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Arenal - La Fortuna
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Caño Negro
General information


It is located on the north part from the country on the Alajuela province, near the Nicaragua’s frontier at 21km from Los Chiles, at 36km from Upala and 291km from San Jose.
Conservation Area:
Huetar Norte Conservational Area (ACA-HN)
10171 hectares
Important: from April to July the park remains closed due to the fishing period
When to go?

Dry season: February to April
Migratory birds: January to March
Important: from April to July the park remains closed due to the fishing period

Conatct information
Regional Office:
(00506) 2471-1309
(00506) 2471-0006
Send mail
Web Page:
Visit Wen Page
Camping permissions:
General information
The Caño Negro Wild Life Natural Shelter is one of the most outstanding wet zones from Mesoamerican. It is a sanctuary for species in danger of extinction and a migratory area for birds, with wide biodiversity, recommended for the nature lovers.

It is the third most important wetland from the world, included on the International Important Wetlands List from the Ramsar Convention, displaying one of the most important wetlands from our territory.
It is considered as International Importance for working as a shelter for migratory species, in danger of extinction and of commercial value. Among its great flora and fauna variety are included many species that are only found on this area, besides birds and fish used as food.
It has low grounds, station flood areas, lagoons, swamps and yolillaes. Its lagoon, filth by the Frio River, dries itself during the dry season, leaving small lagoons, spouts, furrows and small beaches.
It is a no match educative experience, example of eco-tourism and preservation, as well as of investigation. It was the first shelter with an adequate care of its resources, in search of educating its visitants about the importance of the wetlands. Part of this territory was declared by the UNESCO as Peace and Water Biosphere Reserve.

The annual precipitation is between 2500 and 3000mm per year. Annual temperature: between the 25°C and 27°C.

On the Caño Negro Wild Life Natural Shelter are found 5 main habitats with more than 300 plant species among trees and bushes.
It has herbaceous vegetation on the lagoon’s edge and along the canals with species like the pasto gamalote and the humble plant, small trees like the gauba (abundant), jelinjoche, poro and sotocaballo. There is also some swamp vegetation like the juncos.
On the flooded areas we can observe two different habitats: one primary flooded forest with the cebo, guacimo Colorado, mayo and the tamarind; and Camibar or caobilla forests.
It has homogenous vegetation areas called as marillales with trees like the maria, sangregao and the palm. There are also the yolillales (dominant tree) together with the palmiche and coquillo.

The Caño Negro Wild Life Natural Shelter, for being a source of food for migratory birds from the north, counts with 307 species, as well as 78 mammal species and 96 reptile species.
Among the vast bird species we can find the Nicaraguan Scarlet-bellied Mountain-tanage, a Nicaraguan endemic specie which only population is found on this shelter, the northern jacana, Neotropic Cormorant (biggest colony from the country) and the great blue heron, as well as the snakebird, Roseate Spoonbill, white ibis, wood stork and piche; and the jabiru in danger of extinction.
Among the mammal species in danger of extinction we can find the tapir, jaguar, puma and ocelot, even we can find the giant anteater. There are also more common species like the howler monkey, white faced capuchin, and the Geofroy’s spider monkey, tayra, two and three-toed sloths, otter, bats, skunk and deer.
On the rivers live some alligators, iguanas, river and land turtles, also the emerald basilisk; around 30 fresh water fish species, including the Gaspar which is a living fossil.
Recently, as part of the efforts of species conservation, more than 1500 Gaspar species were released.

Services and facilities on the Park
Facilities and services that the park offers
Wetlands ecologic investigation center:
1. Laboratories
2. Rooms
3. Incubation area
4. Rescue area
General information
Fresh water
Boat rent

Inside the Park:
Limited trails
River and lagoon tour
Bird observation

Outside the Park
Cabins, hotels and restaurants on Los Chiles
Taxi rent on Los Chiles
Horse rides
Mountain bike
Canopy on Ciudad Quesada
Bird observation
Caverns, rappel
Visit the Los Guatusos Native Reserve
In Caño Negro you can rent boats for making tours in the river and the lagoon, and also there are cabins and markets.

Caño Negro
  • Recomendations
  • Interesting data
Tips para el viajero
Access recommendations:
Schedule: 8:00am to 4:00pm; but the shelter remains closed from April to July due to the fishing season
Migratory birds: January to March

General recommendations inside the Park:
In case of needing help, ask the Park rangers

Clothes and equipment recommendations:
Bring fresh clothes, insect repellent and lotion
Bring comfortable shoes, binoculars and camera
Bring fresh water

Lodge recommendations:
The Ecologic Research Center about wetlands has rooms

Responsible tourist recommendations:
Do not cut or disturb the plants
No hunting or mistreat the animals
There isn’t allow pets
Do not throw any garbage

Fauna recommendations:
Despite of the biodiversity, some animals are rare to see because of their night, reproductive and migratory habits

Datos interesantes
Datos interesantes:

Caño Negro Lagoon:

It is a fresh water lagoon of 3m deep and 800 hectares of extension. The Frio River and its tributary Monica River basin on this lake.

During the dry season (between February and March) the lake dries almost totally.
The lagoon and its surroundings are areas of great importance for the flora and fauna species conservation and protection.

Native populations

The shelter is located near the Los Guatusos Native Reserve, a Maleku camp, which are direct descendants from the old native Guatusos, located at 165km north from San Jose, south-east from Los Chiles, on the Nicaraguan Frontier.

The reserve was established on 1976, over 2994 hectares, with an approximate population of 450 habitants distributed on three communities: Tonjibe, Margarita and El Sol.

Caño Negro
como llegar?
How to get there?
By bus:
San Jose-Caño Negro Route passing by Los Chiles:
San Carlos Auto Transports (San Jose, 7-9 Avenue, 12 Street)
From San Jose to Los Chiles:
Everyday: 5:30am and 3:30pm
From Los Chiles to San Jose:
Everyday: 5:00am and 3:00pm
Phone: (00506) 2255-0567
From Los Chiles to Caño Negro (bus station)
Everyday: 5:00am and 2:00pm
Return: 7:00am, 12:00pm and 6:00pm

San Jose, Alajuela, Cañas, San Rafael, Upala, Caño Negro Route (252km):
Driving as from San Jose in north direction towards Alajuela by the Panamericana Route #1, passing by the Juan Santamaria International Airport, continue through the #1 Route without making the diversion to Alajuela’s downtown. Take the entrance to Naranjo, Zarcero up to Ciudad Quesada by the #35 Route. Continue to Florencia, Platanar, Boca Arenal, Santa Rosa up to finally arrive to Los Chiles (approx. 110km). When arriving to Los Chiles drive towards San Jeronimo, San Emilio and Caño Negro in the southwest direction. The last kilometers towards the entrance are burden.
Important: during the rain season is possible that you enter the park by boat.

Other kind of transportation


Caño Negro
Sus comentarios son importantes para mejorar la calidad de nuestra publicacion. Muchas gracias
Comments See all comments

Carlos Zegarra R
Costa Rica

Correción a la nota
Hola Cinthya. Vamos a revisar esta información y corregirla de inmediato. Muchas gracias por tu aporte.

Cinthya Sequeira S.

Sería bueno aclarar este punto
OJO:De abril a julio el parque se encuentra cerrado debido a la pesca No es cierto. Para efecto de los visitantes nunca está cerrado. Si bien es cierto, el periodo de pesca es estacionaria, no significa que el parque cierra.

Costa Rica Explorer Guide
Costa Rica

Hoteles en Caño Negro
Hola Liliana. Gracias por contactarnos. A pesar de que de momento no tenemos listados ningún hotel en la zona, te podemos el link del hotel de Caño Negro par que te informes. Esperamos poder hacer sido de ayuda http://www.canonegrolodge.com/ Muchas Gracias

Lilliana Wu
Costa Rica

Me podrian dar un poco mas de informacion???
Hola me gustaria visitar el parque pero quiero hacerlo con un grupo de compañeros lo que pasa es que no consigo informacion de hospedaje ni comidas como para irnos a quedar en semana santa les agradeceria que me ayudaran con algo de informacion mil gracias por la atencion de antemano. mi telefono 7032-86-95

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