Isla del Caño – practical tourist information

Practical information about Isla del Cano

Isla del Caño – Caño Island is a tropical island that you will find on the west coast of Costa Rica. This small and wooded island is a very interesting place that you should definitely visit while in Costa Rica.

The whole area of ​​the island and the surrounding waters are strictly protected. This is due to the fact that a Biological Reserve was created in this area in 1978 to help protect an important part of Costa Rica’s natural and indigenous history. If you are thinking about a trip to Isla del Caño, you must read this article. We invite you to read.

Isla del Caño - practical tourist information national park
Isla del Caño – practical tourist information

Isla del Caño – geography

Isla del Caño is located in Costa Rica in the province of Puntarenas, in the bay of Corcovado near the peninsula Osa. Geologists estimate that the island was formed about 40-50 million years ago as a result of tectonic plate movement.

During these geological changes, the so-called “Caribbean plate” slipped over the “coconut plate”. It is as a result of this event that this small and extremely unique island was created. The total area of ​​the island is only 3.26 km², and the highest point on the island is 123 meter above sea level.

The island’s shores are rocky, but you will also find sandy beaches here. On one of these beaches there is a control point for park guards, who constantly care for the island’s safety. Part of the island is also everything that is under water.

And there is something to watch, because the island’s area includes 5800 ha of sea. These waters contain some of the most extensive and best maintained coral reef formations on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. There are five separate coral platforms here.

Unfortunately, the corals around Isla del Caño suffered greatly in 1982-83, due to the warming of ocean waters caused by the influence of the sea current “el Nino”.

The exact location of Isla del Caño:

Latitude in degrees, minutes, and seconds: 8 ° 44 ’00 “N

Longitude in degrees, minutes, and seconds: 83 ° 53 ’00 “W

When is the best time to go to Isla del Caño?

Isla del Caño is located on the pacific coast of Costa Rica. There are two main seasons to be distinguished in this region. The dry and warm season begins in December and lasts until April. Then there is the largest tourist traffic, but also the best conditions for diving.

Isla del Caño - practical tourist information
Isla del Caño – national park

From May, the rainy season begins, which lasts until autumn. This does not mean, however, that it rains every day! Some tourists even think that the rainy season is better for a visit to Costa Rica. It is a bit cooler, and thanks to rainfall, the local vegetation is growing rapidly.

This is particularly visible in national parks, which at that time are changing into a “green ocean”. When it comes to underwater conditions, during the rainy season there is a slight deterioration of visibility, but still diving and snorkeling can be very pleasant.

In addition, around September, whales come to Costa Rica in their annual journey. It is a great time to see these animals in their natural habitat.

try-dive costa rica

PADI Discover Scuba Diving – Marino Ballena Try Dive

First time underwater? During this trip you will do two dives with an instructor.
(1 Review)
View Details

Isla del Caño – history

The island was discovered in 1519 by Captain Juan de Castañeda, who explored the area of ​​Nicoya Bay. For archaeologists, Isla del Caño has special significance and is an important proof of Costa Rica’s history. A lot of evidence has been found on the island for the presence of people in pre-Columbian times.

Researchers studying the island found evidence that there was a cemetery on the island in 700 and 1500 BC. However, the most interesting is the fact that mysterious stone balls were found here, which today are a known element of Costa Rica’s history.

These balls are made of stone and have an almost perfect shape, and their diameter reaches up to 2.5 meters. To date, we have no confirmed answers to the questions as to how they were made or for what purpose. Of course, there are many hypotheses, but the lack of answer adds some mystery.

Stone spheres in Costa Rica

In addition, it is worth mentioning that the island also served as a place of trade on the road of ships. During excavations, remains of ceramics and carved stone artifacts were discovered. These findings prompted archaeologists to believe that indigenous cultures were using the island as a key trading point along the Pacific coast.

Hotels on Isla del Caño?

However, what we see on the island today was endangered in the 1970s. The Costa Rican government rented the island’s area to a company that planned to build accommodation on the island. Fortunately, the Costa Rican Association of Biologists, who started the battle to ban construction, disagreed with such plans.

Eventually, the company was banned from any construction work, and the island was incorporated into the Corcovado National Park in 1976. Two years later, a separate protected area was established under the name Cano Island Biological Reserve.

Isla del Caño – fauna and flora

The area of ​​the island is mostly covered with tropical rainforest and secondary stands of different ages. 158 different plant species have been identified in the park. Among them you can find bananas, oranges, mangoes and also ferns.


Some of the trees reach a height of 50 meters. One of the interesting species is the dairy tree, also called “palo de vaca”. It is called so because of the white juice that is obtained from this tree. This juice is also called milk because it was used by indigenous people of Central and South America as a substitute for cow’s milk.

The juice of this tree contains up to 7% protein and can be used for food production. Interestingly, the taste of the juice can vary and can be sweet or bitter. Other characteristic plants on Isla del Caño are orchids, wild cocoa and fig.


The fauna on the island is not very numerous, but there are such species of animals as boa snakes, foxes, gannets, bats, frogs and eagles. In the coastal waters we find Mahi-Mahi fish, also called Dorado. Angelfish is another popular species in the waters around the island.

Dolphins in Costa Rica

You can also often meet dolphins. In the period from July to October, the Isla del Caño area becomes the site of a wonderful spectacle. From the regions of Patagonia and Alaska, humpback whales migrate in Costa Rica to give birth to their offspring. During this time, they can be admired from the deck of the boat during a trip around the island.

Attractions of Isla del Caño

A trip to this wonderful, tropical island is a big attraction. This is one of the most recommended places. Despite this, you don’t have to worry about meeting a crowd of tourists there. The number of people who can be on the island is limited.

The permanent point of the park guards makes sure that the rules are followed. Therefore, it is worth booking a trip in advance to make sure there is a place for you. What can you do on the island? There are many attractions, let’s start with the most interesting ones:

Scuba diving on Isla del Caño

If you have never dived, Costa Rica will be a great place to start this great adventure. The warm ocean waters and the richness of underwater life are a great way to start your diving adventure. I assure you that it will be one of the greatest memories of your trip to Costa Rica.

All you have to do is decide to jump into the water. Of course you have several options, but the best of them will be to do a basic diving course. After completing such a course you will receive a diver license that entitles you to dive around the world.

Scuba diving around Isla del Caño

No matter where you decide to go next time. All you have to do is show your ID and you can go underwater. The diving course lasts a few days and it is really worth taking advantage of this opportunity. However, if you do not have enough time, you can use a trial dive.

Such a dive takes place in the company of an instructor who will operate all your equipment, and you only need to admire the underwater life. Doesn’t that sound great? If you want to learn more about diving in Costa Rica, we invite you to read this material: Scuba diving in Costa Rica

Snorkeling on the Isla del Caño

An equally popular destination for trips to Isla del Caño is snorkeling in shallow parts of the ocean. It’s a great way to entertain the whole family. With the mask and snorkel, you’ll be able to look under the water and admire the underwater world.

You really don’t have to dive deep to see beautiful things! Tropical fish, corals and clear water – it’s all waiting for you during your snorkeling trip. If you can’t swim well and want to see these wonderful things, I have good news for you! You don’t have to be a great swimmer to take a snorkeling trip to Isla del Caño.


Snorkeling in Marino Ballena – boat trip from Uvita

A snorkeling tour will allow you to see the beauty of Marino Ballena.
(1 Review)
View Details

The vest you get will ensure your safety on the water and the instructor will always keep an eye on you. Whenever you want, you can go back aboard the boat, or even go down to the beach. If you want to learn more about snorkeling and the equipment you use, we invite you to read this text: snorkeling in Costa Rica

Visiting Isla del Caño

In addition to water activities, you can also go on a trip around the island. Paths and even a viewing point have been prepared for tourists visiting Caño Island. You can also lie on the beach and enjoy the view of the tropical island.

Isla del Caño - practical tourist information snorkeling tour
Isla del Caño – tourist information

Remember that the entire Isla del Caño is a national park area and is strictly protected. Youcan not bring any food to the island or eat it there. You can only have lunch that is included in the tour program on board the boat. This solution is aimed at limiting human impact on local flora and fauna.

Plant seeds that could get from the island’s leftover food can pose a threat to the local ecosystem. That is why it is so important to follow these rules. We certainly don’t have to remind you of this, but you mustn’t leave any trash on the island. But you never litter, do you?

Isla del Caño – how to get there?

If you have already decided to go on a trip to Isla del Caño, it remains to answer the question how to get there. As you already know, this is an island located near the Corcovado National Park.

For this reason, you will need boat transport to get to the island. There are many places where you can start your trip, but we will discuss the two best:

Trip to Isla del Caño from Uvita

Uvita is a small tourist town that is located at the entrance to the national park Marino Ballena. Surely you saw photos of this characteristic whale shaped beach. It is here. Trips to Isla del Caño from Uvita start from this park and crossing the park is part of every trip.

Isla del Caño - practical tourist information scuba diving
Trips to Isla del Caño from Uvita

This is a great opportunity to see two national parks with your own eyes in one trip! Trips to Caño Island from Uvita start in the morning, around 7 o’clock, and return is usually scheduled for early afternoon. The road to the island takes about 1.5 hours and during this trip you have the chance to meet dolphins and even whales.

In Uvita you will find several paid parking lots where you can safely leave your car. There are also restaurants and hotels here. If you are looking for a good trip to Isla del Caño from Uvita, be sure to contact us.

Trip to Isla del Caño from Sierpe

Siepre is a small village located in a bend of the Sierpe River. It is here that the largest mangrove forests occur in Costa Rica. Every trip to Isla del Caño from Sierpe is also an opportunity to see these wonderful plants with your own eyes.

The trip to Isla del Caño from Sierpe takes about two hours, but nearly half of this time is a river trip towards the ocean. This is definitely a more pleasant way and the opportunity to admire the mangrove forests. In Sierpe you will find several restaurants and small motels.

Isla del Caño - practical tourist information toour price
Trip to Isla del Caño from Sierpe

There are no guarded parking lots here, but using the services of a good tour operator, you have secure parking provided. If you are planning a trip to Isla del Caño from Sierpe, be sure to contact us.

Trip to Isla del Caño from Drake Bay

Bahía Drake is a small bay on the north side of the Osa Peninsula. It owes its name to the famous pirate Sir Francis Drake, who supposedly hid one of the looted treasures in this area. Until today, the treasure has not been found, but this does not change the fact that the bay has become a popular tourist destination.

Here you will find hotels that offer accommodation of different classes and at different prices. A trip to Isla del Caño from Drake Bay is also an offer you can find.

The road to Isla del Caño from Drake Bay takes about an hour. Unfortunately, access to the bay itself is very difficult and there are actually only two ways to get there.

Trips to the Isla del Caño – price list

How much is a trip to Isla del Caño? It all depends on several factors such as the purpose of the trip, the time of year and the place from which the trip to Caño Island begins. However, we can give our example, of how much are trips for snorkeling and diving.

How much for snorkeling on Isla del Caño?

Prices start from $ 119 and include boat transport, park entrance fees, licensed guide care, all necessary snorkeling equipment as well as drinks and lunch. It’s really a very good price compared to the impressions you bring from a snorkeling trip.

Isla del Caño - practical tourist information how to get there
Trips to Isla del Caño

How much does diving around Isla del Caño cost?

The diving prices around Isla del Caño vary depending on the purpose of the dive, your experience and where the trip begins. Generally, however, prices start from $ 169 for two dives.

The price of the trip includes all necessary diving equipment, instructor care, boat transport, entrance fee to the national park and lunch and drinks. If you decide to take a diving course, then there are four dives in the course program and some of them will be done in the Isla del Caño area.

Is it worth visiting Caño Island Biological Reserve?

One thing is for sure. I can certainly recommend a trip to Isla del Caño to anyone who has the opportunity. Don’t hesitate any longer, is it worth it. This island is one of the few pieces of evidence that our land looked like thousands of years ago.

However, human activity causes everything to change. We cannot guarantee that our children will see Isla del Caño in the same condition as we can see it today. If you want to book your trip to Isla del Caño, contact us today! We will certainly advise you on the best option.

Este texto también está disponible en Español:
Isla del Caño – información turística práctica


Get a Question?

Call us or send a message to WhatsApp or email. Our team will be happy to answer your questions.

(506) 6438-1691

[email protected]