drake Bay
  • Manuel Antonio/Uvita/Herradura
  • Isla de Coco – Liveaboard packages only

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Where should you dive in Costa Rica?
Land based dive resorts and liveaboards are both popular options in Costa Rica. Cocos island is ony run from liveaboards, however divers can explore Bat Islands and Catalina Islands from both land based operators and also with liveaboard options.

North Pacific ( Guanacaste)
  • Gulf of Papagayo (Guanacaste/ Northern Pacific) -Over 20 dive sites on submerged pinnacle packed full of life within a 10 to 20-minute boat ride from shore. It is common to see squadrons of eagle rays, schooling cow-nosed rays, horse-eyed jacks, snapper, grunts, and puffers. Schools of white-tipped reef sharks are often seen taking a siesta on the sandy bottom.
  • Catalina Island – This archipelago of 20 small island is a cleaning station for pelagics and offers some great diving with frequent encounters with stingrays, bat rays, devil rays, mobula rays, eels, sea turtles. This dive spot offers a great opportunity to dive with Pacific Giant Mantas which can be seen there all year round; although the most common sightings lasts from November until April.
  • Bat Island – Commonly called “The Bats,” this world class dive site famous for high-voltage diving. A popular dive site is “Big Scare” where divers find themselves surrounded by six to a dozen large 8-12 ft Bull Sharks! Best time to visit Bats island is May to November when we have calmer seas to make the crossing.

South Pacific (Drake Bay)

Caño Island Biological Reserve | Osa Peninsula- This southern Pacific island off the Osa Peninsula is a protected marine park with excellent biodiversity. Dive spots are teeming with huge schools of grunts, snapper, king angelfish, and sergeant majors, sharks and rays. You will encounter pelagic such as dolphins, humpback and pilot whales. . El Bajo del Diablo (or “Devil’s Rock”) just a few kilometers off the island is a well known site with a huge rock pinnacle right below the surface. This site is frequented by Giant Manta Rays and jumping Mobula ray

Cocos Island

Cocos Island – One of Costa Rica’s most well known dive spots. Waters are buzzing with hammerhead sharks, white fin sharks, stingrays, dolphin, tuna, sailfish and 27 endemic fish species. Scientists measure Cocos concentration of marine life as 5 times greater than the Caribbean Sea mostly attributed to the volcanic pinicles jetting out from deep ocean waters. The sudden change in topography produces nutrient-rich upwellings attracting numerous pelagic species. Sharks are the stars of the show with appearances from tiger sharks, bull sharks, hammerheads, and white tipped reef sharks The best season for wildlife sightings is June to November when Hammerhead sharks, Whale sharks and Manta Rays are at their peak. The only drawback to diving Cocos is getting there. It takes about 36 hours by boat to cross the 400 miles to get to this diving paradise. There are several liveaboard options available for trips to Coco Islands

Central Pacific

  • Manuel Antonio Manuel Antonio is home to underwater volcanic formations dotted by caverns and caves at sites like Light House Rock, Isla Largo and Canyon Reef Expect to see the usual players such as puffers, angel fish, eels, turtles, lobsters, octopus, seahorse, sharks and more.
  • Herradura To the north of Manuel Antonio is Herradura The best time of year to dive this area is from December to May with better visibility and frequent encounters with the Giant Manta Ray that that visit nearby cleaning stations. Most dive sites are a quick 10 minute boat ride from shore
  • Tortuga Island (Puntarenas) is usually a full day with a boat ride typically with snorkelers and other day trip beach goers. There are a few small shipwrecks nearby. Frequent inhabitants are tropical fish and marine species, such as parrotfish, scorpion fish, , moray eels, angelfish turtles, and rays. After your dive the trip usually includes a lazy afternoon on one of the nearby island beaches.


Weather can be much more unpredictable on this side of the country making for a bit more volatile conditions. The Caribbean side is very laid back and diving is less developed. This area has s a stretch of coral reef running from Costa Rica down to Panama with colorful soft corals and small schools of reef fish There We recommend visiting in the drier months on the Caribbean side of September and October. Surrounding areas such as Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge and Cahuita National Park boast shallow coral reefs, dolphins and sea turtles

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Product category: Organisations / Institutions / Clubs


Why should you bring your group to Costa Rica?
Planning for and traveling with dive groups is made easy with Bill Beard Costa Rica. Our local dive staff and agents make booking a group trip to Costa Rica easy and stress free! Our agents will work with you to determine the best options for hotel accommodations that fit your dive groups taste and budget, craft a dive itinerary that includes the best activity level and adventures for your group, and make sure to get the best deal available for your group. Our local experts are great at helping book options for non divers as well. We have several options for Group Air if your group is all travelling together.

We offer competitive Group Comp policies for groups of nine or more traveling together. We also have great specials available to groups throughout the year.

Location, Location, Location
Costa Rica is the closest Pacific diving option to the Eastern, Southern and Midwest section of the US, plus the eastern regions of Canada and Europe. There are no shots or visas required for visitors from the US, Canada or Europe, you just need a passport that will not expire within 6 months of your arrival into Costa Rica.

24/7 Support for our Customers
Our office is in located in La Fortuna, near Arenal Volcano, in the center of Costa Rica, so you can have peace of mind while traveling throughout the country that you have a friend and ally nearby. During regular business hours you can call our toll-free number, US number or Costa Rican number. After our office is closed, customers are provided with our Costa Rican cell phone number that is answered 24-hours per day to handle emergencies and the unexpected. If you should have a flight delay or other urgent need to contact us prior to arriving in Costa Rica, you can call our toll-free number. If you call before or after our office is open, you can leave a message, and we will return your call as soon as the office has opened.

Diving as a Group
Every effort will be made to give dive groups their own boat and private diving experience; however when the group size is less than the dive boat capacity this may not be possible during busy periods. The dive staff will do their best to include divers on your trip who are self-sufficient or will gel with your dive group.

After each dive the staff will collect and take care of all your gear; we will clean it, store it and then deliver it to the boat for the next day’s dive trip, giving you the remaining afternoon to relax by the pool. At the end of your dive time with us we will deliver your gear to your hotel in the afternoon after your last dive – Clean and ready to pack up.

When is the best time to come? Costa Rica is only 10 degrees from the Equator, so it is not in a hurricane zone.

The dry season (Dec–May) are popular with visitors looking to escape winter weather at home. During the dry season there is an influx of giant Pacific Manta Rays. If you are looking for lower prices, flat calm seas and warm water with lush, green landscapes, then Costa Rica’s “rainy season” (May thru November) — is the perfect time to come. Rains are heaviest in Sept-Oct, but that is also when it is the dry season in Arenal’s rainforest region. Humpback whales migrate twice annually late Dec-early Feb and late July-early Sept.

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About us

Company details

Bill and Nadine Beard are PADI Instructors, SSI Platinum Pro 5000 members and were elected to The International Legends Of Diving.

Bill Beard is the true pioneer of scuba diving and combining adventure tours in Costa Rica. On his first trip to Costa Rica, there were no scuba tanks in the country. In 1970, Bill brought tanks with him on his next trip, got them filled at Miller Gas, and started diving in Costa Rica from dug out canoes. He was the first working instructor and had the first professional dive shop in the country located in San Jose.

Bill and Nadine at The Springs Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

In 1974, Bill Beard branched out by opening a beach location in Playas del Coco on the Pacific Ocean and operated daily scuba diving trips from there and Playa Hermosa. Bill has many firsts to his credit, including bringing scuba diving and adventure tours to Guanacaste. Bill’s wife Nadine joined him in 1988 and they formed an association to combine scuba diving and adventure tour packages, the first in the country to do so.

Because of its compact geography, everyone in Costa Rica is presented with a cornucopia of choices. The biggest challenge in Costa Rica is trying to decide which combination is best for your vacation. This is where Bill Beard’s Costa Rica Adventure Travel comes in. We have been in Costa Rica since 1970 and know the country well enabling us to provide our clients with the best that Costa Rica has to offer. Our goal is to help you share in the wonders of nature and enjoy every minute of your vacation. Our commitment to quality and personalized service is unsurpassed. All of our Bill Beard’s Choice Tour packages are privately escorted in a modern, air-conditioned vehicle by one of our English speaking, Costa Rican naturalist guides traveling at your pace. We also offer non-private tours for vacations that are affordable for all budgets. Invariably, when we ask our clients what one thing stands out most about their vacation, the reply is “the guide.” Guides take the hassle out of travel. They provide education, insight into the host culture, and in many cases a lifetime friendship. Our Costa Rican staff all have many years experience in the industry. Our association includes the best hotels, resorts and restaurants available. We have Costa Rica’s most knowledgeable, experienced operators, instructors and guides with proven track records providing you with the safest and best vacation possible. However, if you are on a budget, we also offer non-privately escorted tours where you combine with a variety of other customers and travel at a predetermined pace. We can adapt any package for self-drive if you prefer the freedom of having a car available for further exploration.

Since 1970 we have had thousands of clients visit Costa Rica and most of them have remained our friends and many have returned several times. This is what makes this the most enjoyable business we could ever imagine. We always recommend our meet-and-greet transfer service. If you have ever been in a foreign country and lost your luggage, passport, money, had an emergency, or any one of a multitude of unpleasant situations, then you know the value of having a bilingual guide meeting you at the airport. We are a full-service tour operator and are licensed and insured.

Our reservation office is located in La Fortuna, Costa Rica and all of our agents are scuba divers and adventurers. They have all traveled extensively throughout Costa Rica and have experienced all of our tours and activities. We constantly check all of the hotels, resorts, restaurants and rest stops that we use to make sure they maintain our standards for client satisfaction.

Our goal is to continue providing first class service to our clients for a memorable vacation and a desire to return. Our service is second to none, worldwide. If you are planning a trip to Costa Rica it will be our pleasure to give you an itinerary so you can compare prices to make sure you are not paying too much or getting too little for your vacation dollar.

All activities we offer may be combined and customized to suit your needs and maximize your vacation time. We can make all the arrangements for your air and ground transportation, accommodations, and activities.

It’s the attention to detail that defines us. Thank you for choosing us to be a part of your memorable vacation to Costa Rica.

Nadine & Bill Beard

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