Tortuguero is a little village on the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica. It is located on the endless system of rivers and canals and the most biologically diverse region of Country and sits about 70 miles north of Puerto Limon, the capital of the Limon province. Tortuguero means “Region of Turtles”. The beach here is the main nesting place of the endangered Green Turtle in the western Hemisphere. Their population came dangerously close to disappearance in the 1960′s. To save and provide a protected place this endanger specie, the Costa Rican government established Tortuguero National Park in the 1970, limiting development along the coast. This park consists of 46,000 acres and covered 22 miles of shoreline for nesting. Hawksbill, Giant Leatherback, and Loggerhead Turtles also lay their eggs here. Over 300 species of birds live in Tortuguero together with hundreds of species of reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. While visiting by boat all along the canals and waterways during the adventure, visitors will certainly spot a variety of these many animal species without even leaving the boat. This region is Warm and humid and receives over 200 inches of rainfall annually. It also carries a vast number of plant and animal species which are the highest in Tortuguero area among Costa Rica, it is considered a nature lovers’ paradise and appreciated by all tourists and those who live here.
There are no roads leading to Tortuguero, to reach the Tortuguero you have to either use a plane or a boat. It is around three and half hour boat trip from Puerto Limon. It is a fantastic trip; the travelers can spot several kinds of birds flying over in these lowlands. There are absolutely no human settlements.
Tortuguero and its surrounding areas is an astonishing region and it gets the heaviest rainfall. The continuation of corresponding coastal banks has increases the structure of lakes, channels and marshes that are home to lots of fishes and aquatic life. However, the turtles are the main attraction. Peak turtle nesting season is from July through August.
There is not much to see in this town besides a visitor center and museum, there is abundance of activities that one can enjoy while here including hiking and canoeing. There is an energetic community in Costa Rica, that helps save the endangered species of turtles, where visitors can take tours and observe the turtles nesting.
Tortuguero is a calm destination; it has several hotels, lodges, and cabanas that provide lodging at a suitable budget on top of those who have plenty of cash to spare. Several numbers of guides and tourist are operating in the town. You must make a reservation in advance to avoid any problems. During the summer lots of visitors come to Tortuguero, Costa Rica.
Pachira Lodge – Tortuguero
Pachira Lodge is located in Tortuguero. This Lodge is strategically located only 5 minutes away from the amazing Tortuguero National Park, and right across the main “canal” facing the town of Tortuguero. Engulf by a network of scenic canals and this is believed to be one of the most unusual regions of the world, described by its wealthy in flora and fauna. Pachira Lodge is a great option for your Tortuguero hotel.
Laguna Lodge Tortuguero – Tortuguero
Laguna Lodge is a rain forest ecotourism lodge, a leader among this tropical country’s hotels and resorts with an extra touch in style, comfort and personalized service.
It lies along Costa Rica’s northern Caribbean Zone, an exclusive location on a narrow strip of land between the sea on one side and the Tortuguero-Lagoon on the other.
This Region is the most important nesting site in the entire Western half of the Caribbean for the green sea turtle. Laguna Lodge offers 80 rooms divided in blocks of 4 or 6 rooms furnished with all the basic elements for a very comfortable stay. The restaurant is one of the most prestigious in the region. They offer a large bar over the lagoon, huts with hammocks. Laguna Lodge offers a 400 meter swimming pool, with hydro massage waterfall. Next to this is the swimming pool bar, which is decorated with exotic hardwoods. e have a fleet of nine boats, in order to provide safe transfers and to enjoy the tours to adjacent areas and within the Tortuguero National Park which is one of Costa Rica’s most important tourist attractions.
Mawamba Lodge – Tortuguero
Mawamba Lodge is located on 15 acres in the Northeast area of Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast between the Tortuguero Lagoon and the Caribbean Sea. It is the ideal hideaway for nature lovers and people seeking soft adventure. Its beautiful gardens and rustic accommodation blend in perfectly with the exuberant jungle vegetation, exotic birds and wildlife, creating a perfect balance of nature. The lodge features two family-style, open-air restaurants with delicious international and local cuisine, and a pool-bar surrounded by beautiful gardens, where you can enjoy tropical cocktails. The lodge has 54 comfortable rooms with private bathrooms, hot water and ceiling fans. Rooms have either three single beds or one double bed and one single bed. The hotel has the capacity to host up to 100 people.
Casa Marbella Bed and Breakfast – Tortuguero
Conveniently located in the center of Tortuguero village, it is located at a short walking distance from the national park trails, turtle nesting beach, the research station/museum and all the charming shops and restaurants in this unique corner of the country.
Relax on the dock on the river and enjoy watching the boats pass by or observe some of the amazing bird life.
If you are a little more adventurous, want to stay in a comfortable and very clean inn, experience local culture and food (supporting small local businesses) and be minutes away from some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities in Central America, this might just be the place for you.
Activities /Things to do in and around Tortuguero
There are no cars in Tortuguero so your options for some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities in the country will be on foot or from a quiet boat (four-stroke motor/electric motor or canoe).
Turtle Nesting Tour
Tortuguero, means as “land of turtles”. It is the most important site in the Caribbean for the nesting of the Green Sea Turtles. Having the opportunity to admire, on a tropical night sky on Costa Rica beach, one of these inspiring animals pull herself to the beach, hollow out a nest and lay the eggs, is absolutely an exceptional experience that can not be forgotten. The turtles are endangered animals, both by natural and human predators.
Female Green turtles have an average estimated weight of 300 lb (137 kg). They count with several versions that permit them to submerge to great depths and live underwater for long periods of time. They nest mostly at night, to avoid predators and the over heating of the sand at beach during the day.
Some studies show that nesting turtles are troubled by light. Thus, females nest on the darker areas of the beach. Guides use a red light flashlight, to which turtles are not sensitive. Due to this reason, the use of cameras, video cameras or similar of any kind, are prohibited during the tour. Turtle nesting season is usually July to October.
It is Caribbean version of the Amazon. The Tortuguero Canals are a widespread system of natural and man-made waterways used both for simple transport and jungle exploration. Traveling in the course of the canals is a charming experience rich in wildlife that includes monkeys, iguanas, and colorful tropical birds.
Reaching there is half the fun. You will scale through the green coffee plantations outside of San Jose and pass through the massive Braulio Carrillo National Park, before heading down to the lowlands of Limon, on the Caribbean coast. Here, the tropical forest finally gives way to small towns and banana plantations, offering a distinctive view of Costa Rica’s rural life.
Once you arrive at the Canals, the real fun starts. You will be board on a boat which will take you along the canals to a charming jungle lodge. The rustic ecolodges, located on a sand bar between the Tortuguero Lagoon and the Caribbean Sea, sits next to more than 47,000 acres of forest. Trails cut through the dense humid tropical rainforest, allowing you to observe a startling variety of wildlife species. Once under the forest’s canopy, you might see toucans, brightly colored macaws, and playful howler monkeys above. At ground level, tiny poison dart frogs show off their glowing colors. Knowledgeable naturalist guides are available to point out and explain the various species of plant and animal life – truly bringing the forest to life in Costa Rica. Additionally, outdoor activities such as tarpon fishing and sea kayaking are also available.
Getting to Tortuguero
Tortuguero is a wonderful place in Costa Rica. There are no roads to get here. This distinctive feature has helped conserve the culture of the pueblo and edge large scale outside development. We are proud of our pristine environment and remoteness. But this remoteness will bring you in a less adventurous world.
But do not worry. There are a number of convenient, cheap, and easy ways to get here, so enjoy the journey to paradise.
Tortuguero is remote but easily accessed from San Jose or other locations by rental car and public bus and boat or water taxi via Cariari /La Pavona or Limon/Moin.
Tortuguero is accessible by boat from Cariari or Moin. If you are traveling to Parismina, you should be able to get one of the boats to Moin to drop you off on the way.
The most common and least expensive route to/from Tortuguero is through Cariari, from where you can catch buses to San Jose or Puerto Limon (via Guápiles).
Moin–Tortuguero is primarily a tourist route. While tour boats play these canals frequently, there is not a reliable, regularly scheduled service.
The small airstrip is 4km north of Tortuguero village. Nature Air and Sansa both have daily flights to and from San Jose. Many of the upscale lodges offer transportation by charter flight as a part of their package tours.