Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge
El Amparo, Costa Rica
Text©Beatrice Blake-New Key to Costa Rica
Comprises the Río Frío and Caño Negro Lake, which grows and shrinks seasonally. The wetland refuge was created to protect the diverse aquatic birds that live and breed there including the northern jacana, which builds its nest on lily pads; the endangered jabiru; black, long-necked, and sharp-billed anhingas; and roseate spoonbills, the only pink birds in Costa Rica. Caño Negro is home to the country’s largest colony of olivaceous or neotropical cormorants, glossy black birds that fish in groups then dry out their wings in the sun. Birding is best between January and April. Sloths, iguanas, and three types of monkey inhabit the trees on the shores of the Río Frío; you will probably see caimans and turtles, and maybe even the gar fish, a prehistoric relic with a caiman-like snout and a hard exoskeleton. Fishermen are enthusiastic about the lake because of the tarpon, snook, rainbow bass, machaca, and drum that abound there. Park rules prohibit fishing from May through July.The village of Caño Negro is within the refuge, right on the western side of the lake. It still has not been impacted by tourism, because most of the tours that say they are going to “Caño Negro” actually go to the bustling border town of Los Chiles, 19 kilometers northeast of the village, where a fleet of canopied tourist boats takes people to the eastern edge of the refuge, but not inside it, so they won’t have to pay the park entrance fee ($6).
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Nearby Activities & Attractions
Nearby Hotels & Lodges
The nearest town is El Amparo, 10.8 km away and Aeropuerto Arenal airport is 52 km.
Please note that distances for nearby hotels, attractions, activites & other points of interest are in a straight line. Distances by road may be significantly longer!
The approximate gps map coordinates of Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge are latitude 10.8904, longitude -84.7869. (exact GPS coordinates are accurate to within a few meters, gps data labeled approximate is within a few hundred meters)