If you aren’t already a SCUBA buff, you will be after taking the plunge on a ship diving excursion in Costa Rica. The name of this Central American oasis literally means rich coast, which is appropriate for several reasons – not the least of which is the fact that Costa Rican waters are riddled with sunken merchant boats and pirate ships that once were laden with untold treasures.

Not far off the beach in Playas del Coco, two wrecks lay under about 60 meters of water – the Meros and the Tortuga. Both boats are under 40 feet long, but each attracts an array of eye catching tropical fish. A cave near the Tortuga wreck is a favorite spot for sharks, so it’s a fantastic place for thrill seekers to dive.

Tortuga Island, located off the southeast shore of the Nicoya peninsula, is the only place in South America where three great diving wrecks are located: Carolina Star, where you can expect to see a white tip shark or two in the hull, as well as a colourful rainbow of fish; Coronel Alfonso Monge, an 82-foot sunken Coast Guard ship; and the Franklin Chan Diaz, another Coast Guard ship that sunk in 75 feet of water.

On the east coast, Cahuita Reef is home to two wrecks, the most spectacular of which is a 16th century Spanish galleon just 6 meters below the surface. Off the historic island of Uvita (the place where Christopher Columbus first weighed anchor in 1502) you’ll find the Phoenix, a large cargo ship that is now home to hundreds of brightly coloured fish.

Go to www.costarica-scuba.com for tips and a list of dive companies that can get you hooked up with all the right gear – or just call our Mbassador there!.