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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Scuba Diving Certification

In breaking from the recent trend of talking about our first border run, I'd like to talk about what has kept me so busy the last week or so. I understand that this isn't directly relevant to teaching in Costa Rica, and it may only interest a few readers, but it's a part of living here in CR. So my parents and little brother are coming to visit Lisa and me at the end of November and we have plans to stay most of the time in the Parador Hotel in Manuel Antonio (they've already seen Monteverde, Arenal, Guanacaste, etc.), and my dad has decided that he wants to try his hand at Scuba diving. So at home in the states, he and my brother are currently finishing their scuba certification, and if I wanted to dive with them in MA, I would need to get certified here in Costa Rica.

There are a couple places that I found to get the certification in the San Jose area: Aquatica in San Pedro and Diving Mania in Sabana Sur. I chose Diving Mania becuase it is much closer (although still over an hour commute by bus in rush hour) and because it seemed to offer more of what I wanted at a better deal. So lets get down to prices. At Diving Mania the classroom and pool dives are all done at their dive shop in SJ. There are three 3 hour classes that include pool dives that cost $200. After that, you are required to do 4 open water dives, and Diving Mania directs at least one trip a month to Playas del Coco in Guanacaste to de these dives for only $150 extra. This completes your certification, and it is an INCREDIBLE deal. Believe me. The $150 includes 4 dives (which would otherwise be about $70 each), 2 nights in the Flor de Itabo hotel (which is decent - no more, no less), and 5 good meals at the hotel. To give you some kind of comparison number, to do the 4 open water dives to complete my certification with Manuel Antonio Divers, the company my family will be using to dive, it would cost me $250 and that DOES NOT include hotel and meals. I know I sound like I'm advertising for the company, and I guess I am, but they have not asked me to - I'm just doing it because I was very happy with the prices, facilities, and especially the people I worked with (Francesco is the owner and my instructor was Hector - both people were very nice and very good to work with).

So yeah, last weekend Lisa and I went with Diving Mania to Playas del Coco to complete my certification, and it was an absolutely fantastic weekend (two weekends at the beach in a row, hell yeah). Lisa has no interest in Scuba, so she paid $85 and that covered everything except the diving for the whole weekend (another good deal if your spouse and/or childred would like to come along). We actually dove through the Ocotal Resort which offers an array of diving excursions and is a beautiful resort with a nice pool and a private black-sand beach - that's where Lisa hung out during the day while I was diving.

I want to keep this somewhat short, so all in all the whole certification and diving experience was fantastic and I highly recommend contacting Francesco at Diving Mania if you would be interested in getting your certification. His number is 291-2963 and he can be emailed at

Also, if anyone has been diving here in Costa Rica and would like to share their experiences, I'd love to hear about them. Just leave a comment on this post.