Costa Rica Travel – For all of those people that like Crocodiles this is the place for you.
Driving down Carretera Pacífica Fernández Oreamuno (or simply Route 34) from San Jose, Costa Rica, to the beaches of the Pacific coast, I had to cross a bridge over the Rio Tarcoles, the river that winds down to the ocean through the Central Pacific region. As I crossed the bridge, I spotted dozens of people looking over the edge to the river below. I had to know why.
Parking on the far side of the bridge, I walked back about a hundred yards along its narrow shoulder and leaned over to see what the fuss was about. Then I leaned back — really quick. About 30 feet below were two dozen of the biggest crocodiles I have ever seen, lazily lounging on mud flats or floating in the river like malevolent logs.
A tour guide was telling a small group how the American crocodiles have grown so huge from the occasional, unfortunate cow that fails to safely cross the river. The organic chicken the guide threw probably didn’t hurt their growth either. One croc, nicknamed Monica Lewinsky (do not ask why), is close to 20 feet long. Other croc names include George Bush, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Lady Gaga. It is said the Tarcoles River, which makes up the northern border of Carara National Park, has the highest concentration of crocodiles in the world with an estimated 25 per square kilometer.
Of course, with great crocodiles come great idiots, several of which can be viewed on YouTube. And, as expected, a few enterprising Ticos have opened crocodile-themed restaurants and gift shops on the north end of the bridge, where you can park for a small tip to the attendant before checking out the croc-stars. Parking on the south end of the bridge is easy and free, but without postcards and drinks. One should be careful walking on the bridge as traffic whizzes by without a great deal of room to spare.
The Crocodile Bridge is free to visit. Do NOT get hit by a truck. Don’t fall over the railing. Both those things would be bad.
By Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com, Edited by Dan Stevens