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Islas Murcielagos

There’s one main reason that the Islas Murciélagos make it onto this list of Best Places to Visit in Costa Rica: Diving.

The scuba here is some of the best in the country! Visibility can extend up to a whopping 30 meters when the currents and the weather align, and there’s such a plethora of bucket-list dive sites that even the most seasoned PADI maestro won’t get bored.

They include the ominously named Big Scare, where there’s a fantastic chance that you’ll be going under in the company of bull sharks. Rugged Bajo Negro, a submerged wedge of lava stone that’s usually replete with spadefish, moray eels, and massive octopi, is also a wonderful option.

However, the marine safari really starts from the moment you hop on the boat at Playa del Coco, because spinner dolphins and whales occupy the straits between the mainland and the islands.

The Islas Murciélagos, or the Bat Islands, are actually a part of the larger Santa Rosa National Park.

A string of remote isles that poke out into the Pacific Ocean from the north-western tip of Costa Rica, they can be tricky to get to but reward water babies with virtually empty coral gardens and volcanic reef systems.

Most people will stick to the ocean, but you can hike a single trail on the largest of the islands – Isla San José. It’s a short three-kilometer back and forth to a ranger station and lookout point.

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