Tortuguero National Park

Overview

Introduction

A lush, tropical jungle 55 mi/90 km northeast of San Jose and accessed only by water, Tortuguero offers the opportunity to see monkeys, sloths, manatees, caimans, snakes, river otter, macaws, toucans and dozens of other wildlife species.

Toured in small outboard boats or dugout canoes along Tortuguero's lagoons, the park is best seen in August, when the green sea turtle goes ashore at night to nest and lay eggs on the beach, which runs unbroken for 22 mi/35 km. But keep in mind that August also is the rainy season: Take something to keep your camera dry.

Plan to spend at least a night in one of the jungle lodges tucked along the canals so you can take an evening turtle-watching excursion or a predawn boat ride to observe the birds and animals. Visit the Cano Palma Biological Station near the village. Before touring the area, we suggest reading Archie Carr's book So Excellent a Fishe, which provides a good description of the life of the green turtle.

Cruise ship passengers disembarking in Limon are usually given the option of touring Tortuguero National Park as a shore excursion.

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