Snorkeling Ocotal

Snorkeling in Costa Rica is one of the most easily accessible activities you can do while vacationing. With the abundance of beaches, simply launch from shore and explore around!

Ocotal Beach

Today we’ll be checking out Ocotal for some snorkeling. When we arrived at the beach, it started raining lightly. Fortunately this didn’t result in lots of wind which would have caused waves. We always prefer to snorkel in water that’s calmer, as most of the fish are near rocks and features which you don’t want to get tossed into!

Be sure to assess the water conditions before deciding to head out. The water in Costa Rica is generally very calm, but rip currents can develop. We always have floatation devices in the water for the kids, and someone on shore monitoring.

With the safety covered, let’s snorkel!

This video was filmed on a GoPro, which are incredible action cameras. These cameras feature excellent color and resolution options. The built in stabilization modes make your videos buttery-smooth. Add a GoPro to your vacation and capture your memories in high definition.

Get There

Ocotal Beach is easily accessible along a well maintained road. You’ll likely be heading there from the area of Playas del Coco. You can program Google Maps or Waze to give you directions to the beach. It’s a rather winding road with several branches off, but just stay on the pavement and you’ll end up in Ocotal.

When you arrive at Ocotal Beach, you’ll have a choice of two parking locations. As you come over the hill which descends down to the beach, you can stay right and head to the parking at the east end of the beach. There’s a small public lot which usually has an attendant.

If you stay to the left, you’ll see signage for Father Roosters. You’re going to drive through a gate and then take a quick right. This will take you towards the restaurant Father Roosters, where there’s on street parking. This location is closer to the west end of the beach where this snorkeling video takes place.

The Path To Ocotal Beach

In The Water

The beach in Ocotal is well known for its black sand and clear water. You’ll find lots of people relaxing on the beach, playing in the water and snorkeling. There’s boats out in the bay, which has passengers coming and going throughout the day.

We chose the west end of the beach for this snorkeling day, as there’s lots of rocks and features which fish love to cruise around looking for food. 

We’re using a Cressi Snorkeling Kit (Amazon), which is a very cost effective way to start in the water. The mask is very effective and provides great clarity, and the snorkel has a purge valve in the event water gets in the snorkel (which it always does). The fins are also long and provide great propulsion. 

waterproof fanny pack

Protect your gear with a waterproof fanny pack. These are great as you can be confident that nothing will get wet as you tour Costa Rica. You definitely don't want to leave important items on the beach, so with these packs you can explore the water without constantly watching your stuff!

All Sorts Of Fish

This video was taken at around high tide, so the rocks which house the variety of fish are able to be traversed over. I prefer this time as it opens up the rocks to cruising over to look at all the great fish, but you’ll still have to watch out for Sea Urchins. 

To get the best sights of fish, I had to float over top of the Urchins. It’s very important to be cautious and aware of where any rocks are, along with Urchins attached to them. If the waves are ebbing and flowing heavily, don’t swim near them as the water can push you in unwanted directions. 

There’s lots of colorful fish in the rocks, which I don’t the names of. They’re often referred to simply as ‘reef fish’. You’ll also see rays if you’re lucky but they’re elusive and sneaky. 

sea urchins costa rica
Sea Urchins On The Rocks


The star of these snorkeling trips is often the Pufferfish. You can find these out in the open water cruising along the bottom. They blend in fairly well and will sit still, so you’ll have to have a keen eye. 

In the tide rocks, Pufferfish are even harder to spot. They’re very aware of your presence and will dart into crevasses in rocks to hide. There was even a few Pufferfish close to the camera that I hadn’t seen until I watch the videos after the day.

These are really cool fish and the kids love seeing them as well.

Look At That Camouflage

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