Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge Costa Rica

Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge and Reserve

Cano Negro Natural Wildlife Refuge, often nicknamed the everglades of Costa Rica, is one of the best spots for seeing certain wildlife in the entire country.  Situated on a stretch of wetlands along the Nicaraguan border, the 9,969-hectare (24620 acre, or 38 square miles). The Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge follows the Rio Frio and eventually emptying out into a grassy marshland.  The refuge and the area leading to the reserve boasts one of the highest diversities of wildlife in the Americas and is of special interest to birders. Cano Negro Tour takes place on the Rio Frio on the Outskirts of the Refuge which is the best part for wildlife viewing.

The Cano Negro full-day tour leaves La Fortuna at 7.30am (earlier from Arenal hotels) and includes lunch.  Transport will pick you up at your hotel to begin the 1 hour or so long drive to the city of Los Chiles at the entrance of the reserve.  There is a lot to see on the journey to Los Chiles as you will pass through one of the most productive agricultural areas of Costa Rica with immense plantations of Pineapple, Papaya, Beans, Rica and Sugar Cane.

Upon arrival in Los Chiles, the group departs the bus for a motorized covered boat to travel up and down the Rio Frio. This part of the river is full of fish; including large fish called snook, silver-gold tarpon and garfish.  The fish in the river attract a huge number of birds including anhinga, roseate spoonbills, storks, ducks, kingfishers, herons and cormorants.  You can also see many species of mammals along the banks including white-faced monkeys, howler monkeys, two and three toed sloths, pumas, jaguars and bats.  There are even reptiles to see; caimans, lizards and turtles are all around.

What to Bring?

  • The boat will frequently stop for photo opportunities so bring lots of film (or memory space)

  • The river is not that buggy but repellent can prove useful

  • sunscreen is always a good idea


  • All land transport

  • Boat trip

  • Natural guide

  • Home made lunch


  • 7:30am


  • Around 4 hours, including an hour lunch break.

Please take in consideration before booking

  • Recommended for Children 6 and Over

  • For tours today or for tomorrow please chat with us

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Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge Costa Rica Gallery