TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK

TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK

Tortuguero National Park is situated in one of the rainiest areas in the country, and makes up the area of life for the very humid tropical rainforest. It is seated upon flooded plains, where some volcanic hills stand out from the landscape, such as the Sierpe Hill which is 311 meters high. The snaking rivers take the sediments that are deposited by the sea on the extensive and straight beaches of the park.  These coastal areas are perfect for turtles to come and lay their eggs. Turtles such as the Baula and Carey. It has an extension of 18946 hectares. Tortuguero is one of the areas with the largest biological diversity in the country; up to 11 different categories have been identified. The most abundant natural resource is water: lagoons, canyons and canals, which are fed by the rivers that run along the Cordillera and by the torrential rains that fall in the region. Travel along these streams and you will be able to see nature that surrounds the waters, exuberant vegetation, fauna that have been seen in the area include crocodiles, turtles, iguanas, monkeys, toucans, and countless other birds. El Dorado was filmed here, by the Spanish director Carlos Saura. Of the five species of marine turtles that lay their eggs in the beaches of Costa Rica, four of them lay their eggs in the Tortuguero National Park: Green, Baula, Carey and Caballera Turtles.

Information

The annual rainfall here reaches 6.000 m.m in the northern area of the park, converting it into one of the rainiest areas in the country, although it rains less in February, March and September. The average temperature is 26ºC. You will need to take waterproof jackets with you as well as umbrellas and insect repellent. There are two forest posts; Jalova is located in a canal at the south entrance of the park. There are toilets and drinking water, as well as a short footpath. But the majority lead to the Cuatro Esquinas, the main one, also via the canal but through the northern park of the park; Tortuguero village is a few minutes away walking, passing by the limits of the park.  There is information available and a 2km circular footpath that leads to the beach. The beaches are not suitable for swimming. The surf is dangerous, the currents are too strong and there are a lot of sharks in the water. Some people have successfully challenged the waves. Entry to the park costs 7 US$ per day, and you pay this fee at the main post. In 1998 they banned nighttime visits by boat because the lights, motors, and noise disturbed the forest wildlife. At present night time excursions to watch turtles are only allowed during the nesting period; entry to the park on a two hour circuit for one night costs 6 US$, and many tour operators offer this tour for 35 US$.  The local guides, who are well known in the area charge 10 US$.

Where to sleep

Camping costs 2 US$ per person. Located close to the main post at the park,  there is drinking water, bathrooms and wash rooms, you will need to take a waterproof tent. Outside of the northern limits of Tortuguero, you will find simple and economic accommodation, meals, boat trips and guides. Between 1 and 4 km to the north, in the middle of the forest, you will be able to find several places to sleep.