Ortega village in northern Costa Rica has its own tantalising observance of Easter: chasing after crocodiles.

This year, the intrepid croc chase along the Palma River ended up in a deep cave, where the prey was cornered: a snarling, 5m female crocodile.

"After a two-hour struggle ... the animal was duly tied down ... A big tug on the rope and out the cave came a huge reptile, to the cheers and applause of the crowd," La Nacion daily reported.

The crocodile would be kept on public display in a village square until today, when it would be released unharmed back into the wild.