Visiting Tortuguero National Park
Tortuguero National Park is an ecotourist’s dream located on the northeast Caribbean coast. The stunning National Park protects one of the largest remaining areas of tropical rainforest in Central America. The park offers vast, protected beaches from which you can enjoy endless ocean vistas.
Totuguero’s name originates from the Spanish word Tortuga (turtle) and it is one of the best places in the world to see Giant Green Sea Turtles lay their eggs and then watch as the baby turtles hatch and make their way to the sea. From June to October every year, hoards of Giant Green Sea Turtles come to the beaches to nest. The Caribbean Conservation Corporation (CCC) has studied and protected these animals for the last forty years. Female Green Sea Turtles weigh up to 300 pounds, and each will lay about 80-100 eggs each time they nest.
The best reason to visit Tortuguero National Park is to see nesting turtles. Turtles nest from June-October. The tours are scheduled at night and you must be accompanied by a guide. Watching the majestic turtles emerge from the sea is truly unforgettable. If you get lucky you might even get to see the baby turtles hatch and race back into the ocean.
By far the best way to see the extensive wildlife living in Tortuguero is by boat. Ride in silence with a guide and you’re guaranteed to see many of the birds, monkeys, crocodiles and iguanas native to Tortuguero!
Visit June-October: Turtles nest primarily between June through October. Plan your trip accordingly and you won’t be disappointed!
Stop by the Caribbean Conservation Corporation’s Visitors’ Center: Pay only 550 colones to enter and learn more about the history of turtles in the region. All proceeds go to turtle conservation.
Pack for heat and rain: Tortuguero is one of the hottest and rainiest places in Costa Rica so pack appropriately with cooler clothes for the day time and rain gear for the afternoon/evening.
Bring colones: There is only one ATM in Tortuguero and the dollar is not as widely accepted. Come prepared with colones.
Closest Internatioanl Airport: Juan Santamaria (SJO)
Domestic Flight: Flying to Tortuguero is the fastest and most convenient way to get to there. Fly from San Jose and arrive in about 25 minutes for only $80-100.
You also have the option to take shuttles or drive yourself in a rental car. Just note that you must drive to La Pavona and from there you will take a short boat ride to Tortuguero.
Dining in Tortuguero
Tortuguero is a small village but you can still find something appetizing to eat! Try Miss Junie’s for authentic Caribbean food, Tutti’s for Italian or Soda Doña Maria for traditional Costa Rican casados.