Costa Rica is home to the third most important wetland in the world, the Caño Negro National Wildlife Refuge. Located in a remote area near the Nicaraguan border, approximately 20 kilometers south of Los Chiles and near the town of Caño Negro in the province of Alajuela, this site of typical nature and fauna was declared by UNESCO in 2007 as part of the world reserve of the biosphere of water and peace.
The Caño Negro National Park, an obligatory destination for ecotourism in the Latin American country, is a place of connection with the peace of nature and without large crowds, designated as a wetland of International Importance in 1991.
In addition, Caño Negro has been considered a world protected area by conservation groups such as Ramsar, for being home to some of the rarest species of plants, animals and birds in the world.
Experience of wildlife
In the center there are different tours to the Caño Negro National Wildlife Refuge, where the experience of wildlife is one of the strong points for the visitor. Tours are carried out in different formats, but among the preferred, river boat routes with local guides are one of the best ways to get a true look at the incredible Costa Rican biodiversity.
These expert guides have the experience to recognize the alligators, snakes and the emerald basilisk that hide in this wetland, therefore the trips along the waterways, sometimes entering channels surrounded by flora and fauna, are guided by their customary looks.
The enormous biodiversity of Caño Negro is born from the confluence of the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific. The peace and quiet of moving through the water with only the sounds of pure nature around you is truly one of the great strengths of this ecotourism destination. With over 100 hectares of lagoons, the wildlife hiding places seem endless to the newcomer.
The forests offer protection for three species of monkeys that reside here: the howler, the spider, and the capuchin. While traveling, it is common to hear the distinctive howls of howler monkeys echoing above. Deer, sloths, anteaters and the rarely seen ocelots, jaguars and pumas are found deep within the wildlife refuge to complete the site’s canvas of nature.
The Caño Negro National Wildlife Refuge is a wetland swamp and exists due to two rivers, Río Frío and Río Mónica. The rainy season generally lasts from the months of May to November, where these rivers begin to overflow and the marshes fill up. Inside the refuge is the Caño Negro lagoon, which is approximately 3 meters deep and is another of the park’s treasures.
During the rainy season, the visitor has the opportunity to silently float inside the open lagoon in search of some of the beautiful birds and fish. Among the marine fauna present in this special area of the Park, there is a living fossil, the Gaspar fish, a fish that has barely changed in appearance for millions of years.
Caño Nero, without a doubt, holds many more secrets than these brushstrokes, but those will have to be known from the warmth of a face-to-face visit to one of the most endearing places in the wild nature of Costa Rica.