Caño Island Day Tour
A trip to the South Pacific region just isn’t complete without a visit to Isla de Caño, one of Costa Rica’s best snorkeling and diving locations.
We offer both PRIVATE and SHARED tour options.
We are excited to share with you the abundance of nature and wildlife found in our pristine rivers, mangroves, untouched jungle forests, and national parks. We hope you see tons of wildlife!!!
We are a locally owned and operated company. Each one of our naturalist guides have been certified by the ICT and have numerous years of experience specifically guiding in the Osa Peninsula. Our goal is to give you an unmatched safe, fun and personal experience that can only be provided in an intimate group setting.
Just 12 miles off-shore from Drake Bay, Caño Island is both a biological and archaeological preserve. The waters are usually clear and warm and there is a plethora of marine life to be seen while snorkeling including: sea turtles, large schools of fish, reef sharks, manta rays, star fish, and numerous tropical fish including king angel, moorish idol, puffers, surgeonfish, snapper, barracuda, barberfish, parrotfish, damsels and more. Plus a variety of eels can be found hiding around the coral lined rock formations.
There is a trail on the island that leads to a pre-Colombian archaeological site where artifacts such as perfectly spherical stones and ancient burial and ceremonial sites from the indigenous Diquis tribe who inhabited the Golfo Dulce area until the arrival of the Spanish can be seen. There is also a lookout point located a few minutes off the trail. It is a 30 minute walk to the lookout and about 45 minutes to the archaeological site.
The ranger station at the park offers shaded resting areas, public bathrooms and a cool, freshwater outdoor shower.
Along the way, it is likely that we will encounter playful spotted, spinner, or bottlenose dolphins swimming along side or in front of the boat, and we might see some whales too.
Brilliant tropical fish shimmer about the rock formations as you near the island, as if to welcome your arrival to this sacred area. We will stop for our first snorkeling adventure once we arrive at the island where calm, crystalline waters harbor a variety of marine life including large schools of fish, white-tipped reef sharks and more.
We will then make our way to the sandy shores of Caño Island where we will enjoy a relaxing afternoon on the beach and have a delicious picnic lunch. You may choose to take a short hike up to the archaeological site.
We will depart Caño Island in the afternoon and make one more stop at a different snorkeling location for another 30-45 minutes and then return to Sierpe or Drake Bay between 2:30 and 4pm.
*This Cano Island day tour is available from Quepos & Manuel Antonio*, Dominical, Uvita, Ojochal, Sierpe and Drake Bay.
A few tips for safe and enjoyable tours:
* We try to be single use plastic free!!!! Please bring REUSABLE water bottles!
* Please respect nature! We do NOT promote feeding of wildlife or touching. Please maintain a safe
distance when photographing.
* Snakes: There are venomous snakes in Costa Rica, but most lead reclusive lives. A observant eye while hiking can help eliminate unintended encounters. Wear covered shoes when hiking in the forest. Please do not pick up logs and rocks as snakes like to hide under these things.
* Plants: Several trees and palms have very sharp spines on their trunks and leaf undersides. Always look before you grab a hold of a plant and do not walk barefoot.
* Insects: Mosquitoes and small biting flies and sand flies can occasionally can be annoying. Bug repellent might make your stay a bit more comfortable, but please always apply it away from others and use ECO friendly products.
* Sun: remember you are in the tropics and the sun is strong, even on cloudy days. Sunscreen should be applied before going out in the sun and up to an hour before snorkeling so that it is well absorbed into your skin. It is preferable to wear a long sleeve shirt instead since the chemicals in sunscreen are toxic to delicate coral and marine life. If using a spray or aerosol sun block, please always apply it away from others.
* Ocean Safety: Please always ASK if its safe to swim in the ocean. Ocean currents are strong. Learn what to do if caught in a rip tide BEFORE swimming in the ocean. Swimming should be done with caution to hidden rocks and currents. Always treat the ocean with respect, it is very very powerful.
* Look UP before situating yourself at the beach. Don’t sit or park under coconuts that could fall… they kill a few people every year!
A Note about TRAVEL INSURANCE: **Please note we STRONGLY encourage ALL travelers to have travel insurance! It may cover items that are lost or stolen, missed flights or hotel nights if delayed by weather or traffic, and it may offer health insurance for emergencies. We sell travel insurance if you are interested. You assume all risk if you do not have insurance.
This tour will include lunch but you should bring your own snacks and water for while you are outside of lunch time.
Our arrival at the beach is a wet landing, so bring your sandals in addition to sturdier footwear to use on the trails. Please make sure to eat a good breakfast (or order breakfast from our menu for an extra cost) before the tour or on the way AND bring your cell phone for taking pictures through the telescope.
It is likely you will see dolphins and maybe whales and sea turtles, plus lots of other marine life. Full day tour (7 or 8 till 3 or 4pm), will vary based on pick up times. You may see whales if it’s the right time of year…
Rough Itinerary from Sierpe: depart in the morning. 45 minutes in the calm river and canals of the Sierpe Terraba Wetland reserve, then go out the river mouth into the ocean, then 45min – 1hr to Caño depending on ocean. (stop along the way if dolphins)..
Snorkel at Caño Island. You can take a break on the island (NO bathrooms or picnicking) and hike the trail to the archaeological site if it’s open, then snorkel at a 2nd spot.. Or just snorkel at 2 spots back to back… your choice.. then once you are done…
We usually make a loop around Caño Island looking for marine life (turtles, whales, dolphins, etc) and then head to San Pedrillo for a hike (if you have chosen the combo option), afternoon swimming at a waterfall / hiking if you want. Bathrooms are available. Can do mangrove tour while on way back to Sierpe.
Tour includes: lunch (if you opted for lunch), entrance to Caño Island Biological Reserve AND San Pedrillo of Corcovado (combo tour only), private boat and naturalist guide and snorkeling gear (remember to send us your shoe sizes!)
You should WEAR your bathing suits when departing from Sierpe on the boat. Put REEF FRIENDLY
sunscreen on as the boat reflects a lot of light and you can burn quickly. If anyone is prone to sea sickness… please take medicine BEFORE departing in the morning (actually I recommend taking 1 the night before then 1/2 in the morning of the tour) – better to be a little sleepy than sick! It MAY be whale season so you may see humpback whales – thus spending more time on the boat! Bathrooms are NOT available on Caño Island and picnicking is currently not allowed there either.
What to BRING to Caño: bandana, water!!!!!, snacks, towel, Sunscreen (PLEASE wear a long sleeve shirt instead because the chemicals in sunscreen damage coral and other sensitive marine life. If you must use it, please apply it ONE hour before swimming so that it is well absorbed into your skin AND please use reef friendly products like Reef Friendly Sun Block: SPF 30 or SPF 45+), hat, sunglasses, sea-sickness medicine, camera (with protective plastic bag), flip flops, sandals or water shoes, light hiking shoes or sandals if you plan to hike the trail and anything else you might need for your free time on the island (book, magazine, etc), insect repellent (PLEASE USE ECO FRIENDLY products) sea-sick medicine, camera (with protective plastic bag) and a rain jacket or poncho. Please always apply insect repellent away from other people (not everyone likes to inhale DEET or other chemicals)
Caño Island is a biological reserve! Please respect the law and do not collect or take anything from the
island, including shells. Please take home with you what you bring including all trash and plastic bottles.
- Leave only footprints and take nothing but pictures.
- Do not touch any coral or marine life. They are very delicate.
- You must have a life vest with you at all times when snorkeling even if its just attached to your wrist.
Tour is 6-8 hours.
This tour includes:
- Boat transport
- Naturalist guide
- Snorkeling mask
- Drinking water
- Snacks (Fresh fruits and drinking water)
- Packed lunch