The Tortuguero National Park on the north Caribbean coast extends to over 31,000 hectares on land and another 52,000 hectares of marine park making it a huge area for wildlife conservation, in what is an area of generally quite heavy human encroachment.
- Watch Green sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs on the beaches
- Cruise through the Tortuguero canals in search of the diverse wildlife
- Enjoy the bright green ‘Jesus Christ’ lizards as they walk on water
- Feast on spicy seafood gumbo with wafting Caribbean calypso music
- Visit the indigenous coastal communities of the Bribri and Cabecar
The park is famed for its canal system, which was created in the late 1960’s to connect a series of natural lagoons and now allows access by boat all the way to Port Limon. This series of canals and lagoons is set within a thin coastal strip of jungle and is home to a great variety of mammals, reptiles and particularly bird species.
The beaches of Tortuguero are however best known for being the single most important breeding place in the whole of the Caribbean for the Green turtle, with as many as 20,000 females laying their eggs each year on these beaches. This is also an important breeding area for Hawksbill, Loggerhead and Leatherback turtles, although not quite to the same extent as the Green turtle. The season lasts from February to November although the peak time is from late July to the end of August.
The Caribbean coast is also well known for its vibrant afro-Caribbean population and rich cultural heritage. Plenty of reggae, beautiful beaches and delicious Creole cuisine make for a heady mix for those requiring some relaxation at the end of a visit to Costa Rica and there are a number of simple, but comfortable hotels set close to the beaches.