Starting at $65 per night


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.


  • 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.


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


  • Overall 86.4% (59 Guest Ratings)
  • Experience: 86.1%
  • Expectations: 83.7%
  • Guides: 87.0%
  • Logistics: 88.8%
  • Value: 88.4%


Super cool ecosystem that I otherwise wouldn't have thought about in association with Costa Rica! I'm a huge history nerd so I especially loved hearing about the area's history on the drive from Manuel Antonio.


We thought the kayaking might be a little more scenic. The mangrove is beautiful, but I'd recommend sharing that kids might get a little bored. Ours had a great time though.


Great guide and relaxing tour.


This was a great afternoon. Van driver friendly and right on time. The guide was very knowledgeable.


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


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.


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!


It was a bit short, but okay.


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.


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.


Interesting, but not any animals


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


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


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


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


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.


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.


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