After a 5-hour flight through the night, we arrive at San Jose airport just as the sun is peaking over the mountains. We get off the plane, grab our boards and pick up our rental car. We have a long day ahead of us so we bought some snacks and started our 2-hour drive to catch a boat down the Tarcoles River to photograph the infamous giant crocodiles.
An hour into our drive we get out of the city and start seeing the vast valleys and dense rainforest that Costa Rica is known for. I pull over to the side and just take a deep breath of the fresh air… its good to be back! I get back in the car and we are off for another hour drive.
We slowly start to creep into Tarcoles and see the crowds all lined up to get a glimpse at the Crocodile Bridge. To get even more excited for our trip down the river we decide to pull over and join the tourist. We start slowly walking across the narrow bridge as cars and trucks are flying by us only missing hitting us by inches.
This doesn’t stop us and we continue on our path. We start to peak our eyes over the bridge and we can finally see the tail of one of the giants. I can’t believe my eyes and I can’t wait to see what is attached to this monster tail. We finally reach the middle and there are living dinosaurs just sitting on the banks of the river. These reptiles are so primal and ancient that it feels like I am in Jurassic park. We only had time for a few pictures and then we had to catch our boat. I couldn’t be more stoked for our opening day adventure!
We pull down a dirt road in the jungle and we can’t imagine that this is the right way. We can’t see water anywhere in your sights put we decide to continue on. After about 20 minutes down a bumpy pothole filled road, we reached the end. There is a little opening in the jungle where all the boats are docked. They are long pangas that can fit up to 60 people, but we don’t see other people around. Slowly a man starts walking towards us and I imagine he is our boat captain. “Hola! Pura vida!” Jose says to us as he tells us to load up and get ready to see crocodiles like we have never seen before. My friend Skyler and I get on and they push the boat back as the water is rushing down the river. He says keep your eyes peeled because the crocs will blend in with the brown water. Just as he says this there is one right off the side of the boat close enough that you can touch it! I snap a few shots and I thought this was a big croc but they said to just wait and see what was yet to come. We go up the river for another few miles and there are birds from all over the world, iguanas on the side of the river and crocs at every turn that we take.
At one point we come up on one of the biggest crocs on the river that they named “Osama Bin Laden.” The captain puts the throttle forward and puts the boat up on the bank of the river. He pulls out a piece of raw chicken and begins to slap it on the water to attract “Osama.” He comes rushing over and chomps in the air… Whomp! A miss! He misses the second time but finally on the third time he chomps it right out of Jose’s hand. I couldn’t believe what I just saw! My mind is blown and the rest of the trip down the river goes exactly like that with Jose jumping out of the boat to feed these beasts (see video below). After all of our adrenaline had been used up, we are headed back to the dock. We have the biggest smiles on our face and we hop back in our car for a 4-hour drive north to begin our surfcation!