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Best Jaco Costa Rica Crocodile Tour

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All of the info on crocodile tours near the Tárcoles River in Costa Rica- including the best info for parents wanting to take their children.

About Crocodile Tours In Costa Rica

Jaco beach is an extremely popular tourist destination in Costa Rica given its beach location on the Central Pacific side of the coast, and because it’s only about an hour from San Jose and the Juan Santamaria Airport.

In order to get to Jaco from the north, you’ll need to cross the Tarcoles River (also known as the crocodile river). There is a big bridge to cross, and for some reason, there have always been crocodiles that like to sun right next to the bridge.

This means people will stop and gawk at the crocs on their way to or from the beach. It’s a fun stop, but you don’t really get to see the cross up close in their natural habitat, you need a tour guide for that.

In recent years, several tour guides have popped up in the nearby town of Tarcoles, offering boat tours that allow visitors to see American crocodiles of all sizes up close.

We recently visited the Crocodil Man tours in Tarcoles to check out the area and to try the tour, and we loved it. Here’s all the info you need to choose a tour guide to see the crocodiles.

About the Crocodile Man Tours

While there are several tour guides in Tarcoles, I reached out to the Crocilide Man tours because the owner, Diego, is a native of Tarcoles and both knows the area and is Costa Rica. We support Costa Rican businesses first as much as possible.

We arrived at the main office in the small town of Tarcoles and were checked in by Diego’s wife. His kids were in the next room playing, and I just loved the family vibe of the entire process.

We then arrived at the dock where there was plenty of water, clean bathrooms, and our guides were waiting. There is normally a restaurant working, but due to the pandemic they weren’t operating when we went (July 2021).

We met our guides who gave us information about the crocodile river tour, the crocodiles themselves (complete with names!) and let my girls answer endless questions about crocodile teeth.

We then headed to the boat which was so clean and safe with all the life jackets we needed. The dock was wheelchair accessible and our guide and drivers were incredible.

We headed out to see the crocodiles first, we could see them right up close and they would open their mouths for us to see their teeth. The crocodiles were pretty laissez-faire about the whole thing- several boats come through each day- but it was amazing to see them up close.

A note- every kid on the boat was a bit nervous around the crocs- they are probably the smartest ones on the boat. One mom asked her son to turn around for a photo in front of the croc and he wouldn’t do it. So just talk to your kids before you go so they are prepared.

After we saw the crocs, we headed into the mangrove forest to see exotic birds and plant species, and we arrived almost to the beach as Los Suenos.

We finished the tour, tipped the guides and talked about it the rest of our vacation!

Note: Cost is $30 per person and Diego offers other tours such as horseback riding, fishing, bird watching, Tortuga Island and more.

How To Choose A Guide

When choosing a guide in Costa Rica you want to make sure of the following:

The company is insured and bonded. This is especially important when you are getting on a boat to look at wild animals (just sayin’).

The guides speak the language you need

The boat is safe and there are the right amount of life jackets on board

You feel comfortable when you arrive and meet the people in charge.

I cannot stress enough the importance of following your gut- if you arrive and you don’t feel comfortable, leave.

It is customary to pay for the tours in cash when you arrive as well, so if you don’t like it, you are just out time and not money.

Animal Protection on Jaco Crocodile Tours

During the tour, our driver got out of the boat and fed the crocodiles raw meat so we could see them eat and snap their teeth. It was so fun.

But- I had some concerns about animal domestication.

When we talked to the guide he explained that crocs eat between 10-25 pounds of food a day, and so 1/2 lb fresh meat was more of a snack than a meal for the crocs so they won’t get used to waiting for the food. That made me feel better.

If you have concerns in this area, make sure to touch base with your tour guide for more information.

Book Your Tour Now

If you’d like to book with the Crocodile Man tours, just send me a what’s app? at 970.214.1071 or an email at christa @ puravidamoms . com (no spaces) and I’ll get you hooked up with the best price!

About the Author

Christa profile image

Hi- I’m Christa! I fell in love with Latin America in my 20s, and I’m still head over heels! Here at Pura Vida Moms I celebrate what it means to be bicultural- Costa Rican recipes, bilingual parenting and family travel.

Follow her at: Instagram / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest.

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Christa profile image

Hi- I’m Christa, and I’m on a mission to help the world fall in love with Costa Rica through food, language and travel. I’m a Latina mom, bicultural, bilingual (English/Spanish), and 100% in love with celebrating parenthood in all its forms, (even the sucky parts). I’m so happy you found the site- WELCOME! Find out more about me here.

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