Tortuguero Costa Rica is often called the Amazon of Central America. It is a protected and very important national park. This magical part of Costa Rica blew us away. It offers incredible nature and biodiversity, adventurous tours, and stunning beaches. To name only a few of the reasons why you can’t miss visiting Tortuguero when traveling in Costa Rica.
Best time to visit Tortuguero Costa Rica
Tortuguero National park is located on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, which has a wetter climate than other parts of the country. Temperatures are high, and the climate is humid all year round. Also, the Caribbean coast has not the same dry season as the rest of Costa Rica; there can always be rain. The driest months seem to be September, October, and February. We visited in June and had a mix of rain and sun but overall great weather.
If you want to see the turtle’s nesting, you should plan your visit from July to October. We were a bit too early for that.
How to get there
Tortuguero Costa Rica can only be reached by boat. The shuttle boats leave pretty much every hour. Usually, when booking your accommodation, they will send you a boat schedule. Some hotels even offer their own transportation for guests.
The boats leave at La Pavona station. If you have a rental car, you can drive to La Pavona in your car and park it there during your trip. The parking costs approximately 10 USD per day and must be paid in cash. At the station, there is a restaurant and restrooms. If you don’t drive by yourself, buses are leaving from San Jose Terminal del Caribe. The ride takes about 2 hours and costs 3 USD. Besides, there is the option of a private shuttle which is the more expensive option.
The boat ride to your accommodation takes about 1 hour, and it’s very scenic. You get the first glimpse of how beautiful Tortuguero Costa Rica is. The boat ride costs 4000 colones per person, which is about 6 USD.
6 Reasons why you must visit Tortuguero Costa Rica
Biodiversity of Nature and Wildlife
Tortuguero was widely destroyed by logging until Costa Rica first declared the area a national park in 1970. Since then rainforest has recovered from the destruction. Today Tortuguero Costa Rica is home to an incredible biodiversity of plants and animals. For more than 60 species of mammals, including the Jaguar, Sloths, Howler, and Spider Monkeys, 111 species of reptiles, including crocodiles, Caimans, and Iguanas, and more than 300 species of birds, Tortuguero is their home. Besides, the beaches of Tortuguero are a key nesting site for four different species of turtles. When you book a tour to the national park, the entrance fee is 15 USD per person, and you have to purchase the ticket the day before.
Jungle Night Walk – an unforgettable experience
One of the most incredible experiences we had was our jungle night walk. It was magical to be in the jungle in the dark and to listen to all the sounds of nature. Our guide showed us a beautiful boa, many frogs, insects, especially incredible spiders. We got to see the Brazilian wander spider, which is the most poisonous spider on the planet. Don’t worry, you will stay on the walking path, and the walk is not dangerous but highly interesting and exciting.
Stunning and wild Beaches
The beaches of Tortuguero Costa Rica have everything we love about the beaches in this country. Lots of palm trees along the coast, and they are wild and from natural beauty. The long beach is perfect for a beautiful sunset or sunrise beach walk.
Relaxing Kanu tour through the canals
The second tour we did was an early morning Kanu tour in the canals. We chose a Kanu over a motorized boat because first of all, it’s much quieter, which is great to watch wildlife without disturbing it, second, it’s a lot smaller allowing us to explore all the smaller canals in the jungle, getting closer to wildlife and it’s a lot more private as well. Our guide was amazing and showed us lots of wildlife. We saw many very unique birds, we have never heard of before, some Caimans, Iguanas, and Monkeys.
Another option would be to do a Kanu tour, which must be a lot of fun too. We decided on the Kanu because it allowed us to relax and enjoy our surroundings fully.
Watch the Turles nesting.
If you visit Tortuguero Costa between July and October, you will get the chance to see the Turtles nesting at the beach. We were a bit too early for this experience but got lucky in another part of Costa Rica. There are several different species of Turles nesting here which is super exciting. The most popular ones are the impressive Leatherback Turtles, which get up to 2 meters long and 900 kilograms. Those massive Turtles are, unfortunately, highly endangered. That’s why protected areas for them to nest like Tortuguero are so essential for their survival. We hope we will get to see those beautiful animals next time.
Reconnecting to nature and feeling energized
It’s not a secret that time spent in nature is good for our health and well-being. After these days we spent at Tortuguero, Costa Rica, we felt very recovered and energized by nature. Sometimes we have to be somewhere very remote to realize that and to notice from how many noises and negative energy we are surrounded by when we live in a city for example.
Where to stay in Tortuguero Costa Rica
During our visit to Tortuguero Costa Rica, we stayed at the Mawamba Lodge and we had a great time there. They are located in between the Rivers of Tortuguero and the beach. We had a beautiful bungalow and we could walk to the beach and to Tortuguero town from here.
We booked all our excursions with Mawamba Lodge and they have amazing and very experienced guides. They made our experiences even better.
To be honest, Tortuguero Costa Rica wasn’t on our radar when we first planned our trip to Costa Rica. But we are very grateful that we finally made it there anyway. It got one of our favorite experiences. We must say nature there blew us away. It really feels like a trip in the Amazon (even though we haven’t been yet but hopefully soon). We highly recommend visiting this part of Costa Rica. This area is famous for eco-tourism, what we love and is in our opinion the future of travel.