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Snorkel during the Green Season?

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Bethesda, MD
posts: 11
Snorkel during the Green Season?

I plan on being in Cahuita in mid-July and am considering a snorkeling trip, but have heard the waters are murkier during the rainy season and it may not be worth it. Any opinions on this?

San Jose, Costa Rica
posts: 41,665
1. Re: Snorkel during the Green Season?

I do not do any snorkeling my self...but I do a lot of Sea Kayaking in that area....and a lot of times during the green season I noticed that the water are murkier...but some times are like patches...just go and try still a great tour!!

Luis Road Advisor

Just buckle up and enjoy the ride in paradise!!

Puerto Viejo de...
posts: 601
reviews: 1
2. Re: Snorkel during the Green Season?

I snorkel the reefs here all year long, but I would not recommend snorkeling during the "green season" for beginners or for anyone, really, unless you know the reefs well and are accustomed to being able to discern things in the shadows and through the murk.

April through September is spawning season for barracudas, which are normally completely harmless to humans unless provoked. A female barracuda protecting her young in the reefs *could* be dangerous if you bumped into her due to bad visibility. I'm not saying this create any fear factor, I snorkel with them all the time and have literally been surrounded by them. I don't consider them dangerous at all normal situations. They don't attack and do not have the same predatory swimming/hunting behavior that sharks do. Rather, they lay low and wait for sardines, etc. to swim by then strike in the blink of an eye. Also, even in the rare instances where a barracuda has stuck a human, they usually bite and then let go, since a human doesn't taste good to them. They're not like sharks. Barracuda strikes on humans are extremely rare and millions of divers swim with them all the time, but I am still very cautious when approaching a reef in very bad visibility. I swim along the edge and make my presence known that way before slowly working my way to the interior of the reef.

I have found cudas will respect you if they see that you are respecting them. In good visibility it's no worry at all, they will simply flash you by swimming rapidly up to you and letting you know they are there and that you're in their territory. But, like I said, it's still interesting in very bad visibility, murky waters when you've swum up to some coral and find your face peering into a dark hole, not knowing what's in there. You can sometimes tell where the barracudas are in the area by where the pelicans are hunting, since they're after the same thing: the running sardines, which usually run like a freight train in giant schools along the shore.

Also, the water is rougher in the rainy season, so you need to be a strong swimmer and know how to use the energy of the currents to move you through, as well as know where rip tides are. In general, you don't get strong rip tides on the reefs, the rips occur more where sandy beach breaks are such as Playa Cocles. The water around reefs tends to push or slosh back and forth, rather than rip. But it can still get interesting out there in rough waters. It's usually safe along the edge of a reef and even on the side of large waves, because the pressure of incoming water moving against the reef pushes away from the reef, and tends to push you away from it and away from the wave...

¡Buena aventura!

posts: 54
3. Re: Snorkel during the Green Season?

We are coming to Costa Rica Jan 1 - 15 .. am in process of deciding what section to visit (last year, we went southwest) .. will we be able to snorkel in January?

Wayne, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Playa Conchal
posts: 1,549
reviews: 28
4. Re: Snorkel during the Green Season?

Hatch is spot on regarding swimming with the barracudas, so I will only add that the #1 thing to do to avoid a strike is take off the earrings, Especially the dangling ones. Bright and shining things look just like a prey fish and are too tempting for the cuda to pass up.

5. Re: Snorkel during the Green Season?

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