Picture by: Tarn Yost, Patrick Odermatt, Paula Riveros, Andrés Benavente y
When we say Bat Islands, we are not talking about Batman’s
vacation spot. We are talking about a beautiful group of protected islands at
the edge of the Santa Rosa National Park.
Here a singular wind and thermal phenomena that
only exists in 2 other places in the American Pacific cause the colder waters
to rise from the bottom enriched with many nutrients. As one would expect, an
abundance of food and nutrients generates an abundance of life.
Although the islands
are home to hundreds of different marine species and offer a fascinating
diving experience, the
worldwide fame of these islands is not a product of its great diversity of
species but rather to one single inhabitant:
portly bull shark.
creatures are the reason why hundreds of divers from all over the world travel
to Costa Rica each year between March and November.
Because of the
complexity of the currents around the islands, The Bats are off–limits to
However they are a
highly desirable destination for the more skilled divers that are seeking
something unique and extraordinary.
| The Bull Shark: (Carcharhinus leucas)
Though they generally
don’t measure more than 8 feet in length, the bulls have a very wide body and
weigh in the vicinity of 650 pounds. They are easily recognized by their white abdomen, dark gray back and small
eyes, but one recognizes a bull in most part due to their great body mass. They are formidable
predators and their diet includes everything: fish, turtles, distracted birds and even other shark
species. This is the only shark
that can live in both fresh and salt water, so it is not unusual to also find
them in rivers close to the ocean.
you will see: During a 3-tank trip, you will likely
see bull sharks and several species of rays including giant mantas and large
groups of spotted eagle rays. It’s
also common to see white–tip reef sharks, dolphins, turtles, octopi, colorful
crustaceans, large schools of tropical fish and highly unusual groupings of
corals. With some luck you can also see the humongous whale shark, the largest
of all fish.
Temperature: Between 75 and 86 ºF.
Visibility: Varies from 17 to 65 feet depending on the
Depth: From 59 to 100 feet.
is it? : Directly offshore from
Santa Rosa National Park. From Playas del Coco it takes approximately 1 ½ to 2
hours by boat.
Requirements:Due to the complexity of the
currents, the dive shops require PADI Advanced or higher certification. Those
with Open Water certification must demonstrate their skills and experience by
diving locally first. Dive shops need a minimum of 4 people to go so it is
recommended to book your dive in advance.
Risks: The bull shark does not attack divers unless threatened. They are also very timid around large
groups; therefore, in this type of dive it is important to be very alert about
the location of your fellow divers.
currents can pose risks so always stay close to your group.