The manatee is a large marine mammal with an egg-shaped head, flippers and a flat tail. Manatees are also known as sea cows. This name is apt, due to their large stature; slow, lolling nature; and propensity to be eaten by other animals. However, despite the name, they are more closely related to elephants. Though they may seem like cumbersome creatures, manatees can swim quickly and gracefully. Like other grazing animals, manatees play an important role in influencing the plant growth in the shallow rivers, bays, estuaries, canals and coastal waters they call home.
The manatee species is endemic to Puerto Rico, but they are in danger of extinction due to their being struck by motorboats and from the loss of coastal habitat. Fewer than 600 manatees remain in the waters around Puerto Rico. So, sometimes, these amazing creatures need a little help from us humans.
If you haven’t seen a Caribbean Manatee for yourself, you are missing out on something spectacular. These large mammals are often seen in the waters of the Condado Lagoon, where they always attract the attention of onlookers. Their large bodies somewhat resemble a whale; however, they are the cousin of the elephant, which is definitely apparent in their appearance.
When the Caribbean Manatees are close to the coast, they are on the hunt for food and freshwater, which can be found in ample amounts around the Condado Lagoon. They thrive on the sea grasses that grow in the shallow waters, and they thirst for the pure water from the rivers, undersea aquifers, and rain. Often referred to as gentle giants, the Caribbean Manatees especially love the sea grass that can be found at the Condado Lagoon, steps from El Canario Lagoon Hotel. It’s easy to see why the Caribbean Manatee is one of the most cherished animals found in Puerto Rico. Their majestic size and natural grace is an amazing sight to see in person.
An ideal way of getting a chance to see these creatures is to go Stand Up Paddleboarding or kayaking at the Condado Lagoon, walking distance from our hotel.