Splette's Travel Blog


Hmm, I wonder what this cute sign means...

Cute warning sign

During my short beach trip to Samara in Guanecaste (on the Costa Rican Pacific coast) with Gabriel and his friend Steven we came across this cute self-made warning sign. It was near a bridge across a small creek leading into the ocean, just about 100 or 200 meters away from the main beach where people (including us the next day) went swimming. Could it be that crocodiles inhabit this creek so close to the beach and with plenty of cars passing by? I presumed they might prefer a more quiet habitat. In all that time I had spent in Costa Rica I never saw a crocodile, although I heard stories. I was wondering if the warning sign was put there just in case but the last actual sighting of a crocodile was perhaps years ago.

Fishing for wild crocodiles

Fishing for wild crocodiles

We tried to catch a glimpse of a crocodile by peeking through the branches from different angles. But the water was dark and absolute quiet. No movement was to be seen in the water or the thick bushes on both sides. As I wandered around I noticed a long stick with a thin rope and a noose at the end. It was just a few meters from the bridge, hanging in one of the bushes. Someone seemed to have placed it there on purpose. It almost looked like a fishing rod. That gave me some idea… Why not put a stone in the noose and lower it from the top of the bridge to make a few splashes in the water. Perhaps this might get some attention? The instant I let the stone on the rope splash into the water the large head of a crocodile surfaced right below me. Wow, I didn’t expect that. It must have been waiting there at the bottom of the creek all along. Although I love reptiles, to be surprised by a grown up crocodile in the wild, just two meters below me had a rather chilling effect. Others seem to care less. I made a few more splashes until the stone fell off but the animal wasn’t fooled by it any longer and would not show up again.

Crocodile bait: salchicha (sausage)

Crocodile bait

We decided to come back again the next day. This time with some meat we found plundering Steven’s parents fridge: some old salchichas (sausages) and mortadella. The ‘fishing rod’ was still there in one of the bushes next to the river. But the water was mostly covered by some bright stuff that day. Soon it started raining as well. Here’s a pro tip in case you want to try this at home: Crocodiles don’t seem to like mortadella that much. It was mostly ignored but the expired sausages really got its attention. Gabriel was teasing the crocodile while I was filming. Words hardly capture the experience, so here is the video:

Oh, by the way, we were told this was a fresh water crocodile and doesn’t usually leave the creek for the ocean to hunt for tourists taking a swim.

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