Rainforests, reefs, beaches, monkeys & more!
With shaman blessings, hot springs, jungle safaris, volcano trekking, ancient pyramids, yoga retreats & more.
Costa Rica is a biodiversity haven hemmed in by 750 miles of sterling beaches. Between those sandy shores and the famous Central American rainforests grow the mangroves, a fascinating form of vegetation that provides life and shelter to an astonishing array of land and sea creatures. Costa Rican tours must inevitably pierce the mangrove forests and swamps if the landscape is to be properly explored.
A rich tapestry
Mangroves are a family of plants - best known by their trees - that oversee many swamps and wetlands in Costa Rica. The stunning blossom of life to be found amid the mangroves is nearly as breathtaking as the trees themselves. They are immediately recognizable by the highly arching, impenetrable roots that shoot in and out of the water. Aspiring botanists, however, should also note the spectacular fact of their mere existence in the brackish wetlands.
Most vegetation cannot handle the high concentrations of salt, but the mangroves have learned how to purge themselves of excess salt in a variety of ingenious fashions. According to Costa Rica Outdoors, the black mangroves on the Pacific coast excrete their salt, leaving a crust of crystal on their leaves that's easily visible in the dry season. Red mangroves deposit their salt in aging leaves that will soon fall off the trees. These evolutionary tactics let the mangrove survive where most other plant species cannot.
Their perseverance in salty waters makes them a common occurrence just inland of many tropical coasts, according to Insight Guides. In Costa Rica, most of the mangroves can be found closer to the Pacific shore, but there are some mangrove forests along the Caribbean as well. Within the tangle of their roots travelers can find a rich spectrum of life that courses up, down and along the brackish water. Crocodiles, crabs, salt-water fish and water birds all call mangrove swamps home. Perhaps more amazingly, so do algae, corals, barnacles, lobster and octopi, reports Costa Rica Outdoors.
This island near the Tempisque River is a veritable exhibition of the birds that call the mangrove home. Bird watchers can see hosts of storks, egrets, kingfishers and a rare colony of brown pelicans. They seek shelter within this particular vegetation most likely because of the relative lack of tree-climbing predators that live near salt water.
The Parque Nacional Piedras Blancas was originally an extension of the famed and massive Corcovado National Park, and comprises a precious rainforest. It is also home to more mangrove swamps, where, according to Lonely Planet, adrenaline junkies can spot crocodiles, in addition to monkeys and sloths. In the park, you can kayak up or a take a boat tour in the waters, or even fish for mangrove snapper.
Azure waters, a backdrop of tropical rainforests and a plethora of activities and excursions to choose from complete this luxurious villa stay; making this an idyllic island escape...
Bask on sandy white beaches, snorkel with sharks and stingrays, and enjoy the relaxed pace of life on Ambergris Caye. Take the relaxation up a notch, when you board your private catamaran Aubisque, for a 3 night sail around the Cayes.
(Mountain Pine Ridge)
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