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       purple gallinule on sierpe mangler
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Terraba Sierpe Wetlands

Terraba Sierpe Wetlands

Quick Facts

  • Location : Sierpe
  • Altitude : Sea Level
  • Area : 66,850 acres
  • Telephone : 2735-5036

This extensive national wetland protects the river mouths of the Terraba and Sierpe Rivers, as well as the vast network of canals, mangrove forests, and estuaries in between. Kayaking, boating, hiking and wildlife watching are some of the reserve's most popular activities.

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The eight species of mangrove found here are some of the tallest in the world – red, black, grey, and tea mangroves being the most common varieties. These fascinating plants – and their tangled roots – have evolved to survive despite high salinity levels, and the low oxygen content of the mud in which they grow. The impressive mangroves provide a valuable coastal ecosystem to an abundance of avian, mammalian, reptilian and aquatic animals.

Birding enthusiasts come from all over the globe to experience the area’s phenomenal birdwatching opportunities. Both resident and migratory birds visit these swamps, which also boast two endemic hummingbird species: the mangrove hummingbird and the yellow-billed cotinga.


Bird and Wildlife Watching:  Birdwatching in the Terraba Sierpe Wetlands is fabulous year-round. Herons (boat-billed, green-backed, tiger-throated, great blue and little blue), egrets, pelicans, osprey, roseate spoonbills, black-necked stilts, and mangrove black hawks are just a few commonly spotted species.

Underwater, a variety of freshwater fish and mollusks reside. Many types of reptile including crocodiles, caimans, boa constrictors, iguanas and lizards also call these swamps their home. A few types of mammals inhabit the area – mainly howler and white-faced monkeys, northern and crab-eating raccoons, silky and collared anteaters, and white-tailed deer.

Hiking: Hiking excursions to an 800-foot waterfall can be arranged in Sierpe. Half or full-day guided tours are unforgettable opportunities to see poison dart frogs, monkeys, crocodiles and a multitude of birds.

Mangrove Tours: Motorized boat outings run up and down the Terraba and Sierpe Rivers in search of wildlife. Guided kayak excursions are also an option – these silent paddleboats are less likely to startle animals along the riverbanks. Glide up to the estuary where the Sierpe River meets the open ocean for unbeatable birding and surfing.


There are no public facilities or trails in the Terraba Sierpe wetlands.

Getting There:

Boats and kayaks can be rented from Sierpe for full or half-day excursions. Tours are also available from Drake Bay, which is half an hour away.

Terraba Sierpe Wetlands in Pictures

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