Sea and Mangrove Kayak
+ Sunset Kayak Tour
+ Bioluminescence Tour
Discover the astonishing coastal-marine ecosystems and rich biodiversity of the Osa Peninsula in this sea and mangrove kayak tour. Starting from Puerto Jiménez main beach roaming the Golfo Dulce coastline and the labyrinth of an unspoiled mangrove forest. A wide variety of living species can be found in this Paradisiac landscape beauty and natural wealth of Puerto Jiménez.
Learn interesting facts about mangroves, such as the importance of conserving natural habitats, the different kinds of mangroves found in the Golfo Dulce and which animals rely on them. Get close with nature on a journey through unique Costa Rican mangroves and spot wildlife. Birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles live in this maze of trees and canals. Explore this tropical spot at your ease as the water around mangroves is quiet and peaceful, ideal for amazing wildlife photography.
After spending about two hours in this network of roots, end up on a secluded sandy beach for a snack and swim in the warm water of the Golfo Dulce before taking a shortcut to the ocean. In the sea, it is possible to see bottlenose dolphins, turtles, and manta rays. The gulf is very rich in plankton, sardines, mackerel, and squid, making it the main source of food for many of these species.
It is possible to access the mangrove by kayak at high tide only, as, during low tide, the water is not deep enough to reach certain spots in the wilderness forest. No matter if the high tide is early in the morning, at midday or at the end of the afternoon, the tour is interesting at all times.
Ending the day in the kayak overseeing the sunset in the horizon is one wonderful feeling. If the high tide is after the sunset, the sea bioluminescence kayak tour is not missed if the conditions allow it. In the dark, each time you paddle, a sky of stars light up in the water. This amazing effect is due to the reaction of a variety of marine animal species such as bacteria, plankton, lish, iellylish, squid and crustaceans to the water movement.
About mangrove forest in the Osa Peninsula…
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.
About bioluminescence in the Golfo Dulce…
Renowned of its bioluminescent plankton, biologists and scientists from across the World are amazed by the frequent occurrence of the biochemical light in the waters of the Golfo Dulce.
As a matter of fact, the gulf contains all the elements needed for an optimal bioluminescence activity. As many rivers of Osa and Golfito pour out freshwater into this tropical fjord, it reduces considerably the ratio of saltwater making it favorable for living organisms including an incredible array of rare marine species. The proximity to the equator and the calm of the water surface for microscopic marine organisms to liberate their eggs are excellent conditions for the proliferation of these ocean creatures.
The light emission phenomenon occurs after dark, and the best conditions to appreciate a maximum of plankton and other marine life sparkling are five days after the full moon on a cloudy, but none-raining night, far away from any light sources during the dry season (January to April). When the water is agitated, the microorganisms emit a glow making the ocean seems fluorescent at night.
Animal species who live in mangroves
- Sea bass
- Baby sharks
- Juvenile snappers
7 types of mangroves seen in the Golfo Dulce
- 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.
- 3-hour kayak tour
- Safety equipment
- Bilingual local & naturalist guide
- Fresh fruit
What to bring?
- 1 liter of water
- Insect repellent
- Long sleeve shirt
- Camera (in a dry bag or plastic bag)
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
- Each traveler will carry its own backpack for 3 days (travel as light as possible)
- The temperature at night never goes under 18° Celcius (65° Fahrenheit)
- 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
- Travelers should have a good physical fitness level
This tour offers roundtrip transportation from and to Puerto Jiménez. If you are located outside of Puerto Jiménez village, let us know and we will give you the price according to your pick up and drop off location. The hike starts and ends at different locations, having your own car will not make you save money for this trip.
This tour requires a deposit. For a full refund, cancellation must be at least 7 days before the start date of the experience.
There are rivers to cross in this tour. If you book between September and November, there is a small possibility (10% of chance) that the tour gets cancelled during the first day. In this case, the deposit is none refundable, but the rest of the amount will be refunded.