Will you visit Puerto Jiménez (Costa Rica) and would you like to see dolphins and crocodiles in kayak?
I’ll tell you about this kayak adventure, where to rent it, and how to get there and what to do in Puerto Jiménez.
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Kayaking around Puerto Jiménez
If you are planning a trip to Costa Rica (👉COSTA RICA GUIDE), you should know that it is a country characterized by the beauty of its beaches, mountains, volcanoes and the diversity of its wildlife.
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Today I will tell you about one of the excursions that I liked the most in Puerto Jimenez (a mini city that I loved in general, so it’s hard to choose!).
That day I got together with two Germans to go explore the lagoon that is next to the main beach. We planned a kayak excursion to go see the crocodiles and, on the way back, watch the sunset and the dolphins.
Where to Rent the Kayaks
Finding kayaks to rent is very simple, all you have to do is go to the main beach of Puerto Jiménez, where the pier is located.
On the promenade that follows the coast, you will see different restaurants and shops where you can rent kayaks. I seem to remember that they were about $6 an hour, both singles and doubles.
Where to spot crocodiles and dolphins by kayak
1. From the pier, you can row to the lagoon; but you must be extremely quiet, otherwise the crocodiles will hide.
In our case we didn’t manage to see any, but the guide we ran into told us that they hadn’t had any luck either. If that is also your case, don’t worry because there is a place nearby where you will surely see crocodiles.
I want to make a little clarification for people who are not very athletic: I don’t have muscles in my arms and I survived, so don’t be afraid.
2. The best option is to kayak to the area you can see in the photo above. It’s an easy-to-identify sand ledge.
There you can leave the kayaks and, if you walk two meters, you will find a very long and wild beach. That particular day it looked really pretty because there was a rainbow.
It is a good place to rest quietly and try to find some coconut; Even though you don’t have a machete, there are very easy ways to open them with your hands.
3. On the way back you should pay close attention, because when you reach the open sea again you will run into dolphins, they are incredible and they come quite close to the shore.
Depending on the season they are easier to spot, but surely you will be able to see some, and also with the colors of the sunset in the sky!
This excursion is also offered as a tour, but I find it more fun to do it on your own since you can decide how long you stay on the beach or wandering around the lagoon.
How to get to Puerto Jiménez
I’ll show you how to get to Puerto Jiménez from two common starting points: San Jose and Drake Bay.
I’ll give you a brief summary of the journey below, but if you want to read about the trip in more detail, I’ll also explain how to get to Puerto Jiménez from San Jose and Drake Bay.
How to get to Puerto Jiménez from San José
You have three ways to go to Puerto Jiménez: by transfer (👉price), bus and car.
Hiring a shuttle (👉price) is the fastest and most comfortable way to make the journey (you will arrive in about 5h 30min or 6h). It’s also safer, because you won’t have to go up and down with your bags.
If you want to go by bus, I recommend you leave early, since the journey is long and it is always better to arrive day and with enough time to find the hotel. The ticket price is 8,265 CRC.
The last option is to go in car. Puerto Jiménez is located at a distance of 374 km from San José, and it will take about 5h 30min or 6h to reach your destination. The path is pretty clear and you shouldn’t have any problems.
How to get to Puerto Jiménez from Drake Bay
To get there from Drake Bay you can decide between going in transfer (👉 price), bus and car.
If you’re looking for comfort, arranging a shuttle is the best option in this case. You’ll be picked up directly from your hotel and taken to your new accommodation in Puerto Jiménez.
The second option is to go by colectivo and then change at La Palma to catch the bus that will take you to Puerto Jimenez. The entire journey will cost around 5,000 CRC.
If you decide to go by car, you have to know that the road is not in the best conditions and you will have to cross 4 rivers.
You should contact the hotel beforehand, so they can tell you what the conditions are (they get worse in the rainy season) and advise you (it is recommended to make the journey in a 4×4 off-road vehicle).
Useful stuff for your trip to Costa Rica
Below, you will find some products that will be very useful during your trip to Costa Rica.
In addition, the options that I recommend are committed to the environment/social causes and are vegan.
Carrying a waterproof windbreaker in your suitcase is essential in case temperatures drop, it rains unexpectedly, or to go hiking.
When traveling, it’s important to choose a jacket that is lightweight, takes up little space and that you can use in different situations; that is to say, that transpires, is waterproof and has a hood to protect you properly from bad weather.
Gopro 11 Black
The GOPRO 11 (👉 PRICE) is a great choice if you are visiting natural areas, practicing adventure sports or want to make videos underwater, e.g. while scuba diving or snorkeling.
In addition, with its stabilization and Horizon Lock function, it will allow you to make incredibly stable videos even in adverse situations (such as walking, running or riding a motorcycle). In addition, it comes with an amazing 5.3k image quality.
👉 GOPRO 11 PRICE + specs
3-in-1 hiking shoes
These La Sportiva shoes are designed to run in the mountains, thanks to this you can use them for hiking, go out to run and do tourism ; saving space in your suitcase.
They are made with goretex, which means they protect you from the inclement weather weather (such as rain, ice or cold) and are adherent to the ground. This makes them ideal for traveling due to their versatility.
Where to stay in Puerto Jiménez
There are two areas that I recommend to stay in Puerto Jiménez, depending on whether you are looking for something calmer or to have more facilities.
First there is the most central area (that of the town itself), here you will have several restaurants and a large supermarket. Within the town, the best area to stay is next to the beach, since the views are more beautiful and there is more atmosphere. The only drawback I see is that it is a bit far from the main supermarket.
High budget: BOTANIKA OSA
If you are looking for something further from the downtown area to be able to enjoy the beach and relax, I recommend that you stay at Preciosa beach. It is a beach not far from the center of Puerto Jiménez (you can get there by bike) and the beach is long and quiet. You can spend the afternoon on a sun lounger and enjoy nature.
High budget: IGUANA LODGE
Quiet and a bit far away
There are also quite a few lodgings in Cabo Matapalo; although they are far from the center of Puerto Jiménez. The advantage of staying here is that the beaches are very beautiful, you will be in the middle of the jungle and you can visit the waterfalls!
There are very nice hotels next to the beach, and they will be perfect to unwind for a few days. You can get to Cabo Matapalo by private transport or by bus.
Tours in Puerto Jiménez
Puerto Jiménez is a region abundant in wildlife and nature, boasting opportunities for visiting pristine beaches, snorkeling, birdwatching, crocodile viewing, kayaking, and more.
There are different TOURS and ACTIVITIES that you can do during your trip, so you can make the most of your stay:
What to do in Puerto Jimenez
Puerto Jiménez is not one of the main tourist places in the country, and most people who end up here are aiming to visit the Corcovado National Park.
It is a great idea to spend a few extra days in this corner of Costa Rica, since it has beautiful places that are worth visiting. For me, it was one of the best stops on the route.
BEACH + PUERTO JIMÉNEZ VIEWPOINT
It is a pleasant place because of the atmosphere. The main area of Puerto Jiménez is made up of a street with some restaurants and a viewpoint next to it from the sea.
At the end of it all is a beach where people hang out. The water is very calm and the beach at high tide almost disappears, leaving a path full of palm trees with people sitting having a coconut or a beer.
On the beach itself there is a restaurant in particular that always plays loud music, and it is very fun to buy a coconut, sit on the sand and listen to the music while surrounded by families who go there to spend the afternoon.
Although there are restaurants, this place is not non-touristy or cramped, and you can eat something and enjoy the views of the bay.
Playa Preciosa (Beach)
Playa Preciosa is a very long beach that is quite close to the center of Puerto Jiménez and It has some accommodations.
This is a wild beach with an area of palapas and the sea is suitable for taking a dip. The landscape is very natural, and it is a quiet place away from the crowds.
It’s a good option for a half-day excursion, but take sunscreen because there’s not much shade on this beach!
This is a park next to the lagoon where wild crocodiles quietly inhabit. But without bars or any kind of protection, they run around freely while people stroll or sit quietly on a bench.
You will also be able to observe other animals such as monkeys and different types of birds. I recommend that you go as it is a fun place and in the heart of Puerto Jiménez.
To complete the experience to this crocodile park, the entrance is half hidden between bushes and makes it a book adventure.
Playa Blanca is located in the part of above Golfo Dulce and its waters are very calm, as if it were a lake; although the beach itself is not particularly pretty.
People usually get together to ride to have lunch on the beach and swim for a while and, in addition, you can snorkel. I spent the afternoon there and was able to see two rays, puffer fish, a giant tortoise and a dolphin from afar.
For me it was one of the best excursions I did in Puerto Jiménez, due to the authenticity of the place and the huge turtle I managed to see.
Playa Sándalo is another place to snorkel in Puerto Jimenez. Not far from the coast there is a reef with different types of fish and the water is not too deep.
Unlike Playa Blanca, Sándalo is much quieter and more relaxed, as the beach is quite muddy and not comfortable to walk on.
These two beaches are very close to each other, and can easily be visited in the same day using public transport.
Is Costa Rica SAFE to Travel?
Costa Rica is a moderately dangerous country, where nothing should happen to you if you go carefully and take precautions. Remember to follow these recommendations:
- In case of robbery, do not resist physically.
- Do not show a high purchasing power, that is, do not go with jewels, bags, etc … that are expensive.
- Be careful if you go out at night, and stay in crowded places where you are surrounded by other people.
- Thefts are usual, so don’t go with the camera or mobile in your hand or hang out of your neck.
- Try to avoid carrying the backpack on the back. Put it in front of you, or use a belt pouch or a cross bag.
Personally, I spent 3 months traveling alone in Costa Rica (I visited San José, Puerto Viejo, Tortuguero, Dominical, Uvita, Bay Drake and Puerto Jiménez) and I did not find myself in any really serious situation.
Going down the street with the camera, several Costa Rican people approached and warned me that they were carefully with robberies, since they told me that they are very frequent.
In my case, during the trip they tried to steal 2 times and, luckily, I realized on time and I could avoid it. In any case, it is always a good idea to have travel insurance (👉5% discount) that can compensate you financially and help you if a medical emergency occurs.
If you are interested in traveling alone, I recommend this article about the reasons and benefits of traveling alone and this other article with tips for traveling alone being a woman. I encourage you to try it since it is a great and very profitable experience for oneself.
Eating VEGAN in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is not a country faced with vegan food. Anyway, they have some traditional dishes that are vegan or that you can ask without egg or sauces such as the pico of rooster (rice with beans for breakfast), black bean soup or rice with vegetables.
You should always ask if the purés or soups are made with some type of dairy product or meat broth, since at first glance they might seem vegan dishes but not be.
In San José you can find some vegan restaurants, but when you leave the capital the offer is very limited or non -existent. Next, I make three recommendations and in this link you can read tips to travel vegan.
- Try to stay in hotels that are characterized by cooking vegan and vegetarian dishes. This is the best option and the most practical for not having to be looking for places where to eat comfortable without always repeating the same dishes.
- Before going on a tour that includes a meal, always mention that you are vegan or vegetarian, so that they can adapt the food.
- Costa Rica is a country where you can find a variety of fresh products (fruits and vegetables) to prepare salads and breakfast with fruits. In any city or town, you will easily find some supermarket or stalls on the street where you can buy groceries.
I hope you get to see lots of dolphins and crocodiles and have a great experience!