It is a popular and great reef for snorkeling and diving. You can rent the equipment for snorkeling and diving at the entrance. They have nice and experienced guides.
Avoid cruise ship days. It's completely crowded. If you can't avoid go early not later than 9 a.m. or in the afternoon. Sea is calmer in the morning. Of course best with sunlight. April and May higher chance for sea turtles.
The dry season last from December until April/May. Cruise ship season last until late March. Rainy season from June until November with the possibilities of hurricanes and flash floods. The driest month is March and the wettest is August.
Anse Chastanet beach is one of the best diving and snorkeling spots in the Caribbean.
It is less busy in the morning and afternoon. We spotted more fish in the morning. Avoid midday too many snorkelers arriving by boat.
Climate and Crowds
Best months are during the dry season from December until May. Driest months are February to May. Day temperature always around 30 C°/ 86°F. Most sunshine in March. The rainy season lasts from June to November with the possibilities of hurricanes and flash floods. Wettest month is September. Minimum water temperature is 27 C°/ 81°F It's more crowded during the dry season, expect higher rates and crowds from mid-December to March. April and May rates decrease and "fewer" tourists except for Easter.
San Blas Archipelago is part of the Kuna tribal area. Flights from Panama City to El Porvenir. Snorkeling is very nice but there are no diving operators on the islands.
Dry season December until April, Semi-Dry Season June, July and August
Cornwall is a hotspot for basking sharks and they first turn up here. The migration follows the coastline and passes Land's End in spring. They are attracted by the high plankton concentration.
The season for basking sharks usually starts in May and last until October. Actually, the best time is mid-May until mid-July. However, there is no guarantee to spot these sharks. In 2017 the best time was April until the beginning of May. In 2018 the first sighting of two sharks was at the end of April. In recent years, fewer basking sharks were spotted. In 2019 two basking sharks were already seen on March 12 which is pretty early.
Very important are good weather conditions, a sunny day and calm wind to spot them on the surface of the sea and for snorkeling with them as well. Book your trip at short notice. First, check if basking sharks are already around the coast.
What Else to Spot
- common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins
- minke whales (very shy)
- pilot whales
- leatherback turtles
- sometimes sunfish
- blue sharks; season starts end of June, more reliable to spot them but not predictable
- seals from mid-May until October
Check out the recent sightings for SW England
Where to Stay
There are many lovely B&B's in Penzance to choose from. Don't come here in a rush and for the basking sharks only. There is so much more like Kynance Cove, St. Michaels Mount, Minack Theatre and the hanging gardens to mention just a view. Our absolutely favorite B&B is the Marine Lodge. The view alone is worth to stay here. The Marine Lodge is spotlessly clean with wonderful owners. You couldn't wish for better.
Valle Verzasaca and Valle Maggia are well known and popular for river diving. We had been there several times at different months.
Valle Verzasca is a beautiful valley and impressive throughout the year. If you like to come here for swimming, diving or snorkeling the season starts in May until October. The mountain river is pretty cold and a wetsuit is necessary to stay in the river for a while. The water temp is more bearable in August/ September. Best light from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. If you arrive afterward the rock garden is less impressive without any sunshine into the river.
Peak season and utterly crowded in July and August. Our preferred month is September, fewer crowds and less cold. Avoid the crowds at weekends.
Check the weather forecast first; sometimes flood waves can happen. Weather Forecast
Two beaches Espadilla Sur and Manuel Antonio are located in the park.
There is no easier place in Costa Rica to see wildlife in the wild. Therefore Manuel Antonio is a very popular Park in Costa Rica with more than 400.000 visitors in 2015. The park opens in the morning at 7 a.m. and closes at 4 p.m. from Tuesday to Sunday. Nowadays limited access, 600 visitors on weekdays and 800 on weekends and holidays. It's essential to show up early.
On Weekends and during Costa Rican holiday you should avoid a visit. The Park is even closed on Mondays because of the number of people coming here on the weekend. This requires clean-up on this day. Therefore, the best days are Wednesday and Thursday. On Tuesdays, many visitors who were not able to enter on Monday may choose this day.
To beat the crowds be there early when the park opens at 7.00 a.m. As an alternative you can go late, if you visit the park in the afternoon, you may run into fewer visitors during that time. But remember that the number of visitors is limited.
Besides the tourists from all over the world, many Costa Rican school children visit Manuel Antonio. The park offers an education program for schools, organizations, and independent visitors. The focus of the program is to provide local children the opportunity to experience, the beauty and biodiversity of the most renowned National Park of Costa Rica.
Check the Costa Rican Holiday schedule to avoid too many people here.
The dry season starts in December and lasts until the end of March. The rest of the year will be the rainy season. But be aware that rainfall can happen as well during the dry months.
On average, the temperatures are always in the high twenties (Celsius) / around 80° F, Most precipitation from May to November. The driest month are January until March. On average, the warmest month is March with almost 300 hours of sunshine. September is the wettest month. This month should be avoided if you don't like too much rain, road conditions became worse and spotting animals will be challenging.