Home family travel A visit to the (eek) World of Snakes in Grecia, central Costa Rica

A visit to the (eek) World of Snakes in Grecia, central Costa Rica

by Shelly Rivoli
Published: Last Updated on
costa rica with kids world of snakes
Enter if you dare.

While Costa Rica’s “World of Snakes” may not be for everyone, anyone driving from San Jose or Alajuela north with a snake-lover or wildlife enthusiast in the car should consider paying a call to the outdoor serpentarium at Grecia, Costa Rica.

With some 57 large terrariums housing mostly legless reptiles, the World of Snakes literally showcases most of Costa Rica’s snakes (noted as such with stars on your exhibition list), including its native eyelash vipers, boas, fer de lance, and many others. They also have many intriguing snake species from around the world as well as some other cold-blooded creatures that may catch your fancy. We were tickled to see a green basilic, also known as the “Jesus Christ Water-Walking Lizard,” who was much larger than we’d imagined, however we did not get to see him walk on water.
Our guide, Gregory, showed us the way from golden anacondas at the entrance to a 20-year happily mated pair of Eastern Diamond back rattlers (many offspring), by way of beauty snakes, rat snakes, reticulated pythons, a copperhead, green vine snakes, bushmasters, milk snakes, and more.
The yellow eyelash viper. Check!
 Not being much of a snake enthusiast myself (you could say I am more enthusiastic about not seeing snakes), I had much to learn about these creepy crawlers during our visit, and I did. In this next photo, Gregory lets us see and touch (eek!) the harmless “false coral snake,” which I can now tell apart from the true coral snake, who watched through his window beside us–though I hope I never have to.
A false coral snake. We hope.
 With dozens of venomous snakes on display (noted in bold on your exhibition list), including the Gabun viper which is nicknamed “7 steps” for the approximate number you’ll be able to take toward help if bitten, it did give me pause to consider the care and feeding of such creatures. After a quick analysis of the basic terrarium before us, I asked Gregory how they get the food to the snakes–and, you know, clean out the cages. Sure enough, most are opened from the front. Yep, that big glass door you see in front of you. Good thing these people are experts.
We’ll just call him, “Longfellow.”
Nevertheless, I admit I had plenty of “Where on earth have I brought my children?” moments as I looked twice around corners and under cages and continued to try to carry my toddler through in my arms, much to his frustration. Gregory, as if he’d read my mind, eventually told me not to worry. The first thing they do when arriving to work each morning is to check each and every single cage and make sure nobody is missing.
Red-tailed boas explore their terrarium.
I smiled and tried in earnest to remember how to blink for a moment. “You mean the snakes?”
While my eldest daughter could have spent the entire afternoon at the World of Snakes, an hour and fifteen minutes allowed for what the rest of our family felt was a thorough visit. If you make it there, I highly recommend enlisting the help of an on-site guide to give you the tour (included with the price of your ticket). As with all of your Costa Rican guides, please do be sure to tip.

For more help planning your visit, stop by the World of Snakes website.

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Safe journeys,
Shelly Rivoli
Author of the award-winning Travels with Baby guidebooks

All content of this blog (c) Shelly Rivoli 2007 – 2011

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