Sierpe Mangrove Boat Tour Costa Rica

Sierpe Mangrove Boat Tour Costa Rica

Author: Julia Heinelt

In Costa Rica are 350 wetland areas cover 7 % of the country. Twelve out of these areas are part of the Ramsar convention established in 1971 by UNESCO. This convention has the goal to conserve wetlands through international cooperation. 

In Sierpe-Terraba, there is the largest mangrove reserve in central America, which is also part of the convention. The 30000-hectare large reserve is located in the South Pacific region, 45 min away from Uvita.

Before our tour, I did not know what mangroves are. I learned that mangroves are a group of different shrubs and trees that grow in coastal intertidal zones. Because of their root system, the mangroves are very attractive for fish and other food-seeking creatures. Furthermore, these trees and shrubs can stabilize coastlines and protect them from erosion due to storms, waves, and tides.

In Sierpe, we started our private Mangrove boat tour. In the beginning, we drove along a big channel; on both shores, trees were reflected in the dark waters. In this mangrove ecosystem lives a wide range of different animals.

We passed by an iguana who was sleeping in the tree canopy and had the chance to admire a snake basking in the sun. During the whole trip, we were surrounded by the beautiful chirping of birds and were able to see a blue heron, a boat-billed heron, and a group of beautiful scarlet macaws. The parrots sat high up in a tree, and we could observe the beautiful red, yellow, and blue feather dress of the large birds.

Sierpe Mangrove Boat Tour Costa Rica

The absolute highlight was the experience to observe some beautiful crocodiles. Here I saw my first free-living crocodile, and it was stunning! These semiaquatic animals can reach a length of 7 meters and a weight of up to 1000 kg. A crocodile was sitting on a sandbank with his mouth open on this sunny day because these reptiles absorb vitamin D through their tong. The guide told us that sometimes a dog goes missing after coming to the water because crocodiles love fresh dogmeat. If you have a dog that you love, do not let it come too close to these rivers.

We drove through a channel where the tree canopy from both sides met in the air. It looked like a planted tunnel straight out of a fairy tale.

Later under a bridge and on a palm tree, we could spot some long-nosed bats. These bats are tiny; they are about 8 centimeters big. 

Shortly before our 3 hours long tour was finished, we had the privilege to see a group of white-faced monkeys. These 7 or 8 monkeys were jumping from tree to tree and one side to the other. Although they had baby monkeys, the group was not afraid of us. If you are lucky, you can even observe squirrel, born acrobats. 

The mangrove boat tour with “Kokopelli Mangrove Tours” was amazing and pretty exciting. I was able to see so many animals that I have never seen before in real life. I would highly recommend enjoying this tour if you are interested in the wildlife of Costa Rica and want to learn more about mangroves.

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