Costa Rica is a little different then Hawaii when it comes to snorkeling near your hotel. However Scuba Diving is on the world class level. Poor snorkeling is due to surf conditions and visibility near shore, you have to really find the right spot. However, there are some clear lagoons where you can explore around the pacific coast near some hotels. Places like Playa del Coco, Drake Bay, Playa Hermosa and Playa Ocotal are great spots for snorkeling. Now if your coming to Costa Rica just to scuba dive then you probably already know about this island. Its a notorious spot called Cocos Island off Costa Rica. The only way to get to Cocos Island is by one of the professional Costa Rica live abroad boats that operate in the area from the town of Puntarenas.
The island has around 15 to 20 dive sites all in a compact island location, from shallow yet steep drops, to deep drops that reach over 30m. All sites are close to the island, making Cocos Island an ideal diver’s playground. Many big game fish can be seen in this area, and that is what makes a it a must see spot for divers.
Aside from this Island there are many other locations to go diving and rates can run from $80 to $200 per person from dives. They will even take snorkelers out from day trips to areas with clearer water. Unfortunately if you planning on Snorkeling right outside your hotel Costa Rica isn’t really the best place for that. After all it is a jungle and rain run off is all over and water tends not to be as clear as say Hawaii or other snorkeling destinations. Your best bet for snorkeling is at Manzanillo Beach on the Caribbean Coast. Its a natural reef and brings in all kinds of small fish.