The two C’s, Cocos Island and Cano Island are renowned as the best dive locations of Costa Rica and perhaps Central America in general. Whereas Cocos is inaccessible unless one pays a vast amount of money to dive on a liveaboard and venture deep into the pacific, Cano is closer to the mainland, in fact many dive companies in the Osa Peninsula are able to take divers to the island.
Just 12 miles from the coast, the boat ride is usually less than 1 hour from Drakes Bay depending on the weather. A beautiful island lush with forests, waterfalls and world class diving, Cano has been established as a protected national park. Not only is Cano a haven for diving, it is also a world class destination to see rare and illusive bird species that migrate and nest on the island throughout the year. A biological reserve, Cano’s deep walls and pinnacles are home to stingrays, dolphins, whales and sharks to name a few.
The best time to dive Cano is between December and June where the dry season allows ideal conditions. The water is warm and clear and the currents are often perfect for beginners. With water temperatures reaching as high as 84 F and water visibility at times exceeding 80 feet there is a lot to enjoy underwater. Cano is known for its bi-annual migration of whales and dolphins, yet the more common species to encounter underwater are barracuda, turtles, various species of ray and if timed correctly, plenty of white-tip reef sharks.
Here is a list of some of the world class sites.
Bajo del Diablo is one of the dives recommended for advanced divers. Stronger currents and deeper bottoms (reaching 80 feet) allow a plethora of pelagic and predator life to dwell in the water here. Mantas (between February and June) and mobulas are seen here as well as huge shoals of jackfish, barracuda and even trevally. Considered the best site of the island, Bajo del Diablo is famed for its ornate underwater landscape where large pinnacles rise from the deep. White-tip reef sharks and nurse sharks often lie on the sand protected underneath large rock overhangs.
Coral Gardens is a site with a wealth of brain coral and soft bommies that are unexpected in a volcanic area. A shallow dive ideal for beginners, the coral garden is often a macro photographer’s paradise with good chances to encounter eels and smaller critters.
Cueva Del Tiburon is located a short distance from the ranger station on the island. With depths reaching 50 feet this site is considered for intermediate divers. This 40-foot-deep cave is home to resting white-tip and nurse sharks as well as diamond stingrays and boxfish. Mola Mola and larger marine creatures such as sailfish have been seen cruising in the blue waters off the cave.