Sunday, July 3, 2011

Viewing Costa Rica's Largest Crocodiles on the Rio Tarcoles

This weekend we were on our way to the town of Jaco on Costa Rica's Pacific coast travelling along Highway 34.  This highway has a long bridge that crosses the famous Rio Tarcoles, which is home to Costa Rica's largest crocodiles.  The gigantic crocodiles can be easily seen basking on the mud banks just below the bridge (pictures below).

You can park your car on either side of the bridge, so that it doesn't matter which direction you are approaching the Rio Tarcoles from.  You will probably see a string of other tourists walking the small sidewalk lining either side of the bridge.  The sidewalk is somewhat narrow, so exercise caution with traffic.  I had heard that tourist robberies were a problem here in the past, but now a police officer is stationed at the bridge so I suspect this is no longer an issue.

The crocodiles in Costa Rica's Rio Tarcoles are American crocodiles.  They are said to live between 100-150 years, and to continue growing during all that time.  The Rio Tarcoles' crocodiles are so well fed on the abundant fish found in the river, that there have been very few reported deaths of humans from the adjacent towns who sometimes wade in the river, or of the cattle that often graze along its banks.  That said, there have been some incidents of humans and cattle being eaten so this is definitely not a river to take a dip in.  In fact, it's a little intimidating just looking over the bridge at these majestic creatures and pondering for a moment what it would be like to fall overboard.  Scary thought indeed!

If you'd like to get more up close and personal with the crocodiles in Costa Rica's Rio Tarcoles, you can also take a guided tour where you will receive an interesting and educational narration and see the crocs get fed by your tour guide.  The outfitter is called The Crocodile Man Tour and they seem to get great reviews from tourists who have taken it.

My boyfriend after parking the car just before entering the bridge

Following the other tourists walking the bridge towards the crocodiles

Some of the surrounding natural beauty around the Rio Tarcoles

Crocs gathered along the Rio Tarcoles banks

Me, carfeully leaning over the bridge to get my picture with the crocs

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