Amazing Sierpe Terraba Mangrove
Amazing Sierpe Terraba Mangrove

As a frog, I can appreciate this half land, half water ecosystem - it's almost like they are the amphibians of the plant world! Home to monkeys, crabs and local bats, mangroves in Costa Rica are also the preferred habitat of giant palm, vibrant hibiscus and alluring legumes. They are at once an extremely tranquil, yet exciting environment - whenever a tour is headed into a mangrove, I'm always apt to jump in a kayak and enjoy the ride.

Mangrove basics

Most of Costa Rica's mangroves are relegated to the west coast of the country just beyond the breakwaters of the Pacific Ocean - this is where the conditions for this ecosystem are the most opportune for the plants and animals. Mangroves here are like me - adaptive! Their filtration systems allows for salt levels, mud and clay in the water all to have a large range, yet still provide a wonderful haven for fish, snakes and crocodiles.

Top Costa Rican Mangroves

Golfo Dulce

One of my favorite mangroves is the Golfo Dulce. Located in central western Costa Rica on the Osa Peninsula, this spot attracts visitors from around the world - the number of human languages I've heard spoken here is incredible. Kayaks or canoes provide the perfect vehicle here for getting around, as the waters are calm and serene, yet the gargantuan limbs of the massive trees here make it difficult for large boats to squeeze through. The Golfo Dulce mangrove water levels change dramatically depending on the tide, so be sure to look at a tide chart before booking your reservation. Jesus Christ lizards - the type that walk on water - make their home here, so keep your eyes peeled for this awe-inspiring reptile in particular.

Sierpe Terraba

The Sierpe Terraba Mangrove Forest is Costa Rica's largest mangrove, located in the South region of Puntarenas, it encompasses much wider trails along both the Sierpe and Terraba rivers. While you can take a half or full day boat tour along these waters, tours that go down smaller waterways will have only the birds as company - which I think is often a good thing! One of my favorite avian species is the mangrove hummingbird - it's azure and turquoise head and silver feathers can easily blend into with the thick tree limbs here, but when the sun shines just right, they light up like a true jewel.

Are you planning to visit mangroves during your next Costa Rican vacation? What are you hoping to see?

Beautiful Golfo Dulce mangrove
Beautiful Golfo Dulce mangrove

Caiman in its natural enviroment, Sierpe Terraba
Caiman in its natural enviroment, Sierpe Terraba