Tortuguero National Park Costa Rica
Tortuguero National Park
Tortuguero National Park is a wildlife refuge located on Costa Rica's Caribbean Coast, just south of Nicaragua. Most famous for being the nesting home of four of the world's eight sea turtle species, Tortuguero is a must for any eco-tourism agenda.
Tortuguero National Park encompasses the Barra del Colorado Wildlife Refuge. This 20,000 hectare refuge is home to many endangered wildlife species. Thirteen of the sixteen endangered mammal species within Costa Rica can be found living in Tortuguero National Park. Over four hundred bird species have been recorded here as well, which has made the park a popular birding destination as well.
The park is made up of a labyrinth-like maze of canals that weave in out of the surrounding rainforest. A guided boat tour through these canals provides the visitor with a rare glimpse of all the birds, monkeys, and other wildlife in their natural habitat. Tortuguero National Park is considered one of the most ecologically diverse areas on the entire planet.
The leather back turtles, which are the park's most popular inhabitants, usually nest from late March through April and generally lay their eggs from May through June. If you are interested in seeing this rare sight, this is obviously the best time to visit Tortuguero. Keep in mind though, that there is a one hundred person maximum of people allowed on the beach during this time period. It is important to secure a viewing position, which is usually best done through one of the local eco-tourist guide services.
In terms of traveling to Tortuguero, it is possibly to catch a flight into the local air strip from San Jose or out of other local airports. It is also possible to take a boat tour to Tortuguero out of Limon. This approach is much slower, but at the same time it is very relaxed and it gives one the opportunity to view lots of the pristine Costa Rican coastline that would otherwise go unobserved.
There are tour vans available out of San Jose that can take visitors directly to the park or to Limon, where one can catch the aforementioned boat tour to Tortuguero. Once in Tortuguero, local travel services offer hotels and restaurants providing lodging, food, and drink.