Directly offshore mysterious Cano Island beckons to the intrepid traveler. Here you can walk in the footsteps of ancient Indian kings and bloodthirsty pirates.
The first visitors to the Island are lost in the mists of time but starting around 1500 years ago the island became an important ceremonial site and burial ground for the pre-Colombian Indians who inhabited the region. Some of the mystifying stone spheres that only this culture produced can still be seen on the Island. Large numbers of tombs have been found with an incredible variety of gold figurines made with the "lost-wax" process so that each one is unique. The natives may have abandoned the Island when men of another sort started to arrive.
The first recorded is, Sir Francis Drake in 1579. He stopped with his ship, the "Golden Hind", on his way up the Pacific Coast of North and South America searching for the northwest passage during his famous circumnavigation of the globe. The Island was a perfect place for pirates to rest up and to raid Spanish towns and shipping. Another Englishman, Henry Morgan, is said to have used the island or nearby Violin Island, at the mouth of the Sierpe River to stash his treasure after looting Panama City. The treasure is said to be worth 100 million dollars at todayís value.
Yet another Englishman, the rouge Navy captain turned pirate Bennett Graham, was surprised anchored off Cano, captured and sent back to England to hang. Later in the early 1800ís the famous, Benito Bonito of the bloody sword, realized that the waters of Panama and southern Costa Rica were a pirateís happy hunting ground, and added his name to the legend.
Today Cano Island and itsí surrounding waters have been declared a Biological Reserve.
The Tour starts after breakfast when your guide will help you select snorkeling gear. For those who want to explore the coral reefs around the Island itís a great opportunity to see a fantastic number of fish, rays and sometimes turtles. This is one of the best dive spots in Costa Rica. On most days there will be a chance to snorkel at the " Coral Garden", which is an excellent spot for beginners or more experienced guests. Inflatable diving vests are used so that everyone can feel safe and select the amount of floatation they need. After the immersion in these pristine waters itís time to check-in at the Park Station on the island and check out the beach.
There is a beautiful beach sheltered by coconut palms, which has picnic tables where your guide will spread out a tablecloth and lay out quite a spread for lunch. There will be time to hike up to the burial grounds in the interior of the island or to contemplate awhile at the "viewpoint". There will also be plenty of time to take a swim, beach-comb or to try your luck at snorkeling in the cove in front of the Park Station. Around mid-afternoon weíll pack-up and head back to the lodge where youíll have a chance to rest up before drinks and dinner. Iím sure you will agree with us that the true riches to be found on this mysterious tropical isle are in itsí crystalline waters and on itsí palm shaded beaches.