Cano Island Biological Refuge

Cano Island Biological Refuge

You will truly feel you have discovered your own “tropical island paradise” as you wander the trails of Cano Island Biological Refuge! The trip out to the island can be done by private charter boat or tour, and the trip itself is half the adventure. On your way to Cano Island you will see dolphins, whales, and sea turtles as they swim right beside and under the boat ? have your camera ready! As you approach Cano Island you will notice that it rises steeply right out of the ocean, and the bay where you dock is a beautiful aqua blue leading to a white sand beach. The ranger station is next to the beach, and you can get information about the island and its trails that circle the island with overlooks from high cliffs and archaeological sites along the way. Cano Island was a Pre-Columbian cemetery and the ancient culture believed the island was sacred because it is struck by lightning more than any other area in Central America!

Cano Island has become the newest hot spot for adventure divers worldwide. The waters surrounding Cano Island are filled with an abundance of marine life and coral reefs. There are sharks (and lots of them!), dolphins, sea turtles, morays, stingrays, snappers, and grouper. Diving is so popular here that they have a strict limit to 10 divers at a time and only 5 dive sites open to the public. You will find 15′- 16′ reefs and 80′ walls. In the 5 coral reefs you can find 15 species of stony coral, or you can just snorkel off the sandy beach and see beautiful tropical fish.

A mystery that has never been solved is the finding of many perfectly round stone spheres made by the native Indians of the Pre-Columbian culture. You will find these stones and other artifacts along the trails throughout the island. The only mammals you will find on Cano Island are pigs and tepezcuintles.

Cano Island Biological Refuge, established in 1976, consists of 805 acres and is part of the Puntarenas Province, about 20 km NW of the Osa Peninsula. The GPS coordinates are Lat – 8.704894, Long – 83.882092. Camping is allowed near the ranger station (open 8-4) which has restrooms and drinkable water.

Note: On our trip out to Cano Island, our boat stopped to rescue a young sea turtle completely entangled in plastic. It took our boat’s captain and son 10 minutes to cut away all the plastic that would have eventually drowned the young sea turtle. We all held him briefly before releasing him back to the sea. Watching him swim away, freed from man’s waste, was one of the most moving moments of my life!

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