Alright!  Costa Rica!  Let’s do this!  I took over 2100 photos on our trip south, and I’m so excited to share some with you.

Some adventures are premeditated, and some simply.. happen.  We planned to drive through Tarcoles to visit the famous crocodile bridge, but we hadn’t anticipated being swept into a boat tour by a very convincing salesman.  Oftentimes, these turn out to be scams, overpriced and/or overpromising.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

First, he pulled us in with a parking spot.  He then promised we’d get a better view of the crocodiles from a path next to the property than from atop the bridge – at no cost (it actually was a good vantage).  Then, he told us we could get closer to even bigger crocs on their tour.  And he’d even give us the local price of $30pp (instead of $40).

Despite the warning bells, we thought, why not?

The reality: this one was worth every colón (even if the local price is actually $20 – we’ll never know).

The boat was covered, so we were sheltered from the sun, and the tour lasted about an hour.  True to their word, we saw enormous crocodiles.. and baby crocodiles.  We saw tiger herons and boat-billed herons and blue herons and green herons – so many herons!  So much wildlife!

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

Anyone else think it looks like this roseate spoonbill is putting on a show for a panel of judges?

And then our crazy captain….

Evidently, he’s friends with the locals – good friends.

With our first croc, our guide asked, “How close do you think we can get to that crocodile?”  We figured we’d have to keep a respectable distance, but nope!  They took the boat right up to and practically on top of this beast.

“Who wants to pet him?”  Umm….

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

One daring soul volunteered, and the croc just lay there, not giving a care in the world.  This arose suspicions that the thing wasn’t even real – until it started to move – eliciting shrieks from the more skittish of the passengers.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

Once I had witnessed enough hands return to the boat unharmed, I got in line.  No way would I pass up this opportunity!

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

But that wasn’t enough.  Our captain then hopped out of the boat and splashed a rag at the surface until the croc shined his pearly whites.  But that still wasn’t enough!  He proceeded to reach into the water and pull the reptile’s chin right up to his own.

Anyone care for a kiss with a crocodile?

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

¡Loco!

The rest of the tour wasn’t quite so eventful, but it sure was beautiful.  All the way down to the Mangrove Forest, and back, I got lots of use out of my big lens.  We even caught a glimpse of a pair of brightly-colored scarlet macaws (apparently these are rare in that area).

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

It certainly was an adventure and far more than we bargained for.  It ended up being one of the highlights of the trip!

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

It just goes to show that you can’t always plan the best parts of your vacation; sometimes they seek you out.


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