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Journey 5: Boca de San Carlos-Sarapiqui

Department: Rio San Juan

Municipality: El Castillo

Type: Kayaking

Distance: 42 km
Duration: 9 hours



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Similarly spectacular scenery can be expected on this trip, with the Indio Maiz boasting its natural beauty along the way. At several sections there is forest on both sides, increasing the chance of seeing birds like macaws and toucans fly over. There are also again tributary rivers that can be explored if time allows so.

In this area there are more sandbanks, which imply two things. First of all, it will be possible to actually get stuck with the kayak in the sand, so make sure to follow the guide's instructions regarding which side of the river to paddle. Secondly, there will be more chance to see the big crocodiles from close by, sunbathing in the sand.

Crocodiles and alligators can be found throughout the San Juan river, but more upstream only small ones are found. The closer to the sea, the larger the animals get. Crocodiles measuring more than 5 meters in length have been reported here! In general the crocodiles do not actively attack humans or kayaks, but it is never recommended to get near these impressive animals. Furthermore, crocodiles are protective parents so if they have babies they can be very dangerous, and there would be even more reason to stay at a safe distance.

Sarapiqui is a very small town at the end of the Costa Rican Sarapiqui River. This town is again located on Costa Rican side, and there is a police post where paddlers should report themselves. There is also one simple hotel, right before the Sarapiqui River ends in the San Juan River.

Other Journeys

This activity is one of the many kayak journeys that can be undertaken in the San Juan River. It could be a great daytrip, or this could be part of a multiday journey. To learn more about the kayak journeys at the San Juan River, use the menu to the right.

You can read more about kayak options at the San Juan River here.