Day 10: Floating through Mangrove Forests
Two other guests and I were given a tour around the mangrove swamps and wetlands of the Osa Peninsula. Along the Sierpe River, dense mangrove forests fill a large portion of the area with tangles of root masses and hidden wildlife. The Tarraba-Sierpe National Wetlands protects more than 66,000 acres of wetlands in between the Tarraba and Sierpe Rivers.
Our captain and guide picked us up on the shore of Drake Bay (this is how all trips requiring water transportation begin) and we headed towards the Rio Sierpe. With a view of Costa Rica's tallest peak, Mount Chirripo, in the background, the low clouds in the foreground hang low over valleys of the primary forests that surround so much of Osa.
The river mouth was calm, but our guide, Evaristo, told us that some days the waves can be four to five meters tall. We coasted into the calmer water of the wide Sierpe River where the mangrove forests begin. We were surrounded by mountainous terrain, where the mangroves give way to enormous trees and dense upland jungles.
We followed a few boat-wide canals branching off the main river. The mangrove's roots seem to reach out and walk along the sandy bottom, creating a tangle of roots arching over one another.
We spotted several species of birds, namely the yellow-billed cotinga, Baird's trogon, little blue herons, osprey and a slaty-tailed trogon. We meander up river and through canals for the better part of the morning, stop for lunch along the riverbank in the shade and slowly make our way back to Jinetes. Our final lucky find of the day was a bushmaster (a venomous snake) curled in a tree branch not far above the bow of the boat.
We exited the river mouth carefully as the waves were now taller and the tide was coming in. We toured some oceanic islands where brown boobies and frigate birds nest and we then made our journey home.
Again, I returned to the Jinetes de Osa Lodge feeling refreshed and lucky to have spent such a magnificent day in such a beautiful place. Once again there was homemade bread and soup and another healthy dinner consisting of grilled fish, veggies and mashed potatoes.
A few of us ventured out to the only restaurant/bar in Drake Bay, the Jade Mar and to enjoy a few drinks before collapsing into bed.