When the Grande and Virilla rivers join together, they become the Grande de Tárcoles River. The hydrographic basin of the Tárcoles River is one of the most important in Costa Rica. This is because its headwaters are located in the Western Central Valley and feed the sector with water and drain its waters loaded with all kinds of waste. The confluence of the Grande River comes to alleviate the contamination of the river system. This has an alarming agent in the lower basin that is constituted by the crocodiles that inhabit it and are a tourist attraction on the bridge of the southern waterfront.
How to get to the bridge over the Tárcoles River?
The bridge over the Tárcoles River is located on highway 34 and is on the way between the capital San José and the Pacific coast (Quepos and Manuel Antonio). It is about 20 minutes from the town of Jaco and just over an hour from San Jose.
The panoramic view from the bridge over the Tárcoles River
This is the panoramic view from the top of the Tárcoles bridge, looking towards the mouth of the river, which is not far away and is one of the most beautiful places to appreciate the sunset in a boat and at the same time enjoy a spectacle of birds in all directions. From the Tárcoles bridge you can also see the crocodiles and the economic activity of the area.
If we look to the other side of the bridge (to the west) we will have the Carara National Park on the right. There are also crocodiles if we look down, but a small branch is enough to camouflage them naturally.
Economic Importance of the River
Most of its course is the boundary between the provinces of Alajuela and San Jose. The Cucer, Carrara and Tumbales rivers are its main tributaries. It irrigates an agricultural region, dedicated to the cultivation of sugar cane, coffee, bananas and cattle raising. It collects all the waters of the Metropolitan Area, where the sewage is discharged, making it the most polluted basin in the country. The rivers of this basin were the first to be used in the country for the construction of hydroelectric dams; some of them are: La Garita on the Grande Poás River, Electriona and Belén on the Virilla, among others.
What to do at Tárcoles Bridge?
Besides seeing the crocodiles from the bridge or taking a tour, you can also explore the Carara Biological Reserve. Carara is the ideal place for birdwatchers. You will be able to admire a great variety of different species. For example, some of the different species of toucans, American Heron, moorhens, and more. Of course, this is a great place for hiking and discovering the monuments of a jungle. The park is very popular due to its proximity to San Jose and tours in the morning or day trips are recommended.
See the crocodiles of the Tárcoles Bridge?
Admiring the crocodiles from the bridge is nice, but if you want to get a little more adrenaline, you could take a boat ride. The best tour operator for this is Mangrove Birding Journeys. Watching the animals in their natural habitat is the best thing to do for a day.