Sunday, December 19, 2010

Rio Tarcoles

The Río Grande de Tarcoles borders Carara National Park, which I mentioned a post or two ago.   It is the main river running through the central valley of Costa Rica - where most of the people live - to the Gulf of Nicoya.

There is a bridge where every tourist stops to walk across and gawk at the crocs along the banks below.  I've done it twice. The local drivers consider anyone crossing the bridge to be 'fair game'.

The cocodrilos would too, if given a chance.

We saw twenty crocs in the water and on the mudflats that day.

The American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus).  These photos were taken on my first trip to CR (note to self, do a post about the AWs)

By the way, I had my very first sighting of Scarlet Macaws just after taking the croc pics.  Carara is on the other side of the bridge and that park hosts the largest number of these absolutely fantastic birds. 

A couple years later, the crocs were still there; we did more birding than croc-watching.  Next day we embarked on a boat trip to the mouth of the river.  There were seven of us, plus the two boat operators.  We got nicely away from the dock, and putt-putting down the river when the motor died.  The boatmen had a cell phone but it didn't seem to rouse any action at the other end.  So there we were, rocking gently on the murky water - all of us wondering if we were going to spend our afternoon waiting for someone to come rescue us.  I noticed a look of worry on the face of one of my travel pards and thought it appropriate to start singing the theme song from Gilligan's Island.  People have accused me of having a misplaced sense of humour.  I don't know why.

No this wasn't us.  A replacement motor was eventually brought, we continued on our trip, with extra time given because we were so nice about the whole thing.

Rio T meets the Gulf of Nicoya with tide coming in.

Neotropic Cormorants  (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) and Brown Pelicans  (Pelecanus occidentalis)

Bare-throated Tiger-Heron  (Tigrisoma mexicanum) and Common Black Hawk  (Buteogallus anthracinus)

 Another croc

The Rio Tarcoles is the most polluted river in Costa Rica,. The Tico Times says: Río Tárcoles Carries San José’s Trash to Sea

(Click on the high-lighted links for more info on the subject and click on the photos to enlarge, if you want to)


  1. Looks amazing! Though I dunno how I feel about crocodiles...

  2. The crocs fascinate me. I wouldn't want to get dumped into that river or get anywhere too close one on the shore.