Mangrove night tour - Manuel Antonio Costa Rica

Mangrove night tour is a great opportunity to experience a vast variety of the different species that are active during the night time. Many of these we see in the mangroves near Damas only a short ride away from Manuel Antonio’s lushes rainforests and beautiful beaches.

Learn more about the tour schedule, the tour itself and what animals to keep an eye out for on this chill mangrove night tour by boat guided by local and experienced guides.


Local guides


5:40 pm

What to bring

Repellant for mosquitos
A light jacket or shirt
Cash in case you want to tip your guides

Our Location

Mangrove tour schedule

The company arrange pickups at your hotel or Airbnb and pickup-time will be around 5 pm. The exact information will be giving upon confirmation. From here we take off from Quepos and ride around 10 minutes to the small town of Damas where the mangrove forest is located. Here a motor-operated longboat waits to take you out in the labyrinths of the mangrove.

Besides your certified tour guide, you will be accompanied by two other locals from the Damas-area who know these mangroves like the back of their hands. They grew up in the area and know their way around the many canals. One will be operating the boat and the other – the crocodile hunter, will be searching for the animals with your tour guide.

During the mangrove tour it will be possible to spot different types of birds, snakes, frogs, bats, crocodiles, lizards, turtles and even a sloth moving in the treetops. Approximately 70% of the wildlife living in the mangrove is nocturnal, which makes this mangrove night tour a fascinating experience.

The boat fits about 10-15 people, it is motor-operated and has enough lifejackets for everyone. The tour starts right where the transportation drops you off, and from here you slowly sail into the labyrinths of the mangrove forest. Your guides bring strong flashlights, they use to search the surroundings with, and with plenty of experience they can spot even the smallest movement or abnormality in the vegetation. They know exactly what to look for and where to look for it.

Mangrove tour
Mangrove tour
Mangrove forest
Mangrove forest

The mangrove forest is a vital and fascinating ecosystem and is home to a diverse wildlife and we do have great possibilities to see many of these animals here on the mangrove night tour. However, we like to remind our clients that this beautiful place is not a zoo – we do find ourselves in the animals’ natural habitat and nature doesn’t give any guarantees. We are here on their terms, which we do respect with great admiration.

Depending on the day, the guide and the tide the order of the tour might vary. But the boat will take you deep into the mangrove forest, where you will be surrounded by this special type of vegetation that is home to many different species, and here your guide will try to find different types of animals. Before heading back to the transportation, the boat goes out on the big, main canal leading to the ocean. Here you really get the sense of being in the middle of nowhere. For a brief moment, when the guides turn off their flashlights and you surrender to the darkness around you and the starry sky above, you just feel the complete stillness and the magical wonder of nature.

Guided tour in the Mangrove
Mangrove forest
Mangrove forest

What is a mangrove forest?

Mangrove forests consist of trees and shrubs that live in costal saline or brackish water. Worldwide, there are about 80 different species of mangrove trees and in Costa Rica we see four different species – all represented in the mangroves of Damas. Red mangrove, black mangrove, white mangrove and pineapple mangrove (has nothing to do with pineapple fruit). This type of vegetation only grows in tropical and subtropical areas, since it cannot survive at colder temperatures.

Mangrove forests are easily recognizable by their dense tangle of prop roots that makes the trees appear to be standing on stilts above the surface. This construction of the roots allows the trees to handle the daily rise and fall of tides in the area. This root system in the mangrove forest attracts many different kinds of fish and small animals seeking food and shelter from predators. 

Mangrove forests are one of the most vital ecosystems in the world and serve to stabilize the coastline and protect against erosion from storms, current, waves and tides.

About your tour guides and safety on board

As already explained, the guides taking you on this tour are highly professional and very familiar with the area. The captain and the crocodile hunter who will be assisting your tour guide are locals from the area, who grew up on the river and know the canals like the back of their hand.

The motor-operated boat is simple and just perfect for the purpose – gliding easily in and out of the canals. The boat is filled with enough lifejackets for everyone and more to spare.

What to expect when doing mangrove night boat-tour

We like to prepare our guests for the experience when it comes to schedule and what to bring, but besides that it is hard to know what to expect. As earlier explained, we do find ourselves in a natural habitat where we very much can hope to see some things or some type of animals and the guides do their very best to fulfill your wishes but again – this beautiful place is not a zoo and nothing is guaranteed. As long as you bring good vibes and a lot of pura vida, your guides will take care of the rest!

Here are some of the animals we can expect to see during the mangrove night boat-tour



The mangrove is an ideal place for many types of birds. They have plenty of food and places to hide from predators. On the mangrove night tour we see birds such as Herons, Egrets, White Ibis, Kingfisher and Great Kiskadee to name a few!

Bats in Costa Rica


Bats can be difficult to spot, but the guides have excellent eyes and know exactly where to look for them. More often than not you will be able to see them resting in a tree or under a leaf or sense them flying around the boat hunting for insects. There are 110 species of bats in Costa Rica and the majority of them are nocturnal. Among the most common bats in Costa Rica are Tent Making Bats and Long Nose Bats.

Night tour Manuel Antonio


The Boa thrives in the mangrove and mainly feeds on small mammals and birds.



Crocodiles also live in the mangrove forrest – same for the other species living there, they have great opportunities to feed and hide. During the day you will be able to spot them on the river beds, where they lay in the sun the get their body temperature back under control after hunting in the cold waters. During the night you will not see them laying around on the river beds – at this time of the day you might be able to spot their yellow eyes in the waters.

Mangrove night tour


In the mangrove you will be able to spot many different kind of lizards, but the most famous and notorious one is the Jesus Christ Lizards. It belongs to the family of common basilisks but has taken this nickname because, when fleeing from predators, they are able to gather enough momentum to run on top of the water for a brief distance while holding their body out of the water.



The most common frog we see in the mangrove is the Bullfrog. The Bullfrog can grow up to 20 cm and is the biggest frog on the American continent.

Recommendations for mangrove night tour

Do not feed the animals. This doesn’t apply to this particular tour only, but is a general recommendation for your stay here in Costa Rica. Do not feed the animals. As tempting as it might be you are not doing these animals a favor. In fact you might end up hurting them even though your intentions were the exact opposite.

For this tour we do recommend that you to wear practical clothes and might bring a jacket as it gets chilly after the sun goes down. Mosquitos and other insects get very active at night as well, and therefore we advise to bring mosquito repellent to protect your skin. If you want to tip your guides we recommend you to bring cash! Either dollars or the local currency – colones. Other than that, you only have to bring your adventurous spirits and a lot of Pura Vida! The rest will be taken care of.