Encompassing 300 hectares of land, the Caño Island is one of Costa Rica’s outstanding biological reserves. The island is located just west of Drake Bay and is under the administration of the Corcovado National Park. To fully protect the island’s natural beauty, its northern face is the only section where tourist activities are allowed.
Caño is home to an evergreen rainforest that leads up to a spectacular rise nestled about 360 feet (110 meters) above sea level. Here, you will find evergreen trees towering to a height of more than 164 feet. The ground where these trees stand is the same spot where archaeologists found the mysterious perfect spherical stones and the remains of the Pre-Columbian inhabitants on the island – the Diquis people.
To understand the fascinating ancient history of Caño; hike the marked trails that bring you to the spheres that are scattered all over the island. The presence of these stones still mystifies the scientific community even to today. Some of the hiking trails on Caño also uncover the island’s more than 150 species of plants like wild cacao locust and fig. One of the main hiking trails also leads to a grand look-out station that offers a breathtaking panorama of Caño Island.
Aside from the wonderful history of the island’s interior, Caño is also well-known for its rich marine life, wonderful underwater water rock formations, which are well-complemented by clear turquoise waters that provide excellent visibility. Furthermore, the coral-building organisms that surround the island is the largest in population along the Pacific side of the country. These are the reasons scuba diving and snorkeling are the top activities to do for people visiting the island. In fact, the scuba diving in Caño is considered the best in all of Costa Rica.
The corals reefs that inhabit the Caño waters are comprised of 15 species, some of which can rise up to about 15 feet. So, if you venture into one of the five dive sites that Caño has to offer; you will most likely encounter magnificent creatures like tuna, barracuda, snapper, manta rays, sea turtles, moray eels and if you’re lucky, dolphins, and white-tipped reef sharks. You will be enchanted by underwater cliffs, caves and drop-offs that can go down as low as 80 feet.
It is important to remember that the island is a biological reserve, which means that diving here is regulated. Only 10 people are allowed to be diving at a given spot at one time. So, if you want to grab the great opportunity to explore the underwater wonder of Caño, be proactive in planning your trip and book your spot well ahead of time!
Caño is not only for divers or hardcore hikers. You can enjoy a casual on island visit and experience its many beautiful white-sand, palm-fringed beaches that adorn the coastline. On these gorgeous stretches, you can relax, sunbathe, have a picnic and watch olive ridley sea turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs. And if you would like to spend more time in Caño, you can certainly stay overnight at one of the newly constructed camping areas, also equipped with ranger stations. If you happen to visit between July and October, as well as December through March, you will also get the chance to see the migration of humpback whales and whale sharks in action.