Second only to Costa Rica’s Cocos Island, Cano Island (Isla del Cano) is widely considered one of the country’s top diving and snorkeling destinations. Its unspoiled beaches, rainforest spilling down to the shoreline, and lack of infrastructure remind you of a long lost paradise… one that is surprisingly accessible to travelers eager to explore its underwater mysteries.
Cano Island quick facts
- Location: 10 miles offshore from Drake Bay; 7 miles from Corcovado National Park
- Area: 6,669 maritime acres and 496 land acres
- Height: 123 meters above sea level
- Protected status: Biological Reserve
- Tourist facilities: none other than a basic ranger station; no restaurant or restrooms
- What to bring: hat, plenty of high SPF sunscreen, T-shirt, towel, dry change of clothes, and camera. Remember to re-apply sunscreen even on overcast days.
- What tours include: entrance fee to Cano Island, r/t transport from departure point, boat transfer, bilingual guide, snorkeling or diving gear, water and a picnic lunch.
- Popular dive sites: Cueva del Tiburon (Shark’s Cave); Paraiso (Paradise); El Arco (The Arch); Bajo del Diablo (Under the Devil)
- Best Visibility: Dry season months of January-April, though marine life is more abundant during the rainy season.
Swim with the sharks: diverse marine life
Day trips to Cano Island depart from Manuel Antonio/Quepos, Dominical, Drake Bay and Sierpe. And the journey there by boat is half the fun! As the wind whips through your hair, look for jumping manta rays, pods of spinner and bottlenose dolphins and breaching humpback whales that mate and feed in the warm Pacific waters. Whether you’re snorkeling above the reefs or exploring the depths of this ancient underwater mountain, marine life abounds. Hundreds of big-eyed jacks, spotted eagle rays, hawksbill and green sea turtles, puffer fish, moray eels, octopi, snapper, whitetip reef sharks, parrotfish, barracudas and trigger fish are all on display. Lucky divers have even swum alongside mammoth whale sharks – once in a lifetime experience!
Cano Island scuba diving tours
All diving groups are accompanied by experienced PADI divemasters, who ensure safety always comes first. Most tours accommodate a maximum of 10 to 12 divers, who are shuttled to five unique dive sites, which have been opened to the public. Depths range from 20 to 80 feet, making Cano Island suitable for beginner and intermediate divers. Depending on the tides and weather, visibility can range from 40 to 90 feet.