Isla del Caño is a biological reserve located in the Pacific region of the country, about 16bkm northwest of the Osa Peninsula, Puntarenas.
Isla del Caño covers 320 hectares of land and 5,800 hectares of sea. It has one of the most extensive and healthiest coral formations on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. In fact, the reserve contains five coral platforms that range from 0.8 to 4.2 hectares in size.
Here you will find the ruins of stone spheres that were created by pre-Columbian civilizations. The island was occupied by several peoples. It is believed that between 700 and 1500 BC the island was used as a cemetery by the Chiriquis, or as a permanent residence for the Quepos or Brunca peoples.
The reserve is a breeding site for humpback whales from both the northern and southern hemispheres, as well as a resident species of dolphins.
Between the months of July and October, humpback whales migrate from the Southern Hemisphere (Patagonia) to the Central and South Pacific, travelling more than 8000 km. Whales from the north arrive on our coasts around December. All of these whales come to our warm waters to mate or to give birth.
The beaches are sandy and rocky, without mangroves. The higher-altitude areas contain pristine tropical rainforest and stands of secondary forest of distinct ages. The reserve contains 158 identified plant species in its forests.
On the island you can see ferns, heliconias, vines, herbaceous plants and some introduced species such as cashew, guava, bananas, mango and oranges.
Wildlife is scarce but you can find bees and butterflies, as well as amphibians, reptiles, and resident and migratory birds.
The true treasure of Isla del Caño is hidden in its depths, so if you are planning a visit, get ready to experience an incredible underwater adventure. Sea turtles, rays, dolphins, moray eels, barracudas, sharks, humpback whales, tuna, and other aquatic species are a regular sight.
Since Isla del Caño is a biological reserve, the number of divers is regulated. Also, tourists are not allowed to take any of the marine life out of the reserve, either alive or dead.
You can organize to the reserve from Dominical, Drake Bay, Uvita and Sierpe. There are several companies located near the Ballena Marine National Park that offer tours.
Trash bags or dry bags to keep the items in your backpack dry, and to pack your trash afterwards. Do not forget to bring bottled water, sunglasses, insect repellent, fresh clothes and a camera.
Number of people who can be on the island per day: 200 people (100 people in the morning and 100 in the afternoon)
Operating hours:7:00 am – 11:00 am and 11:00 am – 3:00 pm