A caiman remains still to try to avoid detection.

Kayaking With Crocodiles in Costa Rica

National Parks
by Joshywashington Oct 9, 2012

In a Costa Rican national park only accessible by boat, Joshywashington kayaks among the critters.

I join a small group of kayakers to glide through the all but still waters of Tortuguero. All photos: Author

TO GET TO Tortuguero National Park, you drive to the end of a dirt road in Limon Province and take to the murky, brown water. You don’t stumble across this place on the way to somewhere else. You seek it out. You have to want to be here.

To want to be in Tortuguero is to know what makes this northeastern sliver of Costa Rica special: biodiversity on par with the Amazon. Canopy layers laden with butterflies and sunshine. Shallow, tannic waters almost concealing crocodiles.

Within the park, 11 different habitats conspire to create the awesome flora and fauna that draw travelers like me (Tortuguero is the 3rd most visited park in Costa Rica). Hawksbill, green, leatherback, and loggerhead sea turtles, all endangered, nest in and around Tortuguero, making the park a vital sanctuary for these aquatic reptiles.

In this video, shot during two hours of kayaking the park’s network of freshwater canals, you will see crocodiles, caimans, iguanas, basilisks, and spider and howler monkeys. This wildlife was literally at arm’s reach from my tiny boat, creating a completely immersive nature experience.

[Editor’s note: Josh was a guest of Visit Costa Rica.]

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