Caño Negro is a RAMSAR site of worldwide importance for wetlands conservation. The refuge is vital to the environmental balance of the country’s Northern Zone. This habitat shelters a wide variety of plant and wildlife species, many of which are unique or in danger of extinction, including seabirds such as the jabiru and reptiles such as caimans and turtles.
During the dry season, the refuge becomes an important feeding ground for the thousands of seabirds that arrive at the wetland. The plumage of some of these birds will change color and take on a pinkish hue due to the mollusks consumed by the birds. The natural wealth here includes plant and animal species found nowhere else in the country, including the prehistoric Gaspar fish—considered a living fossil. Visitor services include information, a park ranger station, trails, lodging, restrooms and drinking water.
From San José, take the Inter-American Highway to Ciudad Quesada, San Carlos and Los Chiles, near the border with Nicaragua. About 4 miles (7 km) before reaching Los Chiles, turn east and travel 19 km.