The Northern Caribbean and Tortuguero
Tortuguero, known as Costa Rica’s Amazon, is one of the most gorgeous, remote paradises in the country. Located as far North as you can get on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, this area is only accessible by boat or plane, due to its tricky terrain. It’s a major nesting site for sea turtles, including the endangered green turtle, and offers great opportunities for turtle watching.
Visitors can also enjoy hiking, canoeing, and exploring the many waterways by boat. The region also has a rich cultural heritage, with Afro-Caribbean influences and indigenous communities. Visitors can experience local culture, traditional music and dance, and cuisine.
The Geography and Wildlife of Tortuguero
The lush rainforests are teeming with exotic plants and trees, including giant bamboo, mangroves, and tropical fruit trees. The canals and waterways are home to a wide variety of fish and amphibians, such as the red-eyed tree frog and the common basilisk. The beaches and surrounding waters are also important nesting sites for sea turtles, including the endangered green turtle, leatherback turtle, and hawksbill turtle. Visitors can also spot a wide variety of birds, including parrots, toucans, and herons, as well as monkeys, sloths, and iguanas.
The average elevation of this region is 0-330 feet (0-100 meters)
Explore More About Tortuguero
What to Do Around Tortuguero
- Canal boat tours
- Turtle sighting
- Night walks
- Wildlife sighting
Types of Travelers Who’ll Enjoy Tortuguero
Tortuguero is a great off-the-beaten-path destination for nature lovers and those interested in ecotourism and culture.
The History and Culture of Tortuguero
The area has a rich cultural history and is known for its Afro-Caribbean heritage, which is reflected in the music, food, and customs of the local people. The village was originally settled by Afro-Caribbean immigrants who came to the area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to work on the banana plantations. Visitors can also learn about the history and culture of the area by visiting the local museum and cultural center, and by experiencing the traditional music and dances of the Afro-Caribbean community.
Where is Tortuguero Located?
90 minutes from the Pavona docks, which are around 3.5 hours from Juan Santamaria Airport (79 miles/128 km)
90 minutes from the Pavona docks, which are around 6 hours from Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport in Liberia (196 miles/317 km))
*Times are approximate and dependent on the time of day and other factors.
Highlights of Tortuguero
Here's why people take the time to travel to remote Tortuguero:
Tortuguero National Park: Boat or kayak through miles of lagoons through over 300 square km of the secondary rainforest as you look out for hundreds of species of birds and wildlife.
Tortuguero Town: This little town is home to just over 1000 inhabitants and does not have a single car in it, making for a close-knit, picturesque Caribbean village with a lot of personalities and crowd-free streets.
Green Sea Turtles: These beautiful large turtles generally come to the shores of Tortuguero to nest between February and July, with eggs hatching 50-70 days later with hundreds of little turtles scurrying to the ocean to start their lives. This is a highly protected animal in the Tortuguero area.