The Isla del Caņo lies 17 km. due west of Marenco. The island and its environs invite study from several points of view. It is Costa Rica's largest concentration of coral-building organisms along the Pacific. Schools of tangs, jacks and needlefish present an ever-changing panorama to those who venture below the surface. Boring sponges, Diadema sea urchins, sea cucumbers, many crustaceans and calcareous alga mats and balls add to the variety of life found among the Porites and Pocillopora corals of these reefs.
Ongoing research by scientists of several nations is currently focused on the factors surrounding coral die-off, such as occurred in 1983-84, probably due to changes in water temperature associated with "El Niņo"' the capricious current of Eastern Pacific equatorial waters. Re-colonization and regrowth of the corals is being studied intensively.
Marine life is abundant in the general
vicinity of the island. Fishing boats take tuna, shrimp, shark, mackerel,
snapper, and sardines in quantity. Manta rays are often seen breaching.
Dolphins are encountered daily, and
Olive Ridley sea turtles (
Lepidochelys olivacea) are commonly observed swimming and even mating as
they travel to and from the sandy beaches of the peninsula where they lay
their eggs. Humpback whales are seasonally present and often sighted from
Marenco Beach & Rain Forest Lodge, and the Sierpe River. Although rich
in marine resources, the area is little studied apart from the reefs of
the Isla del Caņo.
Marenco Beach & Rainforest