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.
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.
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.