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Humedal Nacional Terraba Sierpe - National Park - Costa Rica

Terraba Sierpe is one of the largest mangrove reserves in Central America, more than 30,000 hectares. It is not only a mangrove forest, but an enormous, intricate conglomerate of river deltas, estuaries and wetlands that stretches and winds its way between the Sierpe and Terraba rivers and up to the mouth of Drake Bay (among other places). The mangroves, like an estuary, provide a unique, protective ecosystem that supports an exceptional amount of life, particularly waterfowl and fish. Other creatures you may see among the tangle of roots and branches include crocodiles, raccoons, tree boas and crabs.

Native peoples have utilized the mangroves for more than a thousand years for subsistence - eating the fish and crabs that live there and using the tannins from specific kind of mangrove bark, Rhizophora harrisonii, to tan leathers. Unregulated, however, these practices were damaging the mangrove forest. Thus, in 1977, the government officially declared the area a forest reserve and began to impose certain rules on the use of the wetlands, attempting to protect the many plants and animals that rely on this vast ecosystem.

Despite its protected status, tourism is allowed in Terraba Sierpe. Visitors departing from Sierpe or Drake can paddle through with a guided kayak tour or ride along the channels in a motorboat to get a glimpse of life within the marvelous mangroves.

National Park

Here are other activities in and around Golfo Dulce and the Osa Peninsula that may be of interest: Golfito National Wildlife Reserve and Reserva Forestal Golfo Dulce.

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