Retiring in Costa Rica for Snorkeling?

By Shawn Caley

I am thinking of retiring in Costa Rica for snorkeling. Has anyone else done that? I am a snorkelaholic, currently live on Maui, snorkel every day and have taken a few snorkel trips to Indonesia, as well as Fiji.

Maui has become ridiculously expensive and am looking for a lower cost option where I can snorkel pretty much everyday. I’ve seen many mixed reviews on snorkeling in Costa Rica, so looking for any insight you can provide.

I considered moving to Bali and absolutely love that region, but it is definitely a (developing) third world country and not sure I’m ready for that big of a change.



  1. Might look at Panama. It’s less expensive and has plenty of decent snorkeling. We live half the year on our boat in Bocas del Toro, in the Caribbean.

  2. Costa Rica isn’t really known for snorkeling. It has other wonderful things to do but I would not pick it for snorkeling.

  3. We snorkeled Cano Island a few years ago. It was recommended as the best snorkeling on the Pacific coast. To be honest, it wasn’t very good in our opinion. Of course everything is a matter of perspective and prior experiences. But when you have experience in Indonesia I’m afraid Costa Rica will be disappointing. It’s a great country for nature lovers, but not special for snorkeling in my opinion. I can’t give an opinion on the Caribbean coast though.

  4. Our son used to live in Guanacaste the northwest part of Costa Rica, so we visited him and tried snorkeling there. It was pretty disappointing, a few fish and no coral. That was only one place, but I looked at going to places with snorkeling while we were there, and couldn’t really find any that were accessible or sounded good.

    It’s nothing like Maui! I don’t think there is shore snorkeling anywhere. You could see a lot of turtles there, though. I think Indonesia has the best snorkeling, but not necessarily Bali. It’s a conundrum, to get infrastructure (for health, etc.), you lose the pristine conditions needed for excellent snorkeling. Maybe Guam or American Samoa because they are US territories so might have facilities for ex-pats as well? Interesting question. Happy researching!


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