Tortuguero National Park
Tortuguero National Park at a Glance
Ideal time to visit:
- Year-round, peak months are February to April & July to October
- Sea Turtles’ Tours
- Bird & Wildlife Watching–Canal Tours
- Canopy Tours
- Tarpon / Sport Fishing
- Barra del Colorado Wildlife Refuge
- Cariari National Wetlands
- Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC)
A true wonder for wildlife enthusiasts: in addition to stunning, 22 miles-long-turtle-nesting beach, abundant greenery covers thousands of calm, river canals, bursting with wildlife.
Keyword: Green Sea Turtles, Hawksbill Turtles, Leatherback Turtles
Landscape: Tropical lowland wet forest (rainforest), Beach, Mangroves, River Canals, Swamp
Region: North Caribbean
Closest Town: Tortuguero village is bordering the park entrance
Altitude: Sea Level to 330 ft (100m)
Closest Airports: San Jose (SJO) and Tortuguero Airport
Average Temperature: 71° – 87° F (22° – 30° C)
Located in the northeastern region of Costa Rica, Tortuguero National Park is the third most popular park in the country. This park is part of the larger Tortuguero Conservation Area whose aim is to protect endangered species in the region. With more than five different habitats, the park is one of the richest biological destinations in the country and is famous for being the nesting ground for several species of endangered turtles including the Green Sea Turtle and the Leatherback.
Entrance to the park is in the village of Tortuguero from which visitors can decide whether they want to try the water or hiking routes. When visiting by water, people can see manatees, caimans, crocodiles and Tropical Gar. People on the hiking paths can see monkeys, peacocks, toucans, sloths and jaguars.
Turtles are of course the most popular attraction and hundreds of visitors arrive each year hoping to see the newborns hatch from their eggs and go on their first swim. Guided tours are suggested in order to help the birth process remain undisturbed.
Best Time to Visit
Year-round, as nesting season for Green Sea and Hawks Bill turtle’s are during the rainy season: July to October (peak is in August), and for Leatherback turtles peak months are February to April. And no worries, it is possible to see individual turtles at any time of the year.
Services & Infrastructure
Public transportation: No, rivers are roads around here; for traveling around Tortuguero area, rent taxi boats.
Public restrooms: No
Shopping: There are few basic grocery shops and several art & craft stores with great chioce of souvenirs. Bring mosquito repellent. & sunscreen with you, it can be quite pricey in the village.
ATMs: No, but local grocery shop will allow you getting some cash back from a debi card for a small fee
Gas stations: No, none needed
Cell Phone Reception: Poor
Restaurants: Quite a few charming, family operated restaurants offering Caribbean food.
Nearest medical facilities: The only major hospital on the Caribbean coast is the Tony Facio Hospital ( 2758-2222) in Limón. There is a smaller clinic in Moin.
How To Get There
There are several options for traveling to Tortuguero for San Jose, but driving is not one of them. The fastest way of getting to Tortuguero is flying with commuter airline (40 min) to an aristrip bordering the park. Both of Costa Rica’s domestic airlines, Nature Air and Sansa, have daily flights to Tortuguero. Buget travelers can take combination of buses to Guapiles-Carriari-La Pavona (total of $4) and a shared boat ride ($3) through river canals. Other option is taking shuttle bus service organised by all-inclusive lodges in Tortugero, followed by 1 hour boat ride.