Cano Island

Just off the southwestern coast of Costa Rica lies Cano Island. Only 12 miles from Drake Bay, the island is home to some of the best snorkeling and diving in Costa Rica. Despite the island being a biological reserve and covered with heavy forestation, you will be hard pressed to find a lot of wildlife here. The beaches are virtually uninhabited by either human or animal. But there is little doubt why this is one of the top places for Costa Rica snorkeling. Everything here lives under the sea, with fish of every color in the rainbow darting in and around the coral reefs surrounding the reserve. Visibility is also quite remarkable - the warm cerulean waters offer an undistorted view into the vast marine life below. For a nominal fee, scuba diving classes are available, with certified divers taking teams of tourists deep into the recesses of the Pacific Ocean.

Half the battle, of course, is making it out to Cano Island. It"s a nature reserve, so you will be forced to stay in nearby Drake Bay Costa Rica. The bay itself is one of the more remote locations in the entire country. Many of the hotels and lodges are quite isolated themselves, and most only work within the context of vacation packages.

But if you can just get to Drake Bay Costa Rica, there is a good chance your hotel or lodge will host its own tours of Cano Island, with both half and full day options available. In addition to being the best place for diving in Costa Rica and one of the most popular spots for sport fishing, the island is also an architectural preserve. One of the few remains of the pre-Columbian residents of Costa Rica can be found here, a wide array of granite spheres dotting Cano Island like giant gray eyes. The creation and use of these mysterious spheres, each one carved over a series of several centuries and ranging in size from a few inches up to seven feet in diameter, is still unknown after thousands of years. Though the stone balls are found throughout the country, they are best preserved in the Cano Island rain forests of Costa Rica. While their size, placement, creation and social importance continue to be a mystery, they give the island an impressive, prehistoric feel.

The main reason for the inclusion of Drake Bay Costa Rica and Cano Island will always be the intense marine life locked under the waves, however, and nothing can match your first glimpse of the teeming schools of fish beneath the water"s halcyon surface. Whether you prefer snorkeling or diving in Costa Rica, this remote island is beyond compare.

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