Crocodile Bridge, Costa Rica


Crocodile Bridge (otherwise known as Tarcoles Bridge), sits above the Tarcoles River around 73 km from San Jose. The bridge is often visited as a pit-stop on the way to other destinations in Costa Rica, as you’re pretty much guaranteed to see American crocodiles sunning themselves on the banks of the river. Astoundingly, the Tarcoles River is considered to have one of the highest populations of American crocodiles in the world, with up to 25 crocodiles per square km! This is even more astonishing given that the river is one of the most contaminated in Costa Rica. Despite the pollution, an abundance of wildlife calls this river home. Tarcoles begins where two different rivers meet and creates the border for Carara National Park. The entire watershed of the river covers 2,000 square km and empties out into the Pacific Ocean.

Average rating: 3.7 (good)

Average cost: free!

Best time to visit: you can visit year-round but head there in the dry season (November to April) to spot the crocs sunning themselves on the banks.

How to get there: you have to head across crocodile bridge if you are going to Jaco, Manuel Antonio, the South Pacific, or the Osa Peninsula from San Jose. Public buses won’t stop, but private transport will usually make a stop here (and is used to being asked to).

Typical activities: crocodile watching!

Number of reports: 3

Last updated: 2022

WILDLIFE IN Crocodile bridge

According to reports submitted to WildSide, the most popular species that can be seen here are:

American Crocodile – 100% OF Wildside users (3/3) REPORTED SIGHTINGS

American crocodile crocodile bridge wildside world wild webThe American crocodile is one of the larger crocodile species, with males reaching lengths of up to 6 m and weighing over 900 kg. Crocodile Bridge gives you a chance to see these amazing animals at a safe distance, and for free. They are there year-round and often in large numbers. Most tours passing through the area will involve a stop off allowing you to peer over the side and see these incredible creatures from the Bridge! If you are in private transport you can park nearby next to the restaurants and cafes. Alternatively, you can ask your driver to stop by the Bridge and allow you some time to look out.

Photo credit: WildSide team member Katie Thomas

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