Tortuguero Park, Conservation Area & Village Information
(Editor’s Note – This original post from February 2010 has been updated to reflect current Costa Rica vacation details.)
Loosely translated, the name Tortuguero means, “turtle region“.
Located in Limon Province just north of Tortuguero National Park on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast is the small village of Tortuguero Costa Rica.
Tortuguero Village relies mainly on tourism and since it is isolated on a strip of land within the Tortuguero canals the village can only be accessed by air or water. There are no cars so the atmosphere is very relaxed and quite pleasing.
Tortuguero Village is surrounded by a series of natural and man-made waterways; in fact, the Tortuguero canals are the primary means of local transportation.
Tortuguero Conservation Area
The Tortuguero Conservation Area covers a great part of northeastern Costa Rica (on the Caribbean side) and was created to help preserve this part of the country’s natural resources, reserves, parks, and wildlife refuges.
Within the Tortuguero Conservation Area are three wildlife refuges including Cariari National Wetlands, which is a protected nature reserve, and of course Tortuguero National Park.
Tortuguero National Park
Not unlike Tortuguero Village, Tortuguero National Park is also isolated and only accessible by boat or plane. Yet, Tortuguero National Park is one of Costa Rica’s biggest tourist draws.
Tortuguero Park has eleven different natural habitats with exceptional biodiversity in terms of wildlife, flora and fauna, but it is also home to the world famous Tortuguero turtle nesting beaches.
Tortuguero Turtle Nesting Beaches
Costa Rica established the Green Turtle Research Station to study the nesting habits, migration, and behaviour of Atlantic green sea turtles and other turtle species. Some of the more fascinating and endangered turtle species that visit the turtle nesting beaches of Tortuguero Costa Rica each year include:
- Atlantic green sea turtles
- Loggerhead turtles
- Hawksbill turtles
- Giant leatherback turtles
Believe it or not, many of the giant leatherback turtles that come to the Tortuguero nesting beaches to lay their eggs can reach up to 2000+ pounds!
Tortuguero National Park is also home to over 2,200 plant species, over 375 bird species, and a great variety of Costa Rican wildlife. The dense tropical forests and fresh waterways of the Caribbean coastline are home to many unique mammal species including manatees, jaguars, howler monkeys, caimans, and Costa Rica’s famous three-toed sloths.
Visiting Tortuguero Costa Rica
Costa Rica is world-famous for its amazing biodiversity, glorious landscapes and eco-conscious, sustainable tourism. Costa Rica’s wildlife refuges, biological reserves and national parks like Tortuguero, were established to preserve the country’s natural resources, not only for Costa Ricans but also for international tourists. Tourism in Costa Rica is vitally important to the economy.
Tortuguero Costa Rica tours are always very popular. When you vacation in Tortuguero be sure to hike along the amazing beach trail. To experience the wonders of Tortuguero National Park at its best, however, we recommend one of the many guided Tortuguero boat tours.
The best time to witness nesting turtles in Tortuguero Costa Rica is between April and October, during turtle nesting season. Keep in mind however, that turtles generally like to lay their eggs and nest under the cover of darkness. Guided walks may be available after dark but individuals are not allowed on the beaches at night without an official guide.
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