Crocodiles and Caimans in Costa Rica

The Monsters of the Rich Coast

Free Travel Guide

Crocodiles in Costa Rica

Costa Rica, being a land of biodiversity, also has Crocodiles and Caimans. You may not love these fascinating monsters, but you have to admit they are kinda cool. With the average crocodiles in Costa Rica reaching sizes of 16 feet long that is nothing to laugh at. Whereas the average size of a Caiman is 4-8 feet long although you still have to be extremely careful around them. They can bite a few digits off if you’re not careful.  

Where to see Crocodiles and Caimans in Costa Rica?

The best spot in all Costa Rica to see Crocodiles is at the Tarcoles River Bridge. There you don’t just see a few Crocodiles it’s more like you see hundreds of them. Tarcoles is located towards Jaco on the Central Pacific side of Costa Rica. It isn’t a beautiful river but certainly is amazing to see the monsters below.  Due to their tolerance of Saltwater Crocodiles are versatile for where they can live. They reside in rivers, swamps, lagoons, small islands, and have been known to come up onto the beach every now and again. 

Caimans are a little more picky about where they live. But some of the most popular spots to see these guys are in the Canals of Costa Rica. Tortuguero is one of the most popular points to see them, they thrive within the Canal waters edge. Also, you can travel down towards the Sierpe Wetlands, where they thrive in the wetlands and canals. 

The two species don’t really like to mix and mingle but are rather very territorial of one another. So where you see Crocodiles you generally won’t see Caimans. The map below demonstrates only a few popular places to see Crocs and Caimans. 

[amcharts id=”Crocodiles and Caimans”]


Costa Rica Crocodiles

Costa Rica Crocodiles

The American or Costa Rican Crocodile is large in every way, normal they aren’t very active bathing in the sun all day. When it comes to feeding time you can see a 1000 pound mammoth move pretty fast. 

Size: 13-16 feet longRed List Vulnerable

Weight: 800-1200lbs

Caiman of Costa Rica

Costa Rica Caimans

Caimans are smaller than Crocodile but can still grow a fair size. You won’t see many large ones in the canals but more than likely see the mid-size caimans and their offspring sitting around the mother. Red List Least Concern

Size: 4-8 feet long

Weight: 100-300lbs

Safety and Precautions

So because they are rather dangerous you do have to take some strong precautions when visiting Costa Rica Crocodiles and Caimans. 

Keep your hands inside at all times, if you have ever been to Disney land than you know that saying, well it is very true. Crocodiles and Caimans are normally frightened off from boats but they do occasionally stick around. And even more rarely have there been accidents involving hands. 

Do not feed the Animals, it’s enough to say keep your hands away but don’t be stupid and actually try to feed such animals. That is when accidents happen. 

Always use a guide, if you do want to see these amazing animals than it is best to use a guide. They can give you proper direction to remain safe and actually see these cool creatures. We can help with that!

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