Twelve miles offshore of Drake Bay is Caño Island, home of Caño Island Biological Reserve. The island was once used as a cemetery in Pre-Columbian times and is where many of the mysterious stone spheres of Central America are located, thought to have been carved by Pre-Columbian natives by scientists. Today, Caño Island is especially popular for diving and snorkeling.

Caño Island Biological Reserve encompasses the 200 hectare island and nearly 2700 hectares of the waters surrounding the island. It is located about 45 minutes by boat from Drake Bay.

Caño Island Biological Reserve

mobula breaching in front of cano island

Mobula Rays breaching in front of Caño Island

     The waters around Caño Island constitute some of the best diving and snorkeling in Costa Rica, second only to Coco Island.  

White-tipped Sharks, Red Snappers, Sea Turtles, Jacks, Parrotfish, Eels and several species of Ray are often spotted during diving and snorkeling trips to the Island.

The boat ride out to Caño Island can be just as exciting as Spotted, Bottle-nosed, Spinner and Common Dolphins are often encountered along the way. Humpback Whales, Pseudorcas and other whales may be encountered in season.


Scuba Diving at Caño Island 

Scuba enthusiasts will find a blue oasis at Cano Island. Fissures, pinnacles, canyons, and unique rock formations host huge schools of barracuda, tuna, snapper, and roosterfish.  At times the numbers of fish are so great that sunlight is actually blocked by an immense cloud of fish.  This stunning phenomena, an underwater eclipse, is just one of the features which lead dive travelers to designate Caño Island a world-class destination. 

Snorkeling with sea turtles at Caño Island

Caño Island offers divers world-class scuba diving featuring, in the words of Skin Diver Magazine, "unequaled parades of pelagic fish."  There are 6 dive sites which are open to the public:

  • Barco Hundido (Shipwreck) - Depth: 15 - 20 meters (50 - 70 feet)


  • El Jardín (Coral Gardens) - Depth: 5 - 10 meters (15 - 30 feet)


  • Los Arcos (The Arches) - Depth: 10 - 18 meters (30 - 55 feet)


  • Paraíso (Paradise) - Depth: 20 - 23 meters (60 - 70 feet)


  • La Cueva (Shark Cave) - Depth: 10 - 17 meters (30 - 50 feet)


  • Bajo del Diablo (Devil's Pinnacle) - Depth: 15 - 40 meters (45 - 130 feet)

This underwater kingdom not only hosts incredible parades of fish,  Cano Island also boasts some of the most impressive marine life in the world. If fortune has it, adventure divers may witness the awesome sea-flight of the elusive whale shark or humpback whale. 

Porpoises and hammerheads are sometimes seen during the dives while  schools of rays and white tip reef sharks provide a dramatic floorshow.  Hundreds of tropical fish are also sure to grant the adventure diver a sensory celebration. 

With visibility hovering between 40 and 90 feet, and water temperatures oscillating between 75 to 82° F,  Caño Island Scuba diving is quite simply an outstanding adventure.