Tortuguero National Park

Located inside the wonderful Parque Nacional Tortuguero in Limon province, the tiny town of Tortuguero is truly a magical destination. The most important turtle nesting site on the entire western half of the Caribbean for the Green Sea Turtle, Tortuguero sits along a network of narrow canals some 70 miles north of Puerto Limon, the capital of the Limon province.

A roughly three and a half hour boat trip from Puerto Limon, there are no roads leading to this town. To get to Tortuguero you have to either use a plane or a boat. Part of the beautiful Tortuguero experience, a boat ride leads you up through the Canal de Tortuguero and through some stunning patches of rainforests towering over swamps. A spectacular trip, one can spot egrets and numerous other birds flying overhead in these lowlands. Here nature dominates as there are hardly any human settlements to speak of.

A stunning region, Tortuguero and its surrounding areas get the heaviest rainfall in the country. The existence of parallel coastal banks here has given rise to the formation of lakes, channels and marshes, which are home to a plethora of fish and marine life. However, the turtles here are still the main attraction. Besides the Green Sea Turtles, the Leatherback and Hawksbill sea turtles also nest along the wide beaches here. Peak turtle nesting season is from late July through August.

While there is not much to see in town besides a visitor center and museum, there are plenty of activities that one can enjoy while here including hiking and canoeing. There is an active community here as well to help save the endangered species of turtles, where you can take tours and see the turtles nesting in the wild.

How to get to Tortuguero:

By Boat – Flying to Tortuguero is convenient if you don’t have much time, but a boat trip through the canals and rivers of this region is often the highlight of any visit to Tortuguero. You’ll first have to ride by bus or minivan from San José to Moín, Caño Blanco, or one of the other nearby embarkation points; then it’s 2 to 3 hours on a boat.

By Plane – Nature Air has flights departing daily from San Jose to Tortuguero. The flight takes 35 minutes. Tacsa offers Charter flights. If you are four or more passengers it is actually cheaper to take a charter flight than the commercial domestic airlines. Plus you have the convenience and comfort of a plane all to yourselves.

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