Damas Island, North Puntarenas

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Located just south of Manuel Antonio National Park and south of Jacó, Damas Island is conveniently located and a must-see destination for anyone in the area.

Also known as Damas Mangroves, this little slice of paradise is one of the most significant remaining ecosystems in all of Costa Rica. It is home to a vast number of birds, mammals, reptiles and insects and is comprised of thousands of acres of towering trees and lush fauna.

A trip through the Damas Estuary is different than other Costa Rica activities, however, as instead of traveling by foot, you travel by boat or kayak.

Damas Island Kayak Tour

Your unique wildlife experience begins at The Damas Estuary, where you will board a kayak or a boat and meet your bilingual tour guide. You will be led along winding streams and rivers, along which you will have ample opportunity to view the mangroves, which house some of Costa Rica's finest creatures.

From spider monkeys to green iguanas, and from crab-eating raccoons to spectacled caimans, you will see creatures that you didn't even know existed.

You may also come face to face with crocodiles and boa constrictors, but don't worry—your tour guide is trained in how to handle such interactions and will ensure that you stay out of harm's way.

Kayak tours are only available for guests eight and over. The tours last a few hours, during which you are paddling the whole time, so it is recommended that anyone who wants to catch a glimpse of the Damas Mangroves be fit and demonstrate outstanding endurance.

Damas Island Boat Tours

If you have small children or just want to experience a more relaxing way to view Damas Island, book a boat tour. The boat tours are more reliable than the kayak tours, as kayakers are dependent upon the tides.

Boat tours also come equipped with a bilingual guide, who will do his or her best to show you all the wonders of the island.

Though you won't be as up close and personal with the mangrove's species, you will still be able to catch a good view of most of them. In fact, monkeys tend to jump aboard the tour boats and interact with guests, so if you're lucky, you'll be on a tour when such an exciting event takes place.

Costa Rica's wildlife is not limited to the land. The tour boats are glass-bottomed, perfect for viewing nature's often overlooked beauties—aquatic wildlife.

From oysters to sponges and baby black-tipped sharks to stingrays, you will have the chance to watch nature's finest at work in their own habitat.

People of all ages get a kick out of watching massive schools of fish flowing right beneath their feet, making the Damas Island boat tour the perfect daily activity for any family.

Quepos & Manuel Antonio

Though the tours themselves are unforgettable, don't neglect Quespos, one of Costa Rica's port towns and likely the port from which you will depart on your adventures.

Take time before or after your tour to explore the beautiful beaches in nearby Manuel Antonio and grab a bite to eat from one of the many authentic restaurants in the area. If you just can't get enough of nature, take a hike beneath the canopy either by yourself or with a guided tour.

There is no shortage of things to do in the great country of Costa Rica, which is why it is such a popular destination for individuals, couples and families alike. If you're in the area, a trip through Damas Mangroves is a must, as it can provide the one-of-a-kind experience you just can't get anywhere else.

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Distance: 32 miles / 51 km
Drive Time: 45 min
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