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Tortuguero means "The region of turtles" and indicates the significance of the area for the endangered sea turtles. There are eight species of sea turtles in the world, six of them nest in Costa Rica and of those, four frequently visit the 36-kilometer of protected beach in Tortuguero. The area is the most important breeding ground for the Green turtles in the Caribbean and there is no other place where those turtles nest in so great numbers.

Nevertheless, Tortuguero is not only turtles and sometimes the area is also called the Amazon of Costa Rica. The nature is impressive and a boat trip through the canal system of narrow waterways leading through primary rainforest provides close encounters with exuberant flora and abundant wildlife.

There are no roads leading to Tortuguero and the only way to get there is therefore by boat or plane. This makes the area unique and offers the possibility of exploring the nature in a tranquil and peaceful atmosphere as nowhere else in the world.

The purpose of this site is to help you get the most out of your stay in Tortuguero, information about the National Park, the village and the turtles are provided, as well as recommendations of the best hotels and lodges in and around the village.

Enjoy your visit to this green jewel of the Caribbean!

Tortuguero National Park, 52 miles (84 km) northwest of the city of Limon is a major Green Sea Turtle nesting ground in Costa Rica. This nesting area consists of 22 miles (36 km) of protected beach on the Caribbean Coast. All transportation into the area of Tortuguero consists of two legs. One choice is to fly from San Jose (about a 30 minute flight) and then board a boat that will take you up the system of canals to the hotels and lodges in that area. Flying over Tortuguero will allow you to see the banana plantations that create huge green rectangles in the otherwise random wildness of the rain forest. You can also choose to take a bus from San Jose (about 2 hours) to the point where you will board the boat that will take you into the ecosystem of the Tortuguero Canals. The canals are the only way to get around in this area and are great fun. The tour along Tortuguero s coast takes around 4 hours, where you will be greeted by abundant wildlife such as birds, sloth, river turtles, caiman, and crocodiles. This will be an unforgettable experience with the nature of the Atlantic Coast of Costa Rica.

There is a small village that can be walked in five minutes from one side to the other on a dirt path. There are no cars, but there are many dugout canoes, some with motors attached and others with only paddles. The town is very basic and you will find that hotels and lodges surround the entrance of the National Park. There are places with budget rooms or luxury rooms, with variety of delicious Caribbean restaurants. Most of the people in this area of Costa Rica either speak English or Patua. From here you can arrange fishing trips or admire the sunrise on a dawn boat, as well as going for a turtle walk. The National Park protects over 300 species of birds and mammals, including endangered species such as Green Macaws, jaguars and many of our sea turtles. The park has one of the most important nesting sites in the world for the Green Sea Turtle, the Hawksbill, with its distinctive hooked beak; and the ridged leatherback (Tortuga Baula).

While turtles have been known to lay their eggs during daylight hours, it is far more common to find them waddling in a surreal procession from the sea to make their nest in the sand to lay their eggs at night. Each turtle digs a hole in which she lays eighty or more eggs. Her business complete, eggs laid and covered with sand, the turtle marches back to the sea, leaving her eggs to hatch under the heat of the sun in tortuguero. Incubation takes some weeks, but, finally, the hatchlings emerge and instinctively follow the light of the moon on the water, immersing themselves in the safety of the ocean. Observing nesting turtles is an unforgettable experience worth taking part in. This is a place where lots of fun and adventures await you!

Province: Limon
Zone: Tortuguero
 Located in a National Park
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