Monday, June 2, 2014

Crocodile River Tour Costa Rica Tárcoles River

So our Beef Jerky business takes us on another adventure in Costa Rica. After our trips to the famous crocodile bridge in Tárcoles, Costa Rica, we noticed many tourist vans and buses that also stop to see these prehistoric giants, so we knew we had to sell our jerky in the Frutas Tropical Nahomi Super. While speaking with Juan and Julian about our product, they suggested we try the river tour, something we have always wanted to do. After setting up our display, we took a 5 minute drive across the bridge into Tárcoles and stopped into Jose's River Tour to validate our tickets ($35 US each). By 10am it was hot and steamy so we suggest taking the first tour in the morning at 8am. After validating our tickets, we drove another 2 km, following the signs to the dead end at the river bank where there are shops and a nice restaurant. So the whole family, including my mom from Texas loaded up on the big, comfy river boat with 2 fellas from Jersey and the tour guide, Jason and the barefoot driver, Luis. They were knowledgeable, giving us a laminated resource guide with wildlife we might see on our trip. Jason began to point out the first large croc, he endearingly called "Brad Pitt". When we asked why, he said, "Because he is handsome and has green eyes." He then told us there were 2,000 crocodiles in the river that runs 54 miles from San Jose to the mouth of the Pacific. 5 minutes into the trip, we had already seen about 8 crocodiles and many of the birds on our resource guide. 
Max and Sara had plenty of room to run around on the boat, giving us all heart palpitations with the thought of a slip or fall out of the boat into the murky, croc-filled waters. To make matters worse, Jason then described a story of only 3 weeks ago about an inebriated Nicaraguan man who jumped off the bridge into the water to be devoured by about 10 crocs within seconds, leaving only his head on the beach a day or so later. Our friends from Jersey eloquently said in their Italian, New Jersey accent, "We know some guys that we would like to bring down here to go swimming" and we all chuckled as we pictured our own enemies in our minds. After traveling down the river about a mile, past some courageous horses drinking from the rivers edge, we asked Jason if the crocs ever attacked the horses and he said no, they prefer the cows and calves that occasionally need a drink. Then our guides led us to a mangrove estuary filled with tiny colorful freshwater crabs and towering "walking trees" and the sounds of macaws screeched and echoed through the lush green jungle. 
As we made our way back upriver, the cool breeze hit our faces, giving us great relief from the tropical heat. Now the show began. Without saying a word, Luis manouvered the boat to the muddy rivers edge. To our surprise, a gigantic croc surfaced from the murky water within arms reach of the boat, and my children! To our dismay, our barefoot Luis grabbed some raw meat and jumped out of the boat. Jason told us he was going to feed the beast! He then told us he was the largest croc in the river, weighing over 2,000 lbs and over 18 ft long, calling him Osama Bin Laden because he was always hard to find. During the feeding, a smaller female croc, only 15 feet long approached the shoreline, eager to gobble some meat. Luis ran up to her and fed her too, calling her Lady Gaga. They told us it was mating season, or else, the big guy would not be so close to her since these crocs are very territorial. 
After the show, we picked up our jaws, Luis returned to the boat with all of his fingers and toes in tact and drove us out like it was nothing. Just another day on the Tárcoles River. Just when we thought we had seen enough, we were introduced to a nest of baby crocs across the river. They were cute and muddy, and chirping for their mother, so we did not stay long, since she is maternal for 1 month. They are camouflaged well in the murky water and mud, and only about 10 inches long.
That marked the end of our tour, which was surprisingly pleasant, mosquito free and I highly recommend it to tourists and Nationals alike. It was well worth the money and our tour guides were good at their job and full of information. It was like a comedy horror movie on the discovery channel, filled with laughs, knowledge and jaw dropping adventure. Note, if your kids can pass for a younger age, tell the tour operator they are only 3, since they charge for 4 and over. Jason can give a better deal if you contact him directly.
Be sure and watch our video of the feeding to see the size of these crocs and how close you are to these prehistoric beasts. We had a lot of fun and the kids were full of amazement. The lesson learned was not to jump in just any water, especially in their new home in Costa Rica. Pura Vida!

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