7 Best Cano Island Diving and Snorkeling Tours (2023)

Author Carina Klein
Carina
· 12 min read · 0 comments

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TL;DR

Scuba diving and snorkelling in Cano Island are among the best sea based activities you can do in Costa Rica!

We loved our Cano Island Tour with friendly dolphins on the way and amazing snorkelling in the Cano Island Biological Reserve – we are sure so will you!

Top 3 Cano Island Tours

#1 Top Pick

Cano Island Scuba Diving for Certified Divers

  • Best-rated Scuba diving tour from Drake Bay to Cano Island.
#2 Top Pick

Whale Watching Tour as seen on National Geographic

  • Spot dolphins and whales in their natural habitat.
  • Featured on countless websites and in TV shows like the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and National Geographic.
#3 Top Pick

Snorkeling Tour in Caño Island with Lunch

  • Best-rated snorkelling tour from Drake Bay to Cano Island.

Cano Island Diving

Picture of Diving Cano Island Costa Rica
Diving Cano Island Costa Rica

1. Cano Island Scuba Diving for Certified Divers

Rating: 5.0 / 5 (21 reviews)

Tour operator: Yemanyá Expeditions

Why choose this tour? The Diving tour in Isla del Caño for certified divers is the best way to see the underwater world of Cano Island when you’re a certified Scuba diver.

The boat embarks at 7:30 a.m. from Drake Bay.

After a 45-minute journey to the Isla del Caño Biological Reserve, your divemaster will brief you.

On your first dive, you will be surrounded by multicoloured fish and, if you are lucky, turtles, rays, sharks, octopuses, seahorses and more.

Have a break and enjoy some snacks before you go to the second dive site.

Get to Playa San Josecito for a beer on the beach and lunch in a restaurant at around 1:30 p.m.

Including:

  • Use of Scuba equipment.
  • Lunch.
  • Alcoholic beverages.
  • Snacks.
  • Small group, max. 6.

If you want to experience some of the best scuba diving in Drake bay, then look no further than a Yemanya expeditions. We booked a day of Caño island scuba diving trip for a previous day but we got stuck on the way to Sierpe and missed the boat to Agujitas. Alexa went above and beyond to arrange everything for us for a new date, she helped us to book a Corcovado tour and today we went to Caño island for diving with her and her crew. And it was AMAZING! Sea turtles, reef sharks, octopi, moray eels, a lot of fish (i mean, A LOT!), 3 species of rays, giant lobsters and many more. Diversity of marine life is absolutely incredible! After 1st dive we had a nice brake having a light lunch on the Caño island beach. On the way back, after all dives, we saw 6 or 7 whales. Amazing! Alexa, Yok and Alex were friendly, helpful, super professional and attentive. They really love what they do, and they do it great!

– A Tripadvisor Reviewer (see more reviews)

2. Catamaran Isla del Cano Diving

Rating: 5.0 / 5 (4 reviews)

Tour operator: Pirate Drake

Why choose this tour? The Catamaran Scuba Diving at Caño Island is for travellers who want to combine scuba diving with a whole lot of fun. This tour is not only the only Catamaran Tour in Drake Bay, but it also comes with an inclusive stand-up paddle, water slide, jumping platform, and nets to lie down!

The tour starts at 7:00 a.m. with a 1-hour catamaran ride – keep an eye out for dolphins.

You will go on 2 45 minute dives at 2 different of 5 authorised locations including the Cave, Arch, and Devil's Rock at Caño Island. You will see many fish and maybe sea turtles, giant manta rays, and sharks.

Pause at the enchanting Caño Island. Recharge amidst the island's lush tropical rainforest at the main beach. On board the catamaran, you can relax, and use the paddle board or the waterslide. Lunch will be served on board, the minibar is open.

At 2:00 p.m. you’ll return to Drake Bay.

FYI: This is the same tour as Catamaran Isla del Cano Snorkeling (see below) in case your travel buddy doesn't scuba dive 😉

Including:

  • All Fees and Taxes.
  • Lunch on the boat.
  • Use of Scuba equipment.
  • Paddleboard.
  • Water slide and jumping platforms.
  • Padi dive master or instructor.
  • Small group of a maximum of 5 persons for scuba diving.

We dived two days with them, a really really must do experience, not only because Isla of Caño is such a nice place to dive, but also cause the crew is amazing, hope to do it again

– A Tripadvisor Reviewer (see more reviews)

Cano Island Costa Rica Whale Watching

Picture of Dolphin Watching at Cano Island Biological Reserve
Dolphin Watching at Cano Island Biological Reserve

3. Dolphin and Whale Watching Tour as seen on National Geographic

Rating: 4.5 / 5 (166 reviews)

Tour operator: The Divine Dolphin

Why choose this tour? The Dolphin and Whale Watching Tour as seen on National Geographic is for you if you want to see wild dolphins and whales in their natural habitat. Snorkelling gear is provided but you can also just observe the animals from the boat. An onboard hydrophone lets you hear dolphin and whale sounds.

Costa Rica is one of the best places in the world to see dolphins which reside all year round and whales which migrate through the area.

The world-famous Divine Dolphin tour is a combination of natural beauty, education, research and lots of fun!

Including:

  • Professional, experienced guides and marine biologists dedicated to conservation and preservation.
  • Experience wild and free dolphins and whales in their natural habitat.
  • On-board hydrophone to hear the sounds of the dolphins and whales.
  • Snorkelling gear.
  • Lunch (vegetarian options available).
  • Local taxes.
  • Safety equipment.

Words cannot describe this tour

I think I am not gonna lie if I say that this was the tour of our lives. If you can only attend one program in this area it must be this tour. Believe me, you are not gonna regret it. We saw hundreds of dolphins within a few hours in their natural habitat. Sierra is very knowledgable, helpful and she knows where to find dolphins. Thank you for this amazing experience, I hope we can attend this tour in the future again!

– Dominika (see more reviews)

Cano Island Snorkeling

Picture of Cano Island snorkel tour
Cano Island snorkel tour

4. Snorkeling Tour in Caño Island with Lunch

Rating: 5.0 / 5 (89 reviews)

Tour operator: Yemanyá Expeditions

Why choose this tour? The Snorkeling Tour in Caño Island with Lunch is the best-rated snorkelling tour from Drake Bay to Caño Island. You can enjoy two snorkelling stops.

The tour starts at 7:30 a.m. with a 45-minute boat ride to Isla del Caño Biological Reserve.

Before the first snorkelling spot of 45 minutes to 1 hour, your guide will brief you and give you a quick training session. Look for multicoloured fish, corals and, if you are lucky, turtles, rays, and sharks.

After a break and snacks, venture to your second snorkelling spot of the day.

Get to Playa San Josecito for a beer on the beach and lunch in a restaurant at around 1:30 p.m.

Including:

  • Use of snorkelling equipment.
  • Lunch.
  • Snacks.
  • Alcoholic Beverages.
  • Small group tour (limited to 8 people).

Brandon our tour gide has very good. He knew a lot about the fish and Turtles. He was very enthusiastic and loved to share his knowledge. He helped us by taking videos and photos on bigger depths and found a lot of different fishes. We saw two kinds of sea turtles the green and the hawksbill. Suring the trip to the island we saw a mother humpback whale with a baby. Must do trip.

– Nick (see more reviews)

5. Catamaran Isla del Cano Snorkeling

Rating: 4.5 / 5 (15 reviews)

Tour operator: Pirate Drake

Why choose this tour? The Catamaran Snorkeling at Caño Island is for travellers who want to combine snorkelling with a whole lot of fun.

The catamaran embarks at 7:00 a.m. The journey takes around 1 hour – keep your eyes open for whales or dolphins.

You will go on two 45-minute snorkelling sessions. Spot diverse marine life, from various fish species to turtles and even white-tip reef sharks.

In between the snorkelling excursions, you can have a break at the main beach of Caño Island.

Throughout the remaining time, you can unwind on the catamaran's nets, try out the paddle boards, indulge in the thrill of the jumping platforms, or take a refreshing plunge down the waterslide.

Buffet lunch will be served onboard and the minibar is open.

At 2:00 p.m. you’ll return to Drake Bay.

FYI: This is the same tour as Catamaran Scuba Diving at Caño Island (see above) in case your travel buddy does scuba dive 😉

Including:

  • Use of snorkelling equipment.
  • Bilingual certified tour guide.
  • Water slide and jumping platforms.
  • Paddleboard.
  • Lunch.
  • All fees and taxes.

Best option for Cano island

We had an amazing time on this tour, and I would highly recommend it. Although a little more expensive than the regular tours to Cano Island, the catamaran offers a far superior experience. It's great being able to walk around the boat or lie in the nets over the water during the 1hr+ ride out and back, during which food and drinks are also served. The slide, paddle boards and diving platforms also make the break between snorkeling sessions more entertaining. In addition, the twin hulls provide a very smooth ride whereas the regular boats can be quite bumpy. The snorkeling itself was fun - not world-class by any means but we saw some turtles and (harmless) reef sharks plus a wide variety of fish, so definitely worthwhile and an amazing experience for our children. The highlight, however, was a chance encounter during the journey back with two humpback whales and their calf, which spent around 30 mins swimming around the boat. A pod of dolphins also followed us part of the way back. All in all a great day.

– A Tripadvisor Reviewer (see more reviews)

6. Full-Day Snorkeling Tour in Caño Island with Lunch

Rating: 4.5 / 5 (24 reviews)

Why choose this tour? The Full-Day Snorkeling Tour in Caño Island with Lunch is currently the most cost-efficient.

The itinerary is similar to the other tours: Start at 7:30 a.m., 45-minute boat ride to Cano Island, two snorkelling spots with a break in between, beach time at Playa San Josecito, and lunch at a local restaurant in Drake Bay.

Including:

  • Use of snorkelling equipment.
  • Lunch (vegetarian and vegan options).
  • Snacks.
  • Transportation.
  • Guide.
  • All fees and taxes.

Great trip which felt like “2 in 1”, as we stopped for whale watching before and after the snorkeling experience. Friendly and competent crew and guides.

– A Tripadvisor Reviewer (see more reviews)

7. Snorkeling at Caño Island from Uvita

Rating: 5.0 / 5 (49 reviews)

Why choose this tour? Choose the Snorkeling at Caño Island from Uvita if you want to snorkel Cano Island without going to Drake Bay.

The tour starts at 7:00 a.m. in Uvita. The boat ride is around 1 hour each way – keep your eyes open for marine life.

You’ll visit two snorkelling spots with time for a rest and snacks in between.

Afterwards, you’ll head to the beach for lunch and relaxation.

Including:

  • Use of snorkelling equipment.
  • Lunch.
  • Snacks (cookies and tropical fruits).
  • Soda/pop.
  • All fees and taxes.

I can’t get over how amazing this adventure was. Truly wonderful! Guides were knowledgeable, safe and incredibly friendly. We saw tons of beautiful wildlife and our guides gave us information on everything that we noticed. Can’t wait to return and do it all again!

– Adam (see more reviews)

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