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Posted by on Dec 8, 2013 in Animals, Costa Rica, Tips, Travel | 4 comments

Costa Rica’s Most Dangerous River

Costa Rica’s Most Dangerous River

Crocs, The Reason to Stop

2 American Crocodiles in the Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

The Tárcoles River or the Río Grande de Tárcoles, is a river in Costa Rica best known as a mid-way point on the route from the central valley to Jaco beach. There is nothing too great about the unassuming, dirty brown river, unless you like to see American Crocodiles in the “wild”. I put wild in quotes because the crocs congregate around the bridge for a reason – they get fed.

American Crocodiles

There are boat tours that take people down the river where you can get up and personal with the crocs. I crocodile wrangler then gets out on shore and does a dance with a croc and pays the animal in chicken for his troubles. The crocs also get fed routinely by shop owners who tourist trade depends, just a bit, on the crocodiles being visible.

No Shit? No, Shit.

The crocodiles are not the only reason not to get in the water. According to Wikipedia:

“The river is the most contaminated river in Costa Rica, carrying much of the sewage from the central towns and cities. The river’s watershed drains approximately 67% of Costa Rica’s untreated organic and industrial waste and is considered the most contaminated river basin in the country.”

American Crocodile

Regardless of the dangers of the river, it is a must see on your way to Jaco, and since you are 20 feet or more above the river, standing on a bridge, you are quite safe. Just don’t drop your camera or the new trinket you just bought.

Hasta Pronto,


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Greg Seymour is a quitter. At 41 Greg and his wife Jen quit their jobs, sold damn near everything they owned and became Intentionally Unemployed and retired early to Costa Rica.
In addition to writing on this blog, Greg has written for other online publications and has written two popular books about living in Costa Rica:
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  1. Eeek I would definitely be giving that river a miss! I hope that first photo is just a close up from further away!! 🙂

    • Yes, all the pictures were taken from the bridge, a safe, 20 feet away. Although, there are river tours that take you in a boat and the crocs are literally feet away. It is a good river to see once. We just went to Manuel Antonio park and past by the river and no one wanted to stop and see them again.

  2. And just in case you wanted to try your luck anyway, if you’re hanging out at the mouth of the river during high tide, you just might find yourself among sharks too. Eek!

    • Good thing I live in the mountains. Ha.

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