Scuba diver in flippers swims near a large sea turtle above coral reef in the clear blue waters of Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Your 2024 Essential Guide to Scuba Diving in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Updated: July 9 2024

Scuba diving out of Tamarindo (on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast) is an experience like no other. Located along the gorgeous shores of the Guanacaste Peninsula, Tamarindo is an ideal seaside basecamp for adventures on land and at sea. It’s a very popular surfing and ecotourism destination, and for good reason! Tamarindo is surrounded by an abundance of stunning beaches and natural assets – with many just a short drive away from the Tamarindo’s center. 

Tamarindo’s reputation for being a tropical paradise and a center for water sports and warm hospitality grows with every passing year.

Best time to scuba dive in Tamarindo Costa Rica

Scuba diving in Tamarindo Costa Rica is a year round activity due in no small part to the consistently warm weather. However, depending on your skill level and what you want to see when diving, there may be different seasons to suit your needs and interests. Like the rest of Costa Rica, Tamarindo essentially has two seasons, wet and dry. Tourists can expect up to one to 2 hours of rainfall in the afternoon during May to November. This rainy season would be the perfect time for experienced scuba divers.

For novice scuba divers, August to November is when you’ll find less wind and calmer seas. Most of the pelagic species found during the rainy season leave Costa Rica’s coast and are replaced by a variety of fish and macro species, still making your dive a fascinating experience. While also being a calmer time to dive, during these months you have increased visibility down to 100 feet. No matter when you plan to visit Tamarindo, you’re promised an exciting, colorful dive into their crystal blue waters. 

What to expect when scuba diving in Tamarindo Costa Rica

Water, temperature and visibility

Scuba diving in Tamarindo Costa Rica

Thanks to Tamarindo’s tropical climate, it is warm all year round which makes for perfect scuba diving conditions. In Tamarindo, the water temperature ranges from 24 to 29 degrees Celsius or around 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. However, with multiple scuba diving tours and companies there to give you some of the best equipment and suits, you’ll feel comfortable whatever the temperature. 

Water visibility tends to be good year-round in Tamarindo, on average it’s around 6-26 meters deep. It is recommended you bring an underwater camera to capture the incredible underwater sea creatures. Along with a wide variety of colorful fish, expect to encounter sharks, manta rays and even whales. 

Dive sites in Tamarindo Costa Rica

Dive Sites in Tamarindo costa Rica

Tamarindo has several PADI dive centers that offer diving tours around the area. Most of the diving tours take you just off the coast of Tamarindo to where you can find the most biodiversity for your dive. The Catalina Islands are one of the most popular spots for scuba diving, due to its wide variety of sea life and spectacular views. 

The archipelago formed by 7 islands offers over 13 diving spots, ideal for seasoned divers and beginners alike. The Catalina Islands are located 2-15 miles Northwest of the Tamarindo area. It is a great diving spot for seeing manta rays, turtles, whitetip reef sharks, octopus, eels, sea stars, humpback whales and tons of other wildlife.

From Tamarindo, diving teams will bring you to other popular diving spots, like the Cocos Islands. Due to the nutrient-rich coastal waters, the area surrounding Cocos Island makes for amazing scuba diving. Just a short boat ride from Tamarindo, Cocos Island scuba diving is very popular for its schooling hammerhead shark spotting. As well as sharks, Cocos Island is also home to 27 species of endemic fish, including the red-lipped batfish, that are commonly found in the Galapagos. 

Where to stay in Tamarindo Costa Rica

Tamarindo Costa Rica vacation rental

In spite of Tamarindo’s small size, it serves as a focal point for shopping and entertainment, and with the town situated right alongside the stunning beach, there is something for everyone here in Tamarindo. If you’re looking for a more laid-back, relaxing vacation, quieter areas such as Playa Langosta are for you. 

If you want to be closer to the action, you can stay around Playa Tamarindo, with some amazing beachfront homes with amazing ocean views available. Here you can feel free to laze on the beach during the day and experience the exciting nightlife and amazing variety of Costa Rican food at night. With an array of bars, shops, restaurants and guided tours just a quick walk from the beach, Playa Tamarindo is a very popular place to stay. If you’re interested in finding your perfect vacation home in Tamarindo, visit

More about scuba diving in Tamarindo Costa Rica

Can you scuba dive in Tamarindo Costa Rica?

Yes, you can scuba dive in Tamarindo Costa Rica. The warm tropical climate, crystal clear waters, and wide biodiversity make for perfect scuba diving conditions. 

How far is Tamarindo from San Jose?

San Jose is 258 km away from Tamarindo. It takes 4-5 hours to get from San Jose to Tamarindo by car, you can also get a charter flight from San Jose right into Tamarindo which takes 50 minutes. 

Is Tamarindo safe? 

Yes, Tamarindo is safe. The small tourist town has a low crime rate, but like anywhere it is always recommended to be aware of your belongings and use good travel sense. Out of all the travel destinations in Costa Rica, Tamarindo is one of the safest places to visit.