More than just a tropical island, Cano Island is one of the best diving sites in Costa Rica. It is also a sacred indigenous site with Pre-Columbian artifacts.

Discover the Mystical Depths of Cano Island: Costa Rica's Premier Diving Haven

Unearth the Depths of Exploration:
More than a mere tropical oasis, Cano Island is renowned as one of Costa Rica's premier diving and snorkeling destinations. Visitors flock to this haven, often basing themselves in nearby Drake Bay, to embark on world-class underwater adventures.

Nature's Sanctuary:
Cano Island Biological Reserve sprawls across 2,900 hectares or 7,166 acres, encompassing elevations that range from sea level to 123 meters (0 to 404 feet). Within this expanse, the reserve safeguards a diverse tapestry of habitats, including lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and vibrant coral reefs. While hiking trails grace the island, access to its interior can be unpredictable due to ongoing issues at the ranger station. However, the true splendors of Cano Island await beneath the surface.

Below the Surface Brilliance:
The terrestrial wildlife on the island is limited, with occasional sightings of small frogs, lizards, snakes, opossums, peccaries, and pacas. Birdwatchers will find fewer than 15 species of birds, though seabirds are abundant. The true stars of Cano Island emerge in its crystalline waters, where 19 species of coral create a mesmerizing backdrop for an underwater ballet.

A Dance of Diversity:
Within these vibrant reefs, a breathtaking array of marine life thrives. Encounter white-tipped sharks, majestic manta rays, and graceful stingrays as they glide through the deep. Barracudas, tuna, giant snapper, and grouper provide a dazzling spectacle, while sailfish and marlin add a dash of excitement to your aquatic journey. Needlefish and an array of colorful reef fish paint the waters with their vibrant hues. Look closely, and you may spot olive ridley sea turtles gracefully navigating their underwater realm. As the seasons shift, migrating humpback whales, false orcas, pilot whales, and several dolphin species grace these waters with their presence.

A Protected Gem:
Managed with dedication by the Costa Rican government, Cano Island Biological Reserve opens its doors daily from 8 AM to 4 PM. While the ranger station, complete with restrooms, is a valuable resource, its accessibility can be intermittent. The entrance fee of $15 per person contributes to the reserve's conservation efforts. Overnight accommodations within the reserve are unavailable, but nearby Drake Bay lodges offer a comfortable retreat after a day of exploration.

Embrace the Enchantment:
Cano Island Biological Reserve is a living testament to the harmonious interplay between history, nature, and adventure. Explore the depths of its underwater wonders, walk in the footsteps of ancient indigenous civilizations, and let the island's mystical allure captivate your senses. This is Cano Island—an aquatic Eden that invites you to dive into the heart of its mysteries.

A diver at Cano Island

Dive Into Paradise: Snorkeling and Scuba Diving at Cano Island Biological Reserve

Unleash Your Inner Explorer:
Cano Island Biological Reserve, nestled off the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica, offers a submerged world of wonder that beckons both novice and experienced divers alike. Whether you're donning a snorkel mask or strapping on scuba gear, the underwater realm of Cano Island promises unparalleled adventures.

Spectacular Snorkeling:
For those who prefer to stay closer to the surface, snorkeling at Cano Island is a revelation. Crystal-clear waters provide a window into a bustling marine metropolis. Slip into the sea, and you'll find yourself surrounded by vibrant coral gardens teeming with life. Schools of colorful reef fish dart in and out of the coral formations, their intricate dance a testament to the underwater world's beauty. Keep an eye out for the graceful glide of rays and the gentle flutters of sea turtles, who may make an appearance as you explore this aquatic wonderland.

Scuba Diving Extravaganza:
Cano Island truly shines as a scuba diver's paradise. Beneath the surface, a mesmerizing world of diverse marine life unfolds. Encounter white-tipped sharks as they patrol the deep, their sleek forms a testament to nature's raw power. Marvel at the majesty of manta rays as they gracefully glide through the water, their movements a mesmerizing ballet. Stingrays, barracudas, tuna, and giant snapper add a burst of color and excitement to your underwater journey. Sailfish and marlin may make a fleeting appearance, adding a dash of adrenaline to your dive. As you explore the labyrinthine coral formations, you'll encounter a kaleidoscope of reef fish, their vibrant hues creating a living tapestry of color.

Turtle Treasures:
One of the most enchanting sights at Cano Island is the presence of sea turtles. Glide alongside these ancient mariners as they navigate their underwater world with grace. Keep your eyes peeled for olive ridley sea turtles, their gentle movements a reminder of the delicate balance of life in the ocean.

Whale Watcher's Delight:
As the seasons shift, Cano Island becomes a stage for some of the ocean's most majestic creatures. Witness the awe-inspiring migration of humpback whales, whose haunting songs reverberate through the depths. False orcas and pilot whales may also make an appearance, their presence a reminder of the ocean's vast mysteries.

Guided Adventures:
While exploring Cano Island's underwater wonders, consider enlisting the expertise of local guides. Their knowledge of the terrain and the resident marine life enhances your experience, ensuring you don't miss a moment of the action.

A Protected Paradise:
Cano Island Biological Reserve is a testament to conservation efforts, where nature's beauty and history are preserved. The island's rich history, both below and above the water, is a testament to its importance. Dive into this aquatic Eden, where history and adventure coexist beneath the shimmering surface.

Cno Island At a Glance

Region: South Pacific island
Closest town: Drake Bay
Size in hectares: 2,900 (7,166 acres)
Year established: 1978
Elevation in meters: 0 – 123 (1 – 404 feet)
Private managed: no
Government managed: yes
Rangers station: yes
Overnight facilities: no
Public restrooms: yes, though not always open
Entrance fee: $15pp
Days: daily
Hours: 08:00 - 16:00
Hiking trails: yes, though not always open
Boat tours: yes
Average temperature range in Fahrenheit: 70 - 90
Average yearly precipitation in millimeters: 4,000 (157 inches)
Habitat: coral reef, beach, rainforest

Weather and packing list

The weather on Cano Island is hot and moist.  Temperatures are usually in the 90s during the day and 70s at night.  The island receives 4,000 mm or 157 inches of precipitation annually.  The driest months to visit are December through April.

Visitors to Cano Island should pack a bathing suit, towel, shorts, tee shirts, appropriate shoes, rain gear, sun block, and insect repellent. 

Fun Fact: Cano Island has a history of being struck by lightning more than any other place in Central America. This is thought by locals to be because Cano Island was a Pre-Columbian cemetery and the land is believed to be sacred.

Nearby Destinations

Dominical140 km
Uvita123 km
Manuel Antonio188 km


Latitude: N 8° 42' 17.62"
Longitude: W 83° 52' 55.53"

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