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Private Boat Charter Adventures in the Cayman Islands

Mangrove Tour.

Project Description

Crystal Charters Cayman

Eco Tour Grand Cayman

An Educational Tour of Grand Cayman’s Most Valued Ecosystem

eco tour Grand Cayman

Slow cruising through the red mangrove forest as the sun begins to set is the perfect way to end any day. These mangroves play a vital role in our ecosystem and are essential for the islands well-being. During your eco tour of the mangroves, our educated captains will teach you and the little ones all about our ecosystem as we journey through these enchanting forests.

Plan Your Adventure

What are Mangroves?

Mangroves are groups of trees and shrubs that live in saltwater and can only be found growing along tropical coastlines. They have an intricate root system, called prop roots that look a lot like tentacles giving the trees a very exquisite look. These striking roots are often submerged in the water, while the rest of the tree lives above the water line. This structure makes for a very unique habitat for all different kinds of island wildlife.

Why Mangroves matter?

“If there are no mangrove forests, then the sea will have no meaning. It is like having a tree with no roots, for the mangroves are the roots of the sea.”

Mangroves provide the foundation for the food chain that feeds all marine life found in the Cayman Islands. They act as an important nursery area for small fish and invertebrates. The roots provide a shelter like sanctuary to protect these fish from hungry predators while also providing a rich source of food – creating an ideal environment for these juveniles to grow and thrive. The waters of Cayman are teeming with vast aquatic wildlife because of the essential functions these mangroves provide.

As you travel around the Cayman Islands you will find yourself surrounded by crystal- clear waters – this is thanks to the unique and complex root system of the mangroves which filter out sediment and other pollutants. This amazing root system also helps prevent shoreline erosion, protects against coastal storms by reducing the impacts of waves and distributes important nutrients for surrounding ecosystems.

Mangrove wood is resistant to rot making it great for creating furniture, building boats, houses and fishing gear for the surrounding coastal communities. Medicinal plants can also be found within the mangrove ecosystems which communities use for their healing properties.

Red Mangroves

All plants need fresh water to live but not the red mangroves, they make it themselves! Adaptation allows them to desalinate seawater through reverse osmosis—taking in water and leaving the salt behind.
Another distinct feature of the red mangroves is that they actually grow in the water. When it comes to reproduction, mangrove trees do it like no other. The red mangroves have very large seeds which is actually a small plant with roots that are already growing. When it falls from the parent tree it can grow on the muddy sediments below the tree or float in open water for many months until the roots find a suitable spot to grow.

Black mangroves

These grow where there is shallow water during high tides. Since they thrive in shallow waters, their roots are modified to act as snorkels to help the plants breathe since the soil is normally too thick. Unlike their red counterparts, the black mangrove does not have the salt excursion technology but passes out the salt through salt glands on the leaves. You can actually see the salt crystals forming on the upper parts of the leaves, or if you don’t have a keen eye, you can always give it a taste!

White mangrove

This is the distant cousin of the mangrove family since it normally grows on dry land. White mangrove trees have straight trunks covered Sulphur yellow lichen which makes it appear pale at a distance.

Learn about Biodiversity in the Mangroves on our Eco Tour

After learning how this magnificent mangrove forest provides an extensive food web and shelter from predators, it comes as no surprise to discover wildlife of all kinds thriving within this environment. This complex ecosystem provides a home for iguanas, parrots, juvenile sea turtles, crabs, mussels, snails, shrimp and a variety of fish, bird and insect species. Here you will also find some of the most unique species of aquatic wildlife that include: octopi, sea horses, starfish, floating sea anemones, orange sponges and even upside down jellyfish! The mangrove forest is a dream come true for all nature and animal lovers!

Adventures


Rachel Espinosa
Rachel Espinosa
21:22 09 Dec 19
We had an AMAZING trip with Crystal Charters!!!! The two captains we had, Matthew and Hunter, were very professional and patient with our group. They made sure that we were able to do all of the things we wanted to and were very helpful with the stingrays and snorkeling. The booking process was very smooth as well. We were on the WorldCat boat and it was gorgeous - incredibly clean and comfortable. We had six in our group but could easily have had a few more and still been comfortable. I would highly recommend Crystal Charters!!! You will not regret it, our entire group said it was the best six hours we spent on the island!read more
Brittany Barton
Brittany Barton
22:46 25 Nov 19
What an amazing day! We decided to book a 4 hour charter while on the Disney Wonder to avoid the typical excursion crowds and couldn't have been happier! Alex and Kass were exceptional guides and made the most of every minute we were there. The time we spent with the stingrays was awesome. Most of the tour boats had 50-100 passengers, all waiting to see the rays with their guides while Alex and Kass just kept finding more stingrays to bring over to the four of us. Then, while snorkeling, there was only one other small boat nearby. Kass went the extra mile entertaining our youngest daughter on the back of the boat by feeding the fish and finding conchs once she tired of snorkeling. I would recommend Crystal Charters to anyone going to Grand Cayman and we'll be using them again in the future!read more
Tom Hurlbut
Tom Hurlbut
00:28 22 Nov 19
Captain Benjie and crew, Shirley and Alex, were knowledgeable and went above and beyond to make sure our trip was everything we could have hoped for. The boat was comfortable, the snorkeling was beautiful and the visit to stingray city was superb. Definitely do the bioluminescent bay experience too...amazing! We had such a good time with them, we chartered the next day to try some fishing. While we didn’t catch any record-breakers, the day on the water with their hospitality and knowledge was everything we could gave asked for! Many thanks for the great experiences and we hope to see you again!read more
Sebastian Lagos
Sebastian Lagos
22:44 21 Nov 19
This was an amazing experience! The people of Crystal Charters are so wonderful, and informative. We swam, waltzed, and kissed a stingray, played with all the fish and starfish, and caught a few tuna and a barracuda! We even saw a sunken ship! It is DEFINITELY a must see. If I could, this would get 10 stars!Thank you Captain Benji, and thank you Shirley and Alex!read more
Rhianna Thomas
Rhianna Thomas
02:49 20 Nov 19
We had an amazing experience with Captain Benji, Slim and Shirley. We were able to do some snorkeling, pet a stingray and then went deep sea fishing. I cannot recommend this charter enough. The booking process was smooth and Kristie was always quick to answer any questions I had. We will definitely use Crystal Charters again. To top off the whole trip, we caught a wahoo and now get to have our fish for dinner tomorrow. How cool is that?!?read more
Nick Buysse
Nick Buysse
16:38 17 Nov 19
We did small group charter with our family and some friends to see Sting Ray City, Starfish Point, and some snorkeling. The trip was amazing and did not disappoint. Cass and Alex were friendly, knowledgeable, and able to show us and tell us all about the local area and fish.The highlight for me was their willingness to work with our kids and help them get comfortable with the interaction with the sting ray, the fish, and the star fish. I went in with a kid who was a bit scared, and I didn't know how the snorkeling would go. Cass worked with her to make her comfortable in the water and around the sea life, and in the end, it was the highlight of her trip.read more

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