Getting Open Water Dive certified in Osa peninsula ?>

Getting Open Water Dive certified in Osa peninsula

I arrived at the San Jose airport in Costa Rica with no real plan, something which has become a trend in my travels. Being quite underwhelmed by the scenery on my flight into San Jose, the first thing I did upon my arrival was to look for the domestic terminal –  a short walk from the international terminal. I inquired at the counter if there were any flights heading to the coast. The lady at the counter told me that there could be a Sansa flight to Drake, if I decide to fly. Off we took, the pilot and me, in an 8 seater Sansa to Osa peninsula. This was my first commercial flight without any other passenger at all – at 80 USD, I wasn’t complaining.

The Sansa aircraft landing on gravel at Drake
The Sansa aircraft landing on gravel at Drake

The flight landed on gravel, about 50 mins later, flying over some amazing coastline. A  boat or a flight is the only way to get to the relatively remote south western end of Costa Rica, and I could feel a sense of discovery st landing . There were a couple of support staff, helping at this terminal, which was nothing more than a little shack, but had a gift shop nonetheless! They were kind enough to arrange a van pick up into the town.

I learnt that about this dive school, and definitely wanted to do a couple of dives with them, but when I talked to Sergio, who runs the place, I was convinced that this is the place where I wanted to get my open water certification. Far removed from the popular dive hotspots like the islands in the Carribean or in Thailand, challenging conditions, a passionate guide, and almost 1:1 instruction. My next 4 days were spent doing all some reading in the evening, and going for multiple dives the morning and afternoon.

Reading about side-mounting with an obligatory latte
Reading about side-mounting with an obligatory latte

There are about 6-8 dive locations around the peninsula, Cano island being one of the more popular ones. There were a handful of regular and experienced divers, and since we went diving together as a group, I was in the thick of action right away: from strong currents, swimming close to reef sharks, to really having to put safety stop in action as dives would be as deep as 40-50 m. I had a couple of tough moments with the strong currents, where I just couldn’t follow the planned route. A little help went a long way. A choppy pacific  made boating into the sites an adventure as well.

Choppy ocean makes for fun exit and entry
Choppy ocean makes for fun exit and entry

If you are looking to get your open water PADI certification or just looking for some compelling dives, I can highly recommend Drake for your adventure: some delicious Tilapia, proximity to Corcovado National Park and great horseback riding makes Osa peninsula one of my favorite parts of Central America.

Here are a few pictures:

An interesting wall dive
An interesting wall dive

 

An abundance of reef sharks
An abundance of reef sharks

 

Dive instructor striking a pose
My dive instructor striking a pose

About Praveen Maloo

Praveen is currently based out of Seattle, United States. He loves coffee, conversations, micro-brews, and intimate jazz music scenes. When its not raining in Seattle, he can be seen enjoying the beautiful outdoors of the Pacific North-West.


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