Tortugero National Park in Costa Rico’s Limon province is “Pura Vita” at its most pura.


While the province of Limon on Costa Rica’s Carribean coast doesn’t draw the crowds of Arenal, Guanacaste, or the Manuel Antonio areas, it’s really better that way.  The province offers some of the most pristine rainforests in Central America and offers a panoply of wildlife still unjaded by the onlooking tourists. The Park is also the nesting ground for the endangered Green Turtle.


The lack of infrastructure serves the park well. There are canals and river inlets which provide egress for the tourist boats, but the wildlife has free reign. The park also has over twenty miles of beaches which are turtle nesting grounds. The best time to see the turtles is in mid-July to mid-August. Sadly, I wasn’t in Costa Rica at that time, but it is a major bucket list item for me.

The Parks remote location means it is not accessible by road. The park also is located in dense mangrove forests, swamps and lagoons and can only be reached by boat or plane.
The rainforest is dense but much of the wildlife can be seen by boat. There are also some trails for hiking that bring nature even closer. Perhaps even too close for some.
The ‘Jesus Lizard” named because they can run across the water when frightened.
The Howler Monkey at it lives up to its name. Their howl is ear piercing and quite creepy.
These are Ghost Bats. I saw a lot of bats in CR but most were brown colored.
Tree Frogs abound didn’t see any multi-colored ones but was told they are around.
Blue Bottlenose Dolphins weren’t in much of a hurry.

The area has a wide range of accommodations from Hostels starting at about $20 US, to about $60 for a lodge. Expect more during the Turtle Season (Jul-Aug) Could be much higher if you are seeking amenities. The nearest city is Tortuguero. They have the usual tourist needs (shops, restaurants, supplies) but the city still retains some charm to it.

Scenes from Tortuguero Village

The Park is worth a visit at any time of the year, but I feel it would be worth the extra crowds (and cash) to see the turtles. I will definitely not miss seeing them again.  The Pacific side of Costa Rica offers more accessibility and some not to be missed sights but make sure Tortuguero National Park on the Carribean side is also on your list. You won’t regret it.

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