Mangroves are Superheroes! Experience Them in Cayman

by User One

Mangroves in the Cayman Islands

Mangroves are interconnected wetland forests generally off the coasts of tropical areas. They’re crucial ecological areas, and they’re also protectors of the dry lands they surround.

The largest mangrove area on Grand Cayman is the Central Mangrove Wetland. Located east of the North Sound it comprises over 8,000 acres. It’s critical to marine life living both in the mangroves and throughout the entire North Sound.

Efforts to protect the area have been underway since the 80’s through public policy and advocacy from groups such as the National Trust for the Cayman Islands. The National Trust currently owns and protects over 1,000 acres of the area, and they hope to continue to acquire additional ownership. That way even more of the wetland can be preserved.

Experience The Mangroves on a Kayak Tour or by Bike!

You can experience the wonder of the mangroves on a kayak tour or by bike while in the Cayman Islands. This is an activity we highly recommend.

While on tour you’ll get to paddle through cool “alleys” in the trees. You’ll learn about the significance of the mangrove forest. And you’ll learn why they’re worth protecting. We’ll share some educational information in this post, but there’s nothing like learning it firsthand from the pros.

If you want to hop on a tour nearby, Paddle Wheel Adventures offers kayak tours through mangrove forests in West Bay accessed by Governor’s Creek.

And if you’re up for an adventure to the North Side (which is always a joy) Cayman Kayaks offers kayak tours through the Central Mangrove Wetland. They depart from Cay Public Beach near Rum Point. (Cayman Kayaks is also known for their amazing bioluminescent bay tours.)

On both kayak tours you’ll get to experience the wonders of the intertwining mangrove habitat consisting of red, black and white mangrove trees as well as buttonwoods.

You can also discover the mangroves on an all-new e-bike tour with Paddle Wheel Adventures. Sign up for their West Bay tour, and have the delight of being shown around by professional ecologist, Ryan DeNoyer. This tour is incredibly unique as you’ll not only get to see well known sites, but even more exciting you’ll get to see many places off the beaten path. This includes the incredible opportunity to ride your bike through the mangrove forests. Because the bikes are electric powered, you’ll be able to ride for miles without even breaking a sweat. They also have an option where you can combine both the kayak and e-bike tour, so you can easily experience the mangroves by land and sea!

Why Mangroves are Important

Mangroves in Cayman are vital to the survival of the national bird, the Cayman Parrot, as well as many other birds on island.

Some of the mangrove regions are even designated as IBAs (Important Bird Areas) by BirdLife International. This fact sheet of theirs is an interesting read. Plus it includes the best map I’ve found showing the boundaries of the Central Mangrove Wetland.

In addition to bird life, the mangroves are essential to a wide range of marine life. For example, many young fish & marine life hang out in the root system of the mangroves for protection until they are ready to emerge and capable of protecting themselves in the open waters.

Aside from the life forms supported, mangroves also play a role in protecting nearby lands. They serve as a land buffer during storms slowing tides and water surges and thereby protecting coastal land.

For all of these reasons mangroves are eco-superheroes, but that’s not all. When it comes to fighting climate change, mangroves outperform rainforests. According to the Mangrove Action Project:

“Mangroves do more proportionally than any other forest to sequester carbon – up to 5x more per hectare than tropical rainforests. This makes mangrove forests – and their restoration – one of the planet’s best and most important defenses against climate change." 

While you’re here make sure to experience the ecological superhero for yourself. You can take one of the kayak or bike tours recommended above. Or if you’d like to give back while you’re here, stay on the lookout for volunteer opportunities. Organizations like, The Mangrove Rangers and The National Trust for the Cayman Islands often provide chances to get involved.