Starting at $65 per night

Overview

Damas Island and the surrounding mangroves provide one of the better places in Costa Rica to go boating in a wildlife refuge. Kayaking through the mangroves can be a thrilling experience as you immerse yourself in the local wildlfie habitat.

The tour starts off when you are picked up from your hotel. If you are in Manuel Antonio, the drive will be around a half hour. The drive will take longer from other destinations such as Jaco, Dominical, or Uvita. Regardless of the pickup location, you will be driven to the Damas Island Refuge where you will meet your guide and prepare for the experience.

After a brief safety and instructional course, you will receive a life jacket and board either a single or double sit on top kayak which is assigned based on availability and the guides discretion. Some experience in open-seat kayaking is preferred, plus a reasonable fitness level is recommended since this adventure involves kayaking in an open seat kayak. Then you will be on your way, paddling through the estuary.

The refuge is home to large populations of caimans and crocodiles, which can be observed at nearly every turn. In additional to reptiles, you may see capuchin monkeys, anteaters, sloths and other mammals. Birdwatchers will delight as many species live or migrate here including parrots, toucans, roseate spoonbills, herons and other wetland waterfowl.

The kayaking will be done at a group pace, so you will never be left behind. While experience is not necessary, keep in mind that you will be in a natural setting with wild animals! The kayaking portion is expected to last a few hours in typically hot, humid weather. This tour is available to children 7 years and older who may be required to paddle in a double kayak with an adult.

After kayaking is complete you will enjoy a traditional Costa Rican meal at a local Tico restaurant.

Tour times vary as they depend on the daily high and low tides. After the tour, you will be returned to your hotel. Your safari adventure includes transportation, bilingual guide, gear, and a meal.

In total, the tour is expected to last 4 hours, though this is subject to change and longer if you are staying in Jaco, Dominical, or Uvita. Transportation from these areas is at set times. If you have to wait for the tide to come in or wait for the bus back to your hotel, don't worry, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the beach, or hang out in the restaurant so please be prepared for these eventualities. Depending on the tides, the full day trip can be up to 8 hours, so please do not coordinate other activities on this day when staying in Jaco, Domical, or Uvita.

Highlights

  • Kayaking through the Damas Island Refuge
  • Possibility to observe rare tropical wildlife
  • Traditional Costa Rican style meal served at a local restaurant

What to Bring

  • Insect Repellent
  • Binoculars
  • Camera
  • Bathing Suit
  • Towel
  • Sun Block
  • Rain Gear

Location and Availability

The Damas Island Kayaking Safari is available from Dominical, Herradura, Jaco, Manuel Antonio, and Uvita

Tour Time

  • Depend of the Ocean Tides

Tour Type

  • Adventure
  • Nature

Cancellation Policy

Cancellation Policy

Recommended Ages

7 and up kids might have to use double kayak with parents.

Location

Latitude: N 9°27'30.76". Longitude: W 85°47'56.63"

Reviews

  • Overall 85.0% (70 Guest Ratings)
  • Experience: 83.4%
  • Expectations: 81.3%
  • Guides: 87.3%
  • Logistics: 88.1%
  • Value: 86.0%

06/04/2019

Just kinda bland.

05/04/2019

My least favorite activity, but it was my choice.

03/27/2019

pretty mellow experience, not many animals out so more of a leisurely paddle

02/09/2019

A nice paddle through the mangroves.
No wildlife when we were there.

01/14/2019

We kayak on almost all of our vacations. We enjoyed going thru the mangroves and all the narrow channels, The water was very murky, but I guess that is typical of the area. The guides were very knowledgeable and helpful and concerned for our safety on the water. We were with a large group, so I think that impeded us seeing much wildlife. We eventually found two monkeys, at the end of the tour. The meal afterwards was okay. I enjoyed meeting some of the other travelers and being able to sit and visit with them during our meal. Overall, an interesting kayaking experience. Not really one that lends itself to seeing wildlife, though.

01/04/2019

Friendly guide, not as many animals as we had hoped to see.

12/28/2018

It just wasn't what we expected. For one thing, it wasn't really an island we went to. We expected to travel by kayak to an island area and then go through mangroves. The name is a bit misleading. We didn't see that much. Didn't take any photos to remember it.

08/15/2017

Really interesting. Not difficult kayaking and a good way to get up close to the wildlife.

05/26/2017

It took me a while to feel comfortable in the kayak because during my last experience I'd tipped over and I didn't want to do that in muddy swamp water. I also was glad my husband and I kayaked together because after a while my injured left arm started to get painful from paddling. We saw some cool animals, learned lots about mangrove swamps, and were treated to an excellent lunch.

04/09/2017

The equipment was great, saw lots of interesting things and wildlife. The guide did not speak English well and there was some difficulty, error in communication, but he tried hard! Lunch included was great!

03/30/2017

It was a bit short, but okay.

02/11/2017

From the description, we expected to see "crocodiles and caimans around every corner". We didn't. There wasn't that much wildlife, but it was a nice excursion. The lunch afterwards was great.

01/05/2017

Guide was not informative about the environment or the animals, fauna etc. nor did he wait for the whole group to get together before speaking to us. The group was too large.

12/21/2016

Interesting, but not any animals

04/18/2016

So interesting! Learned so much about an ecosystem I had never experienced before. Great meal afterwards!

04/15/2016

Really wonderful time on this tour! Loved the guide and the adventure! Food was amazing.

03/23/2016

Great guides, fun activity. We did not see too many animals, however. The meal at the end of the trip was absolutely fantastic, though!

03/02/2016

Poor quality kayaks; they look "homemade"; uncomfortable.

01/17/2016

This a less strenuous kayaking tour. Sit on kayaks. The tour recommended that we take a double kayak for stability (we did). The guide was personable and seemed knowledgable. I am glad I had the breakfast at the hotel in advance. After the kayak tour they served a minimal breakfast.

11/01/2015

This was a fun, wonderful experience for us. We kayak all of the time but never through the mangroves with monkeys jumping overhead. What a great adventure.

04/16/2015

Minimal wildlife, water was gross. But kayaking right through the mangroves was fun.