CAÑO ISLAND: snorkeling and diving among sharks + how to get there

Are you going to visit Drake Bay (Costa Rica) and want to go snorkeling or diving in Caño Island? I tell you what tour to hire in order to see the corals and sharks up close, either snorkeling or scuba diving

👉 I’ll tell you all the information about Isla del Caño: what you’ll see, what the tour is like, how to get there and where to stay

Isla del Caño (Costa Rica)

  1. Snorkeling and diving in Isla del Caño
  2. How is the snorkeling or diving tour in Isla del Caño
  3. How to get to Caño Island/Drake Bay
  4. Useful things in Costa Rica
  5. Where to Stay
  6. Best time to go to Drake Bay and Caño Island
  7. Tours in Costa Rica
  8. Is it a safe place to travel?
  9. Eating vegan in Costa Rica
  10. Things to do in Drake Bay

Bahía Drake and Caño Island

If you are planning a trip to Costa Rica (👉COSTA RICA GUIDE), you should know that it is a country characterized by the beauty of its beaches, mountains, volcanoes and the diversity of its wildlife.


If you’re not a citizen, here you can check the ✅REQUIREMENTS and get the VISA, and so you can travel peacefully without worrying about your health and safety, here you’ll find a 💥 TRAVEL INSURANCE. And don’t forget to get 🏠10€/10$ DISCOUNT on ACCOMODATION!


Drake Bay is an inaccessible destination located in the south of Costa Rica. Its main attraction is its wild and incredibly preserved beaches. It is a perfect destination if you are passionate about the sun, the sea, wildlife and hiking, and especially if you are looking for a little adventure!

In addition, Drake Bay is one of the best known accesses (along with Puerto Jiménez) to visit the CORCOVADO National Park.

In Drake Bay itself you can also go on a night hiking or watch birds in their natural environment. Without forgetting about SNORKELING in Isla del Caño and, for the most daring, you can go DIVING between columns of corals!

Snorkeling and diving in Caño Island

To end my stay in Drake Bay, I decided to sign up for the Caño Island snorkeling tour, and it was a great decision. If you want to go SNORKELING (👉PRICE) or DIVING (👉PRICE) there, keep in mind that it is a protected area and can only be accessed with a guide, but the experience is really worth it.

The day I went the visibility was brutally good, and this is really important since you will be snorkeling quite a few meters deep and in this way you can see the entire landscape down to the ground.

Basically what you will see is a reef in the form of giant columns, full of corals and colorful little fish, there are a lot of different types, small and huge, solitary or in schools; with luck you will come across a turtle and… most impressively, sharks!

I saw two of them, a white tip and a nurse shark, both beautiful and spectacular. It is a very good experience, both for the fauna that abounds in Costa Rica and for the aquatic landscape that really impressed me.

Snorkel buceo en isla del Caño bahia drake costa rica
I couldn’t take any picture. The photo is not from Caño Island but it looks similar.

Caño Island Biological Reserve

If you are already in Drake Bay, the only way to get to Isla del Caño is with a guide, since it is a protected area and by law you will not be able to access it on your own.

So you will have to hire a tour to go SNORKELING (👉PRICE) or DIVING (👉PRICE) and be able to enjoy the underwater life of Costa Rica. Next, I will tell you what the tours are like and where the guide will take you.

Snorkeling or diving tour in Isla del Caño: What to expect

Normally you do an hour of snorkeling, then you go to a small beach on Caño Island to rest and then you have lunch on the beach of San Josecito and then you do one more hour of snorkeling, it’s about 6 hours in total. Regarding lunch, if you have any kind of food intolerance or if you are vegan/vegetarian, you can let us know and they will adapt the menu.

In my case I asked for vegan options and the truth is that it was a very very pleasant surprise, I was able to eat almost everything and it was very good, they offered a lot of different options and they separated the meat from the side dish so that I could also eat the vegetables, great.

You can also repeat as many times as you want and you don’t stay hungry (I’m always hungry on tours because I can’t eat anything…). Then you have a while to swim or lie on the beach (there are quite a few coconuts) and then you go back to Playa Colorada.

In general, it was a very good experience, so cheer up and go explore the waters of Caño Island, which really deserve it!

How to get to Drake Bay

The road to Drake Bay is a bit long and you can do it by bus, plane (only from San José), transfer or car.

How to get to Dake Bay from SAN JOSÉ

You can get to Drake Bay from San José in three ways: TRANSFER (👉 PRICES), plane and bus. The journey by road takes about 6 hours and 30 minutes; and, if you decide to go by air, the flight lasts 50 minutes.

Here you will find detailed information to get to Drake Bay from San José, Uvita, Dominical and Sierpe.

How to get to Drake Bay from PUERTO JIMÉNEZ

You have two ways to make the journey from Puerto Jiménez to Drake Bay and vice versa: by TRANSFER (👉PRICES) or by bus.

In the case of the transfer, you can do the tour in two hours. If you choose to go by bus, the journey will be longer, since you will have to change at La Palma.

Here you will find detailed information to get to Drake Bay from Puerto Jiménez.

Useful stuff for your trip to Costa Rica

Below, you will find some products that will be very useful during your trip to Costa Rica.

In addition, the options that I recommend are committed to the environment/social causes and are vegan.

Waterproof windbreaker

vegan+ environment commitment

Carrying a waterproof windbreaker in your suitcase is essential in case temperatures drop, it rains unexpectedly, or to go hiking.

When traveling, it’s important to choose a jacket that is lightweight, takes up little space and that you can use in different situations; that is to say, that transpires, is waterproof and has a hood to protect you properly from bad weather.

👉 Price for MAN and for WOMAN

Gopro 11 Black

The GOPRO 11 (👉 PRICE) is a great choice if you are visiting natural areas, practicing adventure sports or want to make videos underwater, e.g. while scuba diving or snorkeling.

In addition, with its stabilization and Horizon Lock function, it will allow you to make incredibly stable videos even in adverse situations (such as walking, running or riding a motorcycle). In addition, it comes with an amazing 5.3k image quality.

👉 GOPRO 11 PRICE + specs

3-in-1 hiking shoes

vegan + environment commitment

These La Sportiva shoes are designed to run in the mountains, thanks to this you can use them for hiking, go out to run and do tourism ; saving space in your suitcase.

They are made with goretex, which means they protect you from the inclement weather weather (such as rain, ice or cold) and are adherent to the ground. This makes them ideal for traveling due to their versatility.

👉 Price for MAN and for WOMAN

Where to stay in Drake Bay

The tourist center of Drake Bay is located in Playa Colorada. There are different hotels and hostels, two supermarkets and a restaurant to eat. Although there is everything you need for day to day, the offer in restaurants is not very extensive either.

The only place where you are not allowed to stay is Isla del Caño; since it is a biological reserve and there are no hotels on the island itself.

Staying at Colorada Beach

  • In the case of Drake Bay, I think the only reason it’s worth staying near the tourist area is if you need a supermarket nearby.
  • In addition, it has the disadvantage that most of the accommodations are not located on the beach itself but on a road that goes uphill (it is ugly).

Staying at another beach

If you want to spend just a few days in the area, I think it is a much better option to stay on any other beach, where you will be calmer and have the sea right in front of you.

A location in the center of the path will be very practical for shorter trekkings and to be able to visit the beaches of the path unhurriedly

Best time to visit Drake Bay and Caño Island

Drake Bay is located on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. In this area the seasons are divided into the dry season (from December to April) and the rainy season. With heat peaks between November and March.

If you are interested in snorkeling or diving in Caño Island, the conditions are better during the warm season. Since the rainy season takes place from May to November and the visibility to enjoy the underwater life gets worse.

In order to better decide when to visit Drake Bay, you have to know that the whales arrive in Costa Rica twice a year: from July to November, and from December to March. It is an ideal time to plan your trip and observe these incredible animals in their natural habitat.

Tours in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a country with a wide variety of fauna and nature. You can visit volcanoes, natural parks, towering waterfalls, sunbathe on the beach, kayak,…

I’ll list some of the activities and tours you can enjoy during your trip:

Is Costa Rica Safe to Travel? 

Costa Rica is a moderately dangerous country, where nothing should happen to you if you go carefully and take precautions. Remember to follow these recommendations:

  • In case of robbery, do not resist physically.
  • Do not show a high purchasing power, that is, do not go with jewels, bags, etc … that are expensive.
  • Be careful if you go out at night, and stay in crowded places where you are surrounded by other people.
  • Thefts are usual, so don’t go with the camera or mobile in your hand or hang out of your neck.
  • Try to avoid carrying the backpack on the back. Put it in front of you, or use a belt pouch or a cross bag.

Personally, I spent 3 months traveling alone in Costa Rica (I visited San José, Puerto Viejo, Tortuguero, Dominical, Uvita, Bay Drake and Puerto Jiménez) and I did not find myself in any really serious situation.

Going down the street with the camera, several Costa Rican people approached and warned me that they were carefully with robberies, since they told me that they are very frequent.

In my case, during the trip they tried to steal 2 times and, luckily, I realized on time and I could avoid it. In any case, it is always a good idea to have travel insurance that can compensate you financially and help you if a medical emergency occurs.

👉 If you are interested in traveling alone, I recommend this article about the reasons and benefits of traveling alone and this other article with tips for traveling alone being a woman. I encourage you to try it since it is a great and very profitable experience for oneself.

Eating Vegan in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is not a country faced with vegan food. Anyway, they have some traditional dishes that are vegan or that you can ask without egg or sauces such as the pico of rooster (rice with beans for breakfast), black bean soup or rice with vegetables.

You should always ask if the purés or soups are made with some type of dairy product or meat broth, since at first glance they might seem vegan dishes but not be.

In San José you can find some vegan restaurants, but when you leave the capital the offer is very limited or non -existent. Next, I make three recommendations and in this link you can read tips to travel vegan.

  1. Try to stay in hotels that are characterized by cooking vegan and vegetarian dishes. This is the best option and the most practical for not having to be looking for places where to eat comfortable without always repeating the same dishes.
  2. Before going on a tour that includes a meal, always mention that you are vegan or vegetarian, so that they can adapt the food.
  3. Costa Rica is a country where you can find a variety of fresh products (fruits and vegetables) to prepare salads and breakfast with fruits. In any city or town, you will easily find some supermarket or stalls on the street where you can buy groceries.

What to do near Isla del Caño

The main attraction of Drake Bay and its surroundings are the paradisiacal beaches, the fauna, and scuba diving and snorkeling. I will tell you about some of the places and activities that you cannot miss during your stay.

Cocolito Beach

Playa Cocolito is one of the beaches on the trail, and it is quite quiet. It is divided in two by a small stone wall and provides a little more privacy.

There is a grassy area to lie down where people usually gather, and it has a hotel where you can spend the night.

Caletas Beach

Playa Caletas seemed to me to be one of the best beaches in Drake Bay , and although it has a hotel on the beach itself, it is not noisy at all, but you can easily find yourself alone.

It’s super neat and tidy, and you can swing peacefully on a wooden swing while taking in the views. When I went, I could see two eagles trying to catch a pelican with no luck.

Río Claro (River)

Río Claro is located on the Drake Bay trail, and flows into a beautiful beach where turtles nest.

There is a small refuge there that accepts volunteers to work with the sea turtles, and if you stop by around 4 in the afternoon, you can also see the release and make a small donation.

The people at the refuge also organize boat trips on the river to finance their expenses and, when the tide is high, they can cross you to the other side for a small fee.

San Josecito Beach

The San Josecito beach is located at one of the ends that runs along the coast. It is a good place to have a picnic and rest while hiking. Also, you will find fresh coconuts! (in this link I tell you how open coconuts with your own hands).

In the area of ​​San Josecito + Rincón de San Josecito there are several accommodations and restaurants where you can eat. Compared to Playa Colorada (the main beach), it is a nicer and quieter option to spend the night.

Enjoy your trip to Drake Bay to the fullest!