A fearless tour guide who have seen these incredible animals growing in their natural habitat will lead you in the mangrove forest for about half an hour. He lived all his life surrounded by this massive predator and instead of being frightened, he always has been passionate by them and studied them right on the spot.
Although they are wild and free, he connects with crocodiles and alligators like family since he has known since newborns. Not only that, he knows them so well that you will get to know a bit of the story of the ones crossing your path along the tour. Even though Crocodiles are naturally shy, your guide will call them by their name for an up and close personal encounter.
The largest living reptiles inhabit the natural coastal area of the Osa Peninsula. Most of the time they are seen in the mouth of rivers, on the beach and in mangroves.
Learn about their behavior and understand how one of the most feared creatures in the world may get aggressive. Most of the time, crocodiles act in a way that is misunderstood by humans.
If you are lucky enough, you might see the oldest of the crowd, a 22 years old male, that measures 13 feet (4 meter) long. Male crocodiles rarely exceed this size in the wild, and females are smaller.
- 30-minute enjoyable afternoon activity
- Bilingual Local & Naturalist guide
What to bring?
- Closed-up shoes
- Insect repellent
Why book with us?
- Emails and phone calls answer in English, Spanish or French
- Safety experience is our priority
- Eco and sustainable tours
- Professional, experienced and certified guides
- Helping and supporting locals
- Competitive prices
- Fair cancellation policy
- No hidden fees
- Rated 5-stars on TripAdvisor
- Confirmation will be received at time of booking via email or WhatsApp
- Short flat hike surrounding water ponds
- Shoes may get dirty in the rainy season
- Travelers are required to have no health problems or other medical conditions
- Travelers must be 15+ years old to book this tour
- Children must be accompanied by an adult
- Must have a valid travel insurance
- Must advise of any particular conditions or allergies before booking
- Tour available all days of the year
- Bringing pets is prohibited
No deposit is required for this tour. We will appreciate a 24 hour cancellation notice.
This tour may offer roundtrip transportation from and to your hotel for an additional fee.
About mangrove forest in Osa
The Osa Peninsula has one of the biggest mangrove forests of the whole Central American Pacific: the Terraba-Sierpe National Wetlands. The overall mangrove area in the Osa Peninsula is estimated to be 20,000 hectares, which is about 40% of its land and marine territory. Worldwide, mangroves represent as low as 0.4% of all forests and these fragile ecosystems are disappearing at a faster speed than other ecosystems due mainly to climate changes and deforestation.
Present in coastal saline and brackish water, mangrove trees need high temperatures, low-oxygen soil and slow-moving water to grow. Essential actor in the food chain, they offer a perfect shelter for fish and birds as great protection from predators. Healthy mangroves provide fresh water supply, food, sediment filtration, flood control, and groundwater recharge. They also host a wide variety of wildlife such as roseate spoonbills, caimans, boa snakes, and even sloths.
The ecosystems take up to five times more carbon emission compare to an average tropical rainforest. In other words, when left undisturbed, mangrove can sequester and store carbon for hundreds of years. Mangroves accumulate sediments (heavy metals and soil/dust/sand) providing nutrients to an incredible number of living species and allowing the water to stay clear.
Facts about Crocodiles and Caimans
The Osa Peninsula hosts two native species: the American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) and the Spectacled Caiman (Caiman crocodilus).
The American crocodile is one of the largest crocodile species and the most widespread in the Neotropical realm, they can reach a swimming speed of 32 km/h (20 mph). The wild animal life span in the wild is approximately 50 to 70 years.
Crocodiles normally prefer salinity and inhabits waters such as mangrove swamps, river mouths, fresh waters and salt lakes, and can also be found at sea.
In the Osa Peninsula, both crocodiles and caimans are impacted by environmental factor caused by the proximity to human inhabitance, fishing, and recreational activities.
Crocodiles are more aggressive towards human than caimans. American Crocodile attract have been reported in Costa Rica, Panama and Mexico.
Caimans can live in much colder water than crocodiles, but can’t support much salinity. A fully-grown Spectacled Caiman is less than half the size of a crocodile, and usually doesn’t wait more than 140 pounds while the American crocodile can weigh 880 pounds.
Animal species who live in mangroves
- Sea bass
- Baby sharks
- Juvenile snappers
7 types of mangroves in the Osa Peninsula
- Red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle)
- Red mangrove (Rhizophora racemosa), (Rhizophora harrison),
- tea mangrove (Pelliciera rhizophorea),
- black mangrove (Avicennia germinans)
- white mangrove (Langucularia racemose)
- buttonwood or Button mangrove (Conocarpus erectus)
- Out of these seven types of mangroves, the most dominants are the red, black and white mangroves.
8 reasons to protect mangroves
Biodiversity. Provide a nutrient-rich breeding ground and nesting habitats for a large variety of marine species and other wildlife.
Livelihoods. Natural resources for communities who depend on these essential ecosystems.
Shoreline protection. Robust mangroves protect the coast from destructive storm and strong winds, surge, and floods. They help prevent erosion by stabilizing sediments with their dense tangled root systems acting as a natural barrier for coastal communities.
Water filter. Maintain water quality and clarity, filtering pollutants and trapping sediments originating from land, preventing contamination and protecting habitats such as coral reefs and seagrass beds.
Carbon storage. Carbon dioxide is absorbed and stored by mangrove forests easier than it is in a mature tropical forest.
Medicinal. Extracts and chemicals identified from mangroves are mainly used in bush medicine, insecticides and pesticides.
Economical. Exploited for firewood, charcoal, construction of dwellings, furniture, boats and fishing gear, tannins for dyeing and leather production are some traditional uses of the mangroves.
Sustainable development. Ecotourism in healthy mangrove without compromising coastal ecosystems benefits community dwellers.