Highlights and main attractions of Tortuguero National Park

Lying in the northeast of Costa Rica along the Caribbean coastline, the Tortuguero National Park is a stunningly located park that protects a 22-mile stretch of beach, providing one of the largest and most important nesting grounds for the endangered green turtle. During the nesting season, between July and October, entrants to the park will have the privilege of coinciding their visit with these gentle creatures who make their way up the beach at night to lay their eggs, and with our guided nocturnal trips it is possible to see them at incredibly close range, making it in many wildlife enthusiasts eyes a must as part of their Costa Rica itinerary.

This is one of the best places to see turtle hatchlings, and you can also see wildlife such as sloths, monkeys and toucans.

Where is Tortuguero National Park?

The Amazon of Costa Rica

One of the last remaining swathes of tropical rainforest in Central America, Tortuguero, which means ‘land of the turtles’, is best accessed from Puerto Limon, situated 50 miles south of the park or directly from San Jose the capital. The area is surrounded by banana and coffee plantations and some of the final stages of the journey are via canal as there is no road access. The guided tours of the area are a mix of boat tours through the network of water and rainforest canals that form a large part of the area.

As a key nesting area for endangered green sea turtles as well as leatherbacks, hawksbill and loggerheads, the turtles are the main draw. In fact, the area was specifically declared as National Park in 1970 in order to protect the turtles that were nearing being hunted to extinction for the production of turtle soup. There is however a host of other flora and fauna in the area and it is sometimes referred to as the ‘Amazon of Costa Rica’ for its diversity of nature and wildlife. The fertile rainforest also provides a sanctuary for 60 mammal species including tapirs, jaguars, monkeys and sloths, 170 species of reptiles and amphibians and in the region of 300 recorded bird species including green macaws, toucans, parrots, hawks and kingfishers.

There is so much life here that it is often referred to as the 'Amazon of Costa Rica'.

Offering a luxurious setting in the heart of the natural splendour of Tortuguero, Manatus Hotel has just 12 rooms and organises a host of varied activities such as channel boat tours, local community visits, fishing and kayaking. The more rustic Mawamba Lodge has a frog farm, iguana farm and two butterfly farms on its grounds.

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