Cocos Island (Costa Rica) Liveaboards

If you’re a shark-lover and an experienced diver, you’ve probably heard of Cocos Island in Costa Rica. It’s on most divers’ bucket lists because of its amazing scenery and its even more amazing diving. (If it wasn’t already on yours, it’s about to be!).

Home to big marine life, carpets of colorful corals, and many other exciting underwater surprises. Liveaboard diving at Cocos Island is a vacation that dreams are made of

Reviews about Cocos Island (Costa Rica) Liveaboards

Okeanos Aggressor II Liveaboard Aggressor II LiveaboardAggressor Fleet, 3 reviews

Diving. Cocos

Excellent diving in late July, despite almost non stop rain and constant grey sky.
Whale sharks, tigers and hammerhead on just about every dive.
But, it takes 1.5 days navigation to get from Puntarenas to Cocos Island, the boat is small with not much spare spaces and very small cabins.
It is run the American way, eg with the aircon always on and always feeling cold, even when asking the staff to adjust it.
The chef is doing great on the presentation of the dishes, but it is mostly American cuisine with average quality
S. Laurent2022-08-01
Okeanos Aggressor II Liveaboard Aggressor II LiveaboardAggressor Fleet, 3 reviews

Okeanos Aggressor II, May 28-June 7 2022

Wonderful trip, shark week and manta rays plus many other creatures. Crew is fantastic, chef’s meals are superb! We had illness on board, which crew handled professionally in my opinion and did everything possible to accommodate passengers. Aggressor provided testing, hotel (hotel personal were wonderful, very nice & clean accommodations), meals and transportation to airport due to returning 1-day early for everyone’s safety, I wish to thank them all.
C. Monte2022-06-16
Okeanos Aggressor I Liveaboard Aggressor I LiveaboardAggressor Fleet, 2 reviews

Great option for Cocos!

I traveled on the Okeanos Aggressor I in March 2022 and had an amazing trip to Cocos Island. Everything was excellent, the crew went above and beyond to provide and excellent service and ensure our safety at all times, I would definitely recommend this live aboard to other divers. The only thing to note is that the boat is quite old so the cabins are quite small, specially the bathrooms with the shower on top of the toilet.
T. Ana Paula2022-04-08

Questions and Answers

How do you get to Cocos Island, Costa Rica?

Cocos Island is 350 miles (563km) off-shore in the Pacific ocean. It is uninhabited, there are no hotels and no one is allowed to stay on the island overnight, so the only way to visit it is by boat. This makes it the perfect spot for a Costa Rica liveaboard trip!

We recommend arriving at the Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) and spending the night in one of San José’s many hotels, before embarking on your Cocos Island diving liveaboard the next day from Puntarenas port.

From Puntarenas port, it is around 36hours by boat to get to Cocos Island, but the long journey is more than worth it if you love shark diving!

What you need to know about the Cocos Island liveaboard diving

Cocos Island rises to an elevation of 2,800 ft (853m) above sea level. It is a national park and was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1997 because of its picturesque scenery. It is around 5 miles (8km) long and 3 miles (4km) wide.

Jacques Cousteau once described Cocos as “the most beautiful island in the world” and even included it in his list of top ten dive sites in the whole world! ...And It’s not hard to see why; as you approach Cocos island you will be stunned by its sparkling, turquoise waters, jungle-covered mountains and impressive waterfalls (that you may recognise from the original Jurassic Park movie!).

It’s beauty above the water is matched only by what you’ll see under the waves, fringing reef that wraps all the way around the island, offering divers pinnacles, exquisite corals and an abundance of marine life to marvel at. 


Diving in Cocos Island is most famous for its large number of hammerhead sharks; people come from all over the world to try to see them. But in case you need more reason than that to book a trip and start packing your dive bag, you’d also be in with a very good chance of seeing whitetip, blacktip, silky, hammerheads, galapagos and bull sharks, as well as turtles, tuna, dolphins and various types of rays.

There are over 20 dive sites around Cocos Island, they are all unique and offer different diving treats. But, to give you an idea of what to expect from your Cocos Island liveaboard diving, here are our top 3:

  • Bajo Alcyone: We think everyone who’s been here will agree that Bajo Alcyone has to be the best dive site around Cocos. It’s the number one place for spotting hammerheads (sometimes in their hundreds). The average depth is around 114ft (35m) and strong currents are to be expected.
  • Punta Maria: An underwater mountain and a cleaning station that attracts galapagos and hammerhead sharks, as well as much more marine life. The maximum depth is around 80-120ft (24-36m). Expect medium/strong currents and good visibility.
  • Isla Manuelita: This dive has it all; rays, sharks, turtles, and various big fish. The average depth is around 66ft (20m). Isla Manuelita dive site usually has medium currents, making for a peaceful, stress-free drift.

    Because of strong currents and deeper dive sites, a Cocos Island liveaboard is recommended for advanced divers only. This guarantees smaller groups of serious and experienced divers, making the dive sites peaceful and uncrowded. Getting some experience with drift diving would be beneficial before heading to Cocos because of the currents.

    As mentioned earlier, you will be on the boat for a long time, so if you’re prone to seasickness, it would be a good idea to stock up on some medication for the journey, just in case

When is the best time to go to Cocos Island on a Liveaboard Diving trip?

So, now you’re daydreaming about hammerheads and pretty corals and you’re thinking of booking a Cocos Island, Costa Rica liveaboard trip ...But you’re not sure when to go. Don’t worry, we can help you decide:

The water temperature in Cocos Island range between 75-84°F (24-29°C) year-round, with the temperature outside of the water staying around 82-86°F (28-30°C).

The dry season is between December and May, promising calmer seas and generally better visibility - up to 89ft (30m). This is a good time for spotting dolphins and silky sharks.

However, most divers prefer to go between June - November (the rainy season), as the nutrient up-swells at this time attract manta rays and whale sharks. This does mean though, that the seas are a little choppier and visibility can drop to around 33-82ft (10-25m).

The rainy season is said to attract more Hammerhead sharks, however, they can be spotted in large numbers year-round so this doesn’t have to be a deciding factor.

Although water temperatures are quite comfortable whenever you decide to go, there are always thermoclines, where the temperature can drop quite dramatically. For this reason, we recommend a 5mm wetsuit, with a hood if you have one.

In summary, it’s down to personal preference for when is the best time to visit Costa Rica for a  Cocos liveaboard trip. If you like calm seas and good visibility then the dry season is for you. If you’re hoping to spot big marine life and don’t mind a bit of chop, head there between June and November

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