Mangrove Kayak and Boat Tour - Manuel Antonio Costa Rica

Mangrove tour Manuel Antonio is a great opportunity to experience a vast variety of the different species that reside in this special type of forest and at the same time enjoy the spectacular settings and scenery that the mangroves of Damas have to offer.

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


Local guide,
Bottled water.


Open every 2 hours & reservation is required.

What to bring

Repellant for mosquitos
Sunblock (if you do kayak)
Cash in case you want to tip your guides

Mangrove tour schedule

The company will arrange pickups at your hotel or Airbnb, and the exact pickup-time will be giving upon confirmation, since this tour highly depends on the tide. The tour can only be carried out if there is enough water in the canals for the boat or kayaks to move around. After pick-ups we take off from Quepos and ride around 10 minutes to the small town of Damas, where the mangrove forest is located. Here your chosen means of transportation will be waiting to take you into the labyrinths of the mangrove.

An important note to make is that approximately 70% of the wildlife in the mangrove is nocturnal. This does not mean, that you are not able to see animals during the day, but they might be harder to spot. An upside to this is, that during the day you get to appreciate the stunning nature, the green and lush vegetation reflecting in the water of the calm canals.

The mangrove tour starts right where the transportation drops you off, and from here you slowly sail into the labyrinths of the mangrove forest. As said most of the wildlife in the mangrove is nocturnal. However, your guide will do his best to find animals and will be keeping an eye on even the smallest movement or abnormality in the vegetation. The guides know exactly what to look for and where to look for it.

tour de manglar familiar

Mangrove Kayak tour

If you choose to do the tour in kayak you need to be prepared for a small workout! However, the tour will be slow-paced and no one will be left behind! You do not need to have any previous experience kayaking. You can choose to do the tour in a single- or a double kayak.

Mangrove tour

Mangrove Boat tour

The essence of the tour is pretty much the same whether you choose to do it in boat or kayak, but since the boat is motor-operated, this gives a different kind of range, and you are able to travel deeper into the mangrove. Besides experiencing the smaller canals the boat will also take you out on the big, main canal that leads to the ocean. Here are not many animals to see, but it gives you a great sense of how big the area actually is.

During the mangrove tour you will have the chance to spot different types of birds, snakes, frogs, monkeys. lizards, turtles or even a sloth slowly moving in the treetops.

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

Mangrove tour
Mangrove tour
Mangrove tour

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 explained earlier, the guides are local and have plenty of experience. Therefore, they are highly qualified to be guiding you on this amazing experience. 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.

If you are doing the tour by kayak, you will be equipped with a lifejacket. The tour will be slow-paced and no former experience is necessary. If you have any questions regarding these two means of transportation or the safety involved, feel free to contact us.

Mangrove forest

What to expect when doing mangrove tour during daytime

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 guide will take care of the rest!

Here are some of the animals you can expect to see during the mangrove tour during the day

Mangrove tour


The mangrove is an ideal place for many types of birds, and this tour is very popular among birdwatchers. Many migratory birds take refuge here during the wither months. This type of vegetation is surrounded by shallow waters and full of fish, insects and reptiles hiding on the branches. The birds have plenty of food and places to hide from predators. On the mangrove tour we see birds such as Herons, Egrets, White Ibis, Kingfisher and Great Kiskadee to name a few!

White face monkey


Anteaters, sloths and monkeys are some of the mammals we encounter from time to time on this mangrove tour. The White-faced Capucin monkey is commonly spotted bathing and playing around by the riverbanks. A very well-trained eye or a vigilant kayaker might be able to spot a sloth hanging out in the treetops.

Cocodrilo en tour de manglar Manuel Antonio


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 might 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.

Recommendations for mangrove 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. In the mangrove, especially the White-faced Capucin monkeys might let you get up-close and personal with them, but do not forget that these are wild animals. We advise guests to enjoy these playful creatures from the distance and respect that we are visitors in their natural habitat.

For this tour we do recommend that you to wear practical clothes and might bring a hat and sunblock to protect your skin – especially if you are doing the tour by kayak. The boat has a roof, and you will not be as exposed to the sun. During daytime the mosquitos and insects are not very active and mosquito repellent is not a must. 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.

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