Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge (Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Mixto Caño Negro) Tours
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Home to more than 200 speices of rare bird, Caño Negro is one of the most biologically rich wetlands in the world. Many mammals and reptiles can also be spotted around the freshwater lagoon, making it one of Costa Rica's best wildlife-watching destinations.
While it's possible to access the refuge on your own during dry season, its most enriching to take a tour led by a naturalist guide—exploring with an expert increases your chance of spotting wildlife such as howler monkeys, 3-toed sloths, Jesus Christ lizards, turtles, and caimans. Tour of the wetlands typically transport you by boat or kayak; the latter allows you to get closer to wildlife without disturbing them.
Things to Know Before You Go
- With luck, avid bird watchers will spot glossy ibises, green-backed herons, Nicaraguan grackle, or the endangered jabiru.
- Bring bug spray and binoculars (or a camera with a good zoom lens) to spot and photograph wildlife from a distance.
- There are no restroom or dining facilities in the park, but most tours include lunch in a nearby village.
- Fishing is allowed on the Rio Frio for most of the year; licenses are available at the ranger station in Caño Negro village.
How to Get There
Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge is located about two hours north of La Fortuna in Costa Rica’s Alajuela province, near the Nicaraguan border. The rural roads can be difficult to navigate, so traveling with a local driver or tour company is recommended. During the rainy season when water levels rise, a boat tour is essential.
When to Get There
The wildlife refuge is open daily, year-round. Birdwatchers should trying to target the dry season (mid-November to April), when receding water levels attract an influx of migratory birds. From May to mid-November, most of the refuge is only accessible by boat. Fishing is allowed from July 1 through March 31.
Where to See Wildlife in Costa Rica
As one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, protected wildlife areas exist in every corner of Costa Rica. Monteverde’s cloud forest is a mist-shrouded refuge that blooms with plant life, while Manuel Antonio National Park combines pristine beach scenery with monkey-filled coastal forests. Near San Jose, the Tarcoles River is a popular stop for croc-spotting, while Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean side is known for its namesake turtles.
Address: Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, Los Chiles, Costa Rica
Hours: Daily at all times
1 Tours and Activities to Experience Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge (Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Mixto Caño Negro)
9-Day Best of Northwest Costa Rica from San Jose: Arenal Volcano National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest and Guanacaste
Discover the extraordinary natural beauty and amazing biodiversity of Costa Rica on this 9-day tour of the country’s northwestern region. Departing from San Jose, visit Arenal Volcano National Park, Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, the cloud forest of Monteverde, Tamarindo’s famed beaches, and Vida Aventura Nature Park in Guanacaste. The tour includes 8 nights of accommodation, all transfers, exciting activities, and many meals so you can skip the stress of planning and simply enjoy your spectacular Costa Rica vacation.
Taking safety measures
Face masks required for travelers in public areas
Face masks required for guides in public areas
Face masks provided for travelers
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge (Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Mixto Caño Negro) hours of operation?
Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge (Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Mixto Caño Negro) hours of operation: Daily at all times. Buy tickets in advance on Viator. If you book with Viator, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund.
What's the best way to experience Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge (Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Mixto Caño Negro)?
The best ways to experience Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge (Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Mixto Caño Negro) are:
- 9-Day Best of Northwest Costa Rica from San Jose: Arenal Volcano National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest and Guanacaste
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