scuba dive boat in manuel antonioHaving signed up to do my Divemaster training during the rainy season in Costa Rica, I had some concerns about whether this was a good idea. I had heard the rain stirs up the visibility and was unsure what to expect. After about a month here, I have complete confidence in this decision.

From the way the gear room operates to occasional visibility challenges. I’m now of the opinion that the rainy season is the best time to do your PADI professional training. In fact, come rain or shine, I would recommend doing your DM or IDC here. Making the shift from recreational diver to professional diver requires certain things to be set up in such a way that it will contribute to your overall skill and success as a dive pro. Costa Rica offers these things and this includes:

Comfortable conditions

If you’re looking at Costa Rica as a training option then you no doubt know that the country is situated between 8 and 12 degrees North of the equator. This means the climate is tropical all year round and that means, you guessed it, tropical water temperatures! With temperatures being approximately 29°C (84°F), I could put away my 5mm wetsuit and dive with a rash vest for the first time. This small tweak to my diving attire made diving significantly more comfortable and the warm weather even more so. (In case you’re wondering – there is a shaded area on the boat.)

Challenging conditions

Wait, what? Comfortable conditions that are also challenging? Yes! If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Diving in conditions that will sharpen your skills yet still ensure you are having a good time and are comfortable enough to learn. Divers can expect rainy boat rides (less than you think), visibility that ranges from great to not so great, and strong surge on some days. Surprisingly, I went from resisting these conditions to welcoming them as I grew more confident in my diving skills. I’ll say it again and again: challenging conditions create good divers.

Pura Vida

The unofficial motto of Costa Rica, Pura Vida means simple life or good life. While the locals use the term to say hi, bye, or everything is great, it’s best used to describe the lifestyle here. It’s a stress-free life that casts off the unimportant and negative, focusing on gratitude and happiness instead. This lifestyle is present in the dive centre too, to a reasonable extent. Your training will be serious, but there’s also room for error, for being human, for having fun and – most importantly – for humour! Considering Costa Rica ranks 13th on the World Happiness Index and is the happiest country in Latin America, there must be some truth to this approach.

Macro marine life

Most of the diving I’ve done has been back home in South Africa. There we see many different species of sharks and other big game. As a result, I never really understood divers who got excited about small critters like nudibranchs. That was until Costa Rica introduced me to the underwater macro world. By no means are the sightings strictly macro marine life. But it is here where you can discover the beauty of a different kind of diving. After all, not all places you dive in will be the same and each has a unique beauty. My favourite has been the adorable blennies! (I haven’t ever seen a blenny before!)

These factors can ease unnecessary stressors related to diving and set you up for success. However, it is also worth mentioning that it is a highly beneficial decision to do your training at a 5-star PADI Career Development Center such as Go Pro Costa Rica. This ensures you’re getting standardized and superior quality training while also opening up future possibilities. In addition, the training is conducted by highly qualified and experienced individuals and a PADI Platinum Course Director who go out of their way to provide you with the best possible guidance.

The DM courses/internships run on a flexible schedule that can be adapted to meet your needs. Our next IDC course dates are 25 November and 4th February. Please send us a mail if you’re interested in or have any questions regarding the DM or IDC courses.

why you should go pro in costa rica