Yesterday, we explored one of Costa Rica’s most treasured places, the G0lfo Dulce. Part of what makes the area so special is its rich mangrove forest, which is a vital part of this magnificent diverse ecosystem. Whether taking a kayak ecotour or boating through the swampy rivers to fish, it is worth taking the time to take a breath and really absorb this incredible habitat. Paddling through the gentle winding waterways by kayak is a favorite way to see the mangroves and experience the incredible biodiversity.
The mangroves with their massive limbs perform the essential functions to maintain the surrounding ecosystems, which is what makes this region such a rich and treasured place attracting people from all over the world. Here in the Golfo Dulce where the rivers meet the Pacific Ocean, the incredible low salinity of the area is due to the function of the mangroves. Mangroves form in zones where the tides create changing water levels and river water mixes with the ocean’s saltwater. They have a unique ability to absorb the salt, protecting the other flora and fostering the rich biodiversity of this area.
Exploring the mangroves on a day trip you will find monkeys, raccoons, river otters, iguanas, Jesus Christ lizards, crabs, crocodiles, caymans, snakes, all types of birds, butterflies, and much more. In these waters, stingrays and thousands of tiny of schools of fish live here. Juvenile fish also spend much of their early life in the mangroves shielded by the roots, which keeps out the larger predators.
The mangroves’ spidery limbs and vast root systems form an incredible network that allows animals to traverse freely through these swamps without ever touching the ground. Get lost in the shade of 80-foot mangrove trees and look up to see rays of sunshine cutting through the massive green canopies as you paddle down the river through these vast water networks.
Much of the fishing opportunities here peak in June through mid-November. You will need to take a paddleboat into the mangroves and river for fishing. Among the prime mangrove and river species are black snook, barracuda, Pacific jack crevelle, mangrove and various other snappers, corvina (similar to weakfish), and roosterfish, which are found in the deeper waters at the river mouth drop-offs into the gulf. Incredibly, tarpon have even been caught here having migrated through the Panama Canal to these waters.
The ecological diversity of this region is like no other place in the world. These mystical vast mangrove estuaries feed the great Golfo Dulce. It is breathtaking and worth checking out. Crocodile Bay can accommodate both fishing excursions and ecotours into the mangroves. If you are planning an eco-friendly family vacation this summer than a trip to the Golfo Dulce may be just the place to visit.