Isla del Caño: Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
Arrange a tour to the picturesque Isla del Caño, an unimaginably-lush Costa Rican island only 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the coast of Corcovado National Park in the Pacific Ocean. Corcovado might get most of the attention, but the crystal-clear waters of Cano Island Biological Reserve shouldn’t be overlooked. The 3 square kilometers (1.9 square mile) island has been declared a protected reserve part of the Osa Conservation Area in 1978 after the Costa Rican government decided to preserve its valuable history and its rich natural biodiversity.
The Island: History, Nature & Ecotourism
Truly playground for archaeologists, discoveries are impressive. Pottery pieces, stone artifacts and the intriguing perfectly rounded stone spheres of the indigenous cultures have been excavated in Cano Island. In the pre-Columbian time, the island used to be an Indian cemetery and according to searches and studies it might have been an important trading site.In this absolute remote rainforest thrives very high trees, more than a hundred and fifty species of plants and different species of migratory birds and seabirds. However, the diversity of terrestrial fauna of the island remains very limited compared to Corcovado. Some of the most common mammals, reptiles and amphibians inhabiting Cano Island National Park are opossum, paca (agouti), boa constrictor, transparent tree frog, rats, bats and lizards.
The lesser known destination remains a mystery for more than one travelers as Isla del Caño is highly popular for its water activities, but it is prohibited to hike in its evergreen forest. Charter boats will make a stop to the popular tourist destination. Visitors will register in the ranger station and be able to roam along the pristine sandy beaches overlooking the immensity of trees and the clear water of the Pacific Ocean. You might observe some wildlife through the density of the vegetation, most especially birds. The cattle egret, common black hawk, osprey, brown booby and Northern phalarope reside on Cano Island.
Water Activities: Snorkeling & Scuba Diving
The heritage reserve counts with a sea area that covers approximately 5.8 km2 (2.2 square miles). Considered as a top ecotourism destination, Cano Island offers world class snorkeling and scuba diving in the South Pacific of Costa Rica. The year-round water temperature ranges in the mid 80ºs providing the perfect habitat for tropical marine creatures and the ideal conditions to slip into the water for several hours.
Discover the underwater treasures between healthy coral gardens in one of the best snorkeling adventures in Costa Rica. The island’s emerald waters evoke a sense of wonder by swimming alongside schooling pelagic fish just over the ocean floor. Visibility is near-perfect during the months of January, February, March and April. The sunlit tropical waters are abundant with large living creatures including manta rays, sea turtles, moray eels, bottlenose dolphins and sharks. Explore a myriad of coral reefs teeming with a collection of tropical fish in shallow depths. In addition to a multitude of fish, various species of the ocean’s most fascinating and friendly creatures are unfortunately in danger of extension, including the lobster and the giant conch among others.
Called the Amazon of the ocean, Cano Island is a prime location for sea life providing a totally laid-back vibe for passionate snorkelers and divers. Only thriving beneath the sea, you can realize the abundance of sea life that inhabits the waters of this large reef system. Observing underwater life that nestled between the coastlines of the island and the Pacific Ocean is a delight for anyone on the lookout for the most elegant, unusual or colorful fish.
Certified scuba divers will take a charter to deeper-water sites increasing chances to see a richer variety of marine fauna. Get closer to deeper ocean species allowing you to see the most hidden part of the Caño Island.
The paradise of divers and snorkelers!
- Experience the uniqueness of the Caño Island and learn about its importance in the world’s ecosystem
- Swim alongside a countless species of fish
- Dive of snorkel in different marine areas around Caño Island
- Make a stop on one of the island pristine beach
- The best place to snorkel and dive in the South Pacific of Costa Rica
Introduction of the tour
Observation of wildlife along the way
Interactive hike about flora: medicinal and edible plants
Mostly flat hike in partial shade
History of Golfito
Relaxing, snack and bathroom
Cooking workshop in the wild
Shoes will get wet
Walking up and down hill and in the canyon of a river
Swimming and jumping in a natural pool in the middle of the wild
Learning about vines and lianas
Setting up tents
Los Espaveles trail: 2 km, mostly flat topography (thick and varied vegetation)
Guanacaste trail: 2 km, flat topography (impressive trees and Sirena River)
Sirena trail: 1 km, flat topography (by the mouth of Sirena river, marine life can be seen)
Ollas trail: 3 km, slightly broken topography (for bird lovers)
Corcovado trail: 1 km, flat and slightly broken topography (high trees, primary forest)
Rio Claro trail: 3.5 km, flat topography (primary and secondary forest)
Los Naranjos trail: 3 km, flat topography (secondary forest, for history lovers)
Río Pavo trail: 5 km, flat topography (secondary forest, for plant lovers)
Lunch box at 10:30 AM or Lunch (full meal & price will change) at 12:00 PM
Have a flash light, head lamp or phone near to your bed.
You’ll be bringing your breakfast to go
Make sure you have enough snacks for lunch: buy some at the station or prepay for an additional breakfast to go)
Traveling back to Puerto Jiménez
- Local, bilingual, experienced and licensed instructor or dive master
- All required permits (boat & Cano Island entrance)
- 2 dives or 2-3 snorkel drops
- High-quality snorkeling and diving gear
- Life vests for adults and children
- First-aid kit
- Complimentary drinks and fruit lunch
- Motorboat shaded by a T-Top and seating for all guests
- Free time on a wild tropical beach of Cano Island
- On-board bathrooms
- Umbrellas or any other beach materials
Isla del Caño Ranger Station provides:
- Potable water
- Bathroom with toilet paper, sink and soap dispenser
- Rooftop lunch area
What to bring?
- 1 liter of water
- Sunblock and Insect repellent
- Beach towel
- Long sleeved shirt
- Sunhat or cap
- Raincoat or poncho (in the rainy season)
- Waterproof pack (for personal items)
- Diving license (only for scuba divers)
Why book with us?
- Emails and phone calls answered in English, Spanish or French
- Safety experience is our priority
- Eco and sustainable tours
- Professional, experienced and certified guides and captains
- Helping and supporting locals
- Competitive prices
- Fair cancellation policy
- No hidden fees
- Rated 5-stars on TripAdvisor
- Confirmation will be received at time of booking
- Departure time is NOT flexible. The boat is shared and departs are 8:00 AM. You must be at Drake Bay main beach at 7:30 AM to meet with your guide and try equipment.
- If you get seasick easily, take a sea motion pill 30 minutes before the boat departure or other medication recommended by your pharmacist or doctors (medication will NOT be provided from your guide).
- A box lunch is included in this tour. Inform us of your food restrictions: special diet, allergy and intolerance.
- There is no age restriction for travelers to participate in this tour
- Children must be accompanied by an adult
- Must have a valid travel insurance
- Must advise of any particular health conditions before booking
- Tour available all days of the year (between September and November water visibility may be poor)
- There is no minimum or maximum participants required to participate in this water activity.
- Beware of strong water currents while snorkeling, diving and swimming: stay close to sandy beach or the boat (parents be conscientious and stay besides your kids all all time)
- If your hotel in Drake Bay is by the coast, but far from the main beach, pick up by boat might be possible directly in front of your hotel or lodge.
- Departures from Sierpe are available for an additional price.
- There is no ATM in Drake Bay. Withdraw money before your arrival to avoid high commission fee using Paypal or your credit card. The closest banks & ATM are in Puerto Jiménez or Palmar Norte.
Cano Island Rules and Regulations
- You must be accompanied by a certified guide to participate in this activity.
- You must have a prepaid reservation (we take care of it as part of the booking process).
- Respect the environment: trash in / trash out; no animal feeding or hunting; smoking or entering the park with any drug or liquor is prohibited.
- Traveling in the island trails is prohibited. Roaming the beach is allowed.
- Launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft (drones) over lands and waters without a previous authorization is prohibited. Additional fees apply for commercial purposes.
- Cano Island National Park is opened to visitors from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. There are no overnight facilities.
This tour offers roundtrip boat transportation from and to Drake Bay. Other shore locations closer to your hotel or lodge may be available (extra fee may apply).
Boat departures from Sierpe available for an extra fee.
Transport from Sierpe to Drake Bay: $15pp at 11:30 AM or $20pp at 3:30 PM
Transport from Drake Bay to Sierpe: $15pp at 7:15 AM or $20pp at 2:30 PM
Parking in Sierpe: $6 per day at Restaurante Don Jorge La Perla del Sur
You can also fly to Drake Bay with the national airline Sansa or drive (4×4 needed).
This tour is subject to favorable weather conditions (if canceled due to poor weather, you will be given the option of an alternative date or full refund). If you book a boat tour between September and November, there is a higher possibility that the tour gets cancelled.