Plus Other Mangrove Forest FAQ
Chicago’s Caravan Tours conducts an all inclusive Costa Rica tour that includes a guided Tarcoles River float trip through the mangrove forest of Carara National Park. In this post, Caravan offers a number of interesting facts about the mangrove forest that will help make your guided tour more enjoyable.
What is a mangrove forest?
Located in the province of Guanacaste, this Costa Rica mangrove forest consists mainly of mangrove plants. These are primarily salt tolerant shrubs or small trees that live in the coastal intertidal zone. A Mangrove forest creates a unique habitat for migratory birds, mammals, Crustacea, and fish; like no other tree species can.
It is quite easy to spot the dense tangled root system of mangrove trees. Some even describe mangrove trees as looking like they are standing on stilts (actually roots) above the water.
Where are mangrove forests found?
Mangrove forests can be found around the world in the tropics and in subtropical areas. Typically, you will find mangrove forests between 25° N and 25° S of the Equator. Mangroves can’t withstand freezing temperatures so are limited to areas within these latitudes.
As of 2000, the total area covered by mangrove forests around the world is 53,200 square miles. The largest mangrove forest in the world is called The Sundarbans and exists on the delta of Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna rivers in India.
Did you know that 75% of the world’s mangrove forests exist in just 15 countries around the world? North and Central America make up just 15% of these mangrove forests. In Costa Rica mangrove trees exist on both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts.
How are mangrove forests useful to man?
Mangrove forests are a significant biome creating a highly unique and productive ecosystem. Mangrove forests provide several useful goods and services to humans, including:
- Fisheries – Mangroves are home to fish, crab, shrimp, and mollusk species.
- Timber and plants – Wood from mangrove forests is insect and rot resistant.
- Coastal protection – The dense root systems of mangrove forests act as nets to trap and prevent sediments from flowing down river and out into the ocean. Mangrove forests also help prevent erosion of the coastline.
- Eco-tourism – Several countries now take advantage of showcasing their mangrove forests to tourists who are wowed by marvellous snorkelling, wildlife, flora and fauna.
Mangrove forests also provide shelter and food for fish and organisms needing protection from predators.
What lives in mangrove forests?
In Costa Rica, there are 7 species of mangrove trees (out of the 80 species that exist around the world) including:
- Red Mangroves
- Black Mangroves
- Tea Mangrove
- White Mangrove
- Buttonwood Mangrove
Wildlife that you can spot in mangrove forests in Costa Rica includes:
- Tree frogs
- River turtles
- White face capuchin monkeys
- Squirrel monkeys
- Howler monkeys
About Caravan Tours
As a family run business, Caravan Tours has been offering fully guided tours throughout North and Central America for over 65 years, since 1952!
Caravan’s Costa Rica tours include an afternoon float trip through the mangrove forests in Guanacaste, on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. The float trip offers guests a once in a lifetime opportunity to spot all kinds of exotic birds and wildlife, including tropical caimans, boas, and several monkey species.