Tortuguero National Park

Dry season: February and March
Camping: Permitted
Size: 26,156 hectares.
Distance from San José: 254 km by land and water.
Trails: Limited.


Founded in 1975, Tortuguero National Park is one of the richest wildlife areas of Costa Rica. With one of the greenest landscapes in the country of 26156 hectares park with the main objective of protecting the western Caribbean was created important green sea turtle nesting area. Tortuguero owes its very wet tropical forest to the 5000-6000 mm rain it receives per year. These climatic conditions are favorable, more than 400 tree species, 2,200 species of other plants and more than 400 birds, 60 amphibian and 30 freshwater fish species and several endangered animal species, including tapirs, monkeys, ocelots, jaguars, manatees and sloths.
Tortuguero consists of scenic canals, lagoons and rivers that can be visited by boat, canoe or kayak. In addition to the green turtle, three other sea turtle nesting beaches of the park. The park has an exhibition space, information, drinking water, toilets, trails and other services.
Tortuguero is one of the most famous Costa Rican national park, and not without reason. It offers visitors the opportunity to spot a wide variety of wildlife during the journey by boat on a number of water bodies, including a section of the famous Limon to the border with Nicaragua Canal. The canal was built in the 1930s to provide an economical and safe way of transporting the wood than the old method of dragging the logs together and bring to Limon across the ocean.
The park is the most important nesting site in the western half of the Caribbean for the green turtle. Other species of sea turtles that nest along the beach are the leatherback turtle and hawksbill. The green turtle is a medium sized turtle with long fins, which grows to a meter in length and weigh from 75 to 200 kg.
When it matures, it is primarily an herbivore. A property that is characteristic of these turtles, they band together to mate in large groups in places, relatively far from their usual feeding grounds.
The word “tortuguero” means turtle catcher in Spanish. The life of turtles and people have been closely intertwined since a lot of time ago. The large-scale exploitation of the adult turtles and their eggs peaked around 1912, when commercial ships loaded to the underside of the deck regular departures from Limon to carry their cargo into the United States and Europe. The trade in turtles all went with the advent of the practice of taking only the “Calipee” (a cartilaginous substance under the plastron or lower shell of the turtle, which was used to cook soup), and then leave the poor animals a die slow, miserable death on the beach.
But the continued Calipee and egg trade and reached another peak in the 1950s. The situation looked bleak for the survival of the turtles, which began in 1959, Dr. Archie Carr, a renowned herpetologist and conservationist, began the Brotherhood of the Green Turtle and its subsidiary, the Caribbean Conservation Corporation (CCC) to address the problem. They began primarily as research organizations with engaging in the protected breeding and release of turtles, but soon found themselves in favor of new protective laws, and finally the creation of the park. The park was created in 1970, finishing a long period of unsustainable use of both the forest and the turtles.
The geomorphology of the park consists of a vast alluvial floodplain by a coalescence of deltas that are part of the old Nicaragua trench is filled. The floodplain is only in the West through the Sierpe Peaks, the 300-meter climb and the part of the remains of a small archipelago of volcanic origin, which was once in existent in the area. The flat land around formed by Quaternary alluvial deposits in the last million years.
Tortuguero is one of the regions with the heaviest rainfall in the country (between 5000-6000 mm. Per year) and it is one of the wilderness with the greatest biological diversity. To date, 11 habitats have been identified in the park. The main littoral are woodland, high rain-forest, slope forest, swamp forest, holillo forest, herbaceous swamp and herbaceous swamp communities.
There is an abundance and diversity of wildlife, particularly with respect to monkeys, fish, frogs (60 species identified) and birds (309 species recorded). Some of the frogs that live in the park are the smoky frog, which are very numerous on the shores of the park streams, glass frog, his internal organs will appear behind the transparent skin, poison dart frog, whose skin is poisonous.
At certain times of the year, spectacular migrations of birds that nest in North America can be seen from the coast.
A natural network of scenic and navigable waterways, crosses the park from southeast to northwest. These channels and swamps are the habitat of seven species of land tortoises that seen sunning themselves on logs in the middle of the water or on the islands of floating vegetation. In addition, protect the West Indian Manatee, one of the most endangered species in the Caribbean, crocodiles, a wide variety of crustaceans, and about 30 species of freshwater fish, including garpike, are considered a living fossil, eel and bull shark, which can be up to 3 meters long. These waterways also offer excellent observation point for different kinds of water birds.
Turtles that nest here: loggerhead turtle, green turtle (nests from August to November, it grows to a length of 1 meter and adults weigh between 775 and 200 kilograms), hawksbill turtle (measures between 65 and 90 centimeters and weighing between 35 and 75 kilograms), and leatherback turtle.
Turtles that nest here: loggerhead, green turtle (nests from August to November, it has a length of 1 meter grows and adults weigh 775-200 kilograms), hawksbill turtle (measures 65-90 inches and weighing between 35 and 75 kg) and leatherback turtle.
Animals found here: the tapir, jaguar, ocelot, kinkajou, collared peccary, Neotropical river otter, tayra, olingo, three-toed sloth, grison, paca, white-faced monkey, spider monkey, and howler monkey, and the fishing bulldog bat, West Indian manatee (endangered species).
Trees found here: banak, berm, Santa Maria, coconut palm, holillo palm, wild tamarind, crab wood, cativo, bully tree, dove wood, black palm, stilt palm, suita palm, and portorrico.
Birds found here: great green macaw, great curassow, turkey vulture, common black-hawk, white-necked Jacobin, violaceous trogon, and Montezuma oropendola.