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Caño Island Marine Reserve

Measuring 1.9 miles (3 km) in length and 1.2 miles (2 km) in width, Caño Island resides just 10 miles (16 km) west of the Osa Peninsula. Initially established as an extension of Corcovado National Park, Caño Island, on March 9, 1978, was recognized as a Biological Reserve. In its entirety, the Caño Island Reserve encompasses 1.2 sq miles (3.2 sq km) of land and 22.4 sq miles (58 sq km) of ocean.

There are just two walking trails on Caño Island, one which leads to an archeological site known as "Sitio Archeologico", and a second, "El Mirador", which terminates at a beautiful lookout on the south side of the island. Both trails begin along a common path, before separating into two separate trails further inland. The trail(s) start off from behind the Ranger Station, with a rather steep, uphill climb. It soon plateaus, and shortly thereafter you’ll reach an intersection with signs pointing towards the two above mentioned trails - the hike from the ranger station to this intersection takes only 8-10 minutes. At the intersection, turn left and continue along this same trail, which is quite flat, open and bright. As you proceed further inland the trail tends to wind a bit, but it remains very well marked, easy to navigate, and relatively dry due to a a very sparse canopy. After hiking for another 20 minutes, you will reach a second intersection where the trail splits into two separate paths.

If you wish to see the island's archeological site, then continue straight along the same path. The remaining section, an additional 10-15 minutes, is relatively flat, but wetter than previous sections. A cemetery during pre-Colombian times, Caño Island Reserve is of major archaeological importance. In fact, visitors today can still see a limited number of perfectly round spheres, presumed to have been created by indigenous tribes.

To visit the "El Mirador" (look-out), turn to the right. The hike to the look-out takes only 10-15 minutes, and just prior to reaching its end the trail dips rather quickly, only to then climb back up.

Caño Island is not known for an abundance of wildlife, however it’s estimated that 69 animal species inhabit the island. They include: 5 mammals, 4 amphibians, 9 reptiles and 31 birds. Providing you proceed slowly and quietly, you may see some of these animals in the lower elevations of the forest canopy or on the jungle floor.

The water in front of the ranger station is relatively shallow, and provides snorkelers with an excellent opportunity to familiarize yourself with the underwater terrain and sea life surrounding Caño Island. The tide pools, just 25-50 ft. off the beach, are home to numerous species of marine life, A great place to snorkel!

Getting to Caño Island

Most hotels in and around Drake Bay offer daily tours to Caño Island. Popular with snorkelers, divers and hikers alike, the short ride from Drake Bay makes Caño Island one of the areas most popular tours. The Caño Island Ranger Station ranger station maintains an office, public bathroom, freshwater shower. You are not permitted to remain on the island overnight.

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