I love a river cruise, so when I was asked if I wanted to break up the long journey between Monteverde and Manuel Antonio with a safari on the Tárcoles River looking for crocodiles, I jumped at the chance.
The river, which flows into the Gulf of Nicoya on the Pacific coast, is renowned for being home to one of the world’s largest crocodile populations, as well as lots of wading birds.
The jungle crocodile safari boat set off down the river, past the surrounding tropical mangroves, and it didn’t take long before we found our first crocodile. And after we saw one, we saw more and more of the majestic creatures.
Some were casually lying on the muddy river bank watching the world go by. Others were swimming in the water, their enormous, strong bodies partially obscured by the river.
We also saw tons of birds. Before we got on the boat, we’d each been given a guide to the types of birds we might see during the cruise and every time I spotted a new species I eagerly looked it up.
One of the first birds we came across was the roseate spoonbill (above), a magnificent wading bird with white and hot pink feathers and a large spoon-like beak.
It was spectacular, and with its vivid, distinctive plumage possibly my favourite of all the birds we saw.
I also spotted great egrets, a yellow-crowned night heron and a little blue heron, along with countless birds I couldn’t identify.
There were also iguanas roaming around the river banks, as well as cows, much to my amusement, who were hanging out beside the river (below), looking quite out of place among the crocodiles and the birds.
The river safari lasted around an hour and a half, and it was a fun, relaxing way to see more of Costa Rica’s amazing wildlife.
I got a little carried away taking photos of the fantastic species I saw, so here are some more photos, starting with this elegant great egret.
I think this is a heron of some description, but I haven’t been able to identify it. If you know what it is, let me know.
A bare-throated tiger heron makes its way across the grass on the banks of the river.