Guide to Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica


On Costa Rica’s northern Caribbean coast, more than 245 kilometers from San Jose’s capital, lies the quaint and isolated fishing village of Tortuguero.

Away from the mainland, life here has been adapted in a peaceful way. With a local population of only 2000 people, there are no external influences and the main way into the city is through a complex network of waterways. These waterways serve as the lifeline of the community, supplying goods and goods to villagers and tourists alike.

The region’s very high rainfall (6 feet per year) and high humidity make Tortuguero one of the most biologically rich places in all of Costa Rica. The national park boasts more than 300 species of birds and 60 species of mammals, including the rare and rare jaguar. Because of this rich biodiversity, many refer to Tortuguero as “the Amazon of Costa Rica.”

Unlike other parks in Costa Rica, sneaking through jungle trails can actually get in the way. Instead, one of the best ways to observe wildlife is to hit the waterways.

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Visit Tortuguero National Park

History of Tortuguero

Tortuguero Village
Tortuguero Village

The town of Tortuguero is thought to have been founded by a Colombian family in 1930, almost 100 years ago. Before long, the area fell victim to deforestation and exploitation.

A few decades ago, tortuguero was rampant with poachers and hunters. Locals will collect valuable bounty turtle eggs, as well as bushmeat, the meat of wild animals found in the surrounding jungle. Many people think that sea turtle eggs are an aphrodisiac, but this is just a myth.

Tortuguero Village Costa Rica

Roughly translated as “catching turtles” in Spanish, locals coined the term Tortuguero after seeing the huge numbers of sea turtles nesting here on the beaches. By the 1950s, local settlers had nearly exhausted their natural resources and the tortoise species was nearly extinct.

After dedicated research and conservation by University of Florida scholar Dr. Archie Carr, Tortuguero was designated a Turtle Nest Sanctuary in 1963. A few years later, in 1970, the area was named a national park. The park itself now spans over 46,000 acres, which includes a variety of habitats including mangrove forests, beaches, lowland rainforests, freshwater rivers, and coastal systems.

Tortuguero Travel Forum

Sea Turtle Watching

Tortuguero Conservation Center

Without a doubt, one of the area’s main attractions is the sea turtles. On the shores of Tortuguero, visitors can spot four of the seven sea turtles found in the world’s oceans: green sea turtles, Leatherback’s, Hawksbill turtles and occasionally Loggerhead turtles.

The best time to see these marine reptile flocks is from July to October, with August being the best month. Sea turtle sightings are a must on your list of things to do in Tortuguero, as all types of turtles are still considered endangered.

Tortuguero, Costa Rica

To fully understand sea turtles, visit the Caribbean Conservation Center (CCC). For a $1 entrance fee, researchers and volunteers share interesting information about sea turtles around Tortuguero.

inspection: Tortuguero’s Turtle Nest Sightseeing Tour

river tour

River Tours in Costa Rica with Tortuguero

The best way to truly appreciate Tortuguero’s pristine beauty is to visit the many freshwater canals and tributaries that run around Tortuguero. Many species of Tortuguero have adapted to river life. The most common animals are caiman, turtles, herons, and monkeys.

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