Los Chiles-Caño Negro

Los Chiles-Caño Negro

Los Chiles

Distance from San José, 233 kilometers. It was declared a county on the 17th of March 1970. With a surface of 1.358.88 Km2, and 43 meters altitude, it is bordered with Nicaragua, 3 Km, to the west with the counties of Upala and Guatuso and to the east and the south with the county of San Carlos. The main road is asphalt and is in good condition. The main attractions are the wetlands and the Gaspar fish considered to be a living fossil, that existed 120.000 years ago, you can only find these in the Río San Juan and its streams. It looks like half a crocodile and half a fish and can reach 1.5 meters in length.  Los Llanos Medio Queso are located in the northern region of Huetar, specifically the alluvial plains, that cover the lowest part of the Río Medio Queso,  with an extension of approximately 35 and  40 km2, it is considered to be an area of great ecological importance, because of the rich biodiversity of species.


SERVITUR Ph (506) 2471-1496. Its offices are located in the Cabinas Jabirú. They have a lot of knowledge of the surrounding area; as well as well known trips to Caño Negro, the observation of traditional agricultural techniques and a traditional lunch. Other guided expeditions, some with accommodation that are organized include:  Trip to Solentiname 350 US$ boat transportation for a group of 10 people, accommodation and food 80 US$ per extra person to the Nicaraguan lake 40 US$ per person a day, to the Nicaragua castle 400 US$ boat transportation and 100 US$ extra per person all included. A half day circuit to Caño Negro and lunch costs 80 US$ for two people.

Where to sleep

Hotel Central Ph (506) 2471-1096.Single/ doubles 2.20 US$ with shared bathroom and 6US$ with private bathroom. Located in the center, there are 16 simple rooms with a fan and a television room.

Hotel Carolina Ph (506) 2471-1151. Room 7/ 16 US$.  It is located 300 meters north of the hospital. There are 27 rooms, some rooms with private bathroom, air conditioning, fan, private parking and it is open 24 hours.

Cabinas Jabirú Ph (506) 2471-1496. Doubles with bathroon11 US$. Located in the center where the Servitur office is located. There are 12 rooms with double beds and two singles, private bathrooms with hot water, fan and a dining room, there is also parking.

Rancho Tulipan Ph/fax (506) 2471-1414. E-mail: cocas34@hotmail.com. Single/ double 25/ 30 US$, breakfast included. Located in the center of Los Chiles opposite the immigration office. There are 10 rooms with air conditioning, private bathrooms with hot water and a television. There is also a restaurant and a living room with a television. There is a tourism agency, for trips to Caño Negro lasting three hours, without lunch 60 US$ two people and 20 US$ per person in groups.

Where to eat

El Parque Restaurant  Ph (506) 2471-1032/ 2471-1090/ 2471-1373. Located opposite the football plaza, serving good traditional a la carte meals from1.35 US$ to 4 US$.  Open from  5:30 a.m to 9:00 p.m.

Los Petates Ph (506) 2471-1297. E-mail: lgonzalez_415@hotmail.com. Open from 6:00 a.m to 10:00 p.m. offering traditional a la carte meals 2.20/ 4.40 US$. There are also tour services to Caño Negro at 30 US$ per person, to the Nicaragua Castillo 100 US$, to Solentiname 180 US$, transport and food included, special price 15% discount for groups. With ten years experience.

Soda Sonia Ph (506) 2471-1140. It is located 200 meters north of the hospital. Open from Monday to Sunday from 6:00 a.m to 10:00 p.m. Offering traditional a la carte meals 2.20/ 5.50 US$.

How to arrive and leave

By Bus

Close to 12 buses travel on a daily basis between Ciudad Quesada de San Carlos and Los Chiles. The direct services from San José to Los Chiles leave the Atlántico Norte station at 5:30 a.m and 3:30 p.m, and return at 5:00 a.m and 3:00 p.m.  They journey to Upala, Monday, Wednesday and Friday 1:00 p.m, passing by Caño Negro.

La Laguna del Lagarto Lodge

The lodge is situated within 500 hectares of tropical rainforest, you can walk through paradise alone or if you want you can go with a local guide along more than 10 km of signposted footpaths where you will be able to see poisonous frogs, red as well as green and black (Dendrodates pumilio and D. Auratus), parrots, golden orioles, caimans and an incredible variety of trees and plants. More than 365 species of birds have been recognized here among them the Green Parrot (Ara Ambigua), which you will only find in this area.

Where to eat and sleep

La Laguna del Lagarto Lodge Ph (506) 2289-8163, Ph/fax (506) 2289-5295. E-mail: info@lagarto-lodge-costa-rica.com www.lagarto-lodge-costa-rica.com. Low season single / double/ triple 52/ 39/ 60 US$. High season single / double/ triple 52/ 69/ 79 US$. Breakfast, lunch and dinner 6 / 12 US$ price per person. There are 20 comfortable rooms, with private bathrooms with hot water and fans. The panoramic restaurant offers a traditional Costa Rican menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

How to arrive and leave

By Car

The route to the lodge is very picturesque. Head towards Alajuela, towards the Poás Volcano, and 10 km before you get there, take a right turn towards Vara Blanca and then take a left, going down into the warm low lands of San Carlos, passing by the famous La Paz waterfall and further on, in La Cinchona it is recommended to stop at the San Fernando View Point. The road is asphalt until Pital, for a further 38 km the road is gravel until you get to Boca Tapada, the establishment is located 7 km  away( it is signposted). A four by four vehicle is recommended.

By Bus

At the San Carlos bus station in San José, 9th Avenue and 12th Street, with a daily service 05:30 a.m and 12:30 p.m, a direct bus that goes to Pital (via Ciudad Quesada), with a connection at  Boca Tapada where the people from the lodge can pick you up, with prior notice.

Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge

It is located in Los Chiles; it is made up of the Caño Negro Lagoon and the surrounding area with an extension of 9.969 hectares. It was created with an executive decree on the 20th of January 1984, based on different studies made by International Organizations such as the Scientific Tropical Center and nationals, such as the Universidad de Costa Rica and the Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica with an aim to protect and conserve the flora and fauna in one if the areas that has the largest biodiversity in the country, and is of special interest to ornithology enthusiasts, because of the large variety of water birds, such as ducks , pink spoon bills, storks, herons and the largest colony of cormorants in the country. It is the only area in the country where the Nicaraguan Sanate regularly nests (quiscalus quicula). In addition, pumas, jaguars and tapirs have also been seen in this area.


The refuge forms part of the Arenal-North Huetar Conservation area, there is a forest post Ph (506) 2471-1309 in the area of Caño Negro and the sub regional office of Los Chiles in San Carlos Ph (506) 2460-6484, fax (506) 2460-5615. Entry costs 4 US$ foreigners/ children, foreigners younger than 12 years of age 1 US$/ nationals 1.10 US$/ children younger than 12 nationals 2.5 US$. There are also several associations such as: Asomucan Ph (506) 2471-1450, located in the Delipan Bakery next to MINAE, offering a visit to the butterfly farm for only 1.10 US$ the visit and photographs cost 2.20 US$, also offering a food service for 3.32 US$, The Association for Footpaths 1.35 US$, offering excursions to the footpaths lasting ½  hour, The Turtle Association   Ph (506) 2471-1063, offering turtle observation for 2 US$, the Tour Association Ph (506) 2471-1369, Offering tours to La Laguna for 40 US$  lasting 2 hours. You are not allowed to fish during April and June, but you can during the rest of the rainy season, you will always need to carry a license, which you can get from the forest post for 40 US$.  There are also horses for hire.

Where to eat and sleep

Cabinas Arguedas Ph (506) 2471-1496, Cellular (506) 810-2837.Camping 5 US$, rooms 6 US$; tariffs per person.  In the extreme east of the area, at the exit to the main road. There are 10 rooms with a fan and a private bathroom, boats for rent, and they organize trips along the river.

Cabinas and Restaurant Machon. Rooms 8/ 10 US$ per person, close to the center and it is very quiet.

Hotel de Campo Caño Negro Ph (506) 2471-1012/ 2471-1490/ 2656-0071,  fax (506) 2656-0260 in Samara. E-mail: info@canonegrolodge.com www.canonegrolodge.com.   Single/ doubles/ triples/ quadruples 45/ 45/ 57/ 69 US$; including meals, additional bed 12 US$. There are 14 rooms with private bathrooms with hot water and a fan. The restaurant is open to non guests, serving meals from 10 US$, a lot of fishermen come here. There is a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, mountain bikes and a games area.

How to arrive and leave

By Bus and By Boat

From Upala and Los Chiles you can get here by land and by boat, from Los Chiles or San Rafael de Guatuso. The buses to/from Caño Negro stop in the center of the village. From Upala there is a daily bus between Upala and Caño Negro. From Los Chiles, there is a bus to Upala that leaves on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1:00 p.m passing by Caño Negro. Many boats go down the Río Frio on one day trips. During the rainy season the boat that goes down the river can also arrive as far as the lake in the center of the park and stop at the Hotel de Campo Caño Negro, close to the village and the forest post. There is a bridge over the Río Frio that joins Los Chiles and Caño Negro, as well as a ferry for cars.

By Car

To get to San Rafael de Guatuso, via the southeast route, you will need to travel 11 km, when in Colonia, Puntarenas there is an exit that says “Caño Negro” continue a further 26 km. The road is not tarmac and is 19 km long; it will take you to Los Chiles – Muelle, some 10 km to the south of Los Chiles.