Tortuguero may be off the beaten path, but it should definitely be on your destinations list if you are a fan of the outdoors. This little village in Costa Rica offers some of the most diverse plant and animal life, as well as experiences unlike any other. Thanks to Costa Rica Dream Adventures, the sponsor of this article, you won’t have to miss out on your chance at a Tortuguero experience.
Tortuguero, Costa Rica
Tortuguero, which can be translated to “Land of Turtles”, is a remote village off the Northern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Situated on a sand bar island, Tortuguero is a wonderful vacation destination for those who love nature, the outdoors, and animals. The island is only accessible by plane or boat, making part of the adventure just getting there! Tortuguero National Park is one of the main highlights of any trip to the village. Although it is so remote, it is still the third most visited park in Costa Rica, and boasts a large array of biological diversity. Within the park you can find eleven different habitat types; some of these include lagoons, beaches, and even rainforests. This is due to the exceptionally high rainfall in the area. With over 20 miles of coastline, Tortuguero National Park is a wonderful place for the tortuga turtles, or “beach resting turtles”, to nest in a protected area.
These turtles, which include the green sea turtles, leatherback, and hawksbill species, are arguably the main focal point of a visit to Tortuguero National Park. Roughly 22,000 green sea turtle females nest on the span of coastline in Tortuguero National Park every year, making it one of the most important nesting sites in the world; this is because green sea turtles are an endangered species. Nesting season runs from July-October, and occurs mainly at night; if you catch yourself in Tortuguero at this time you absolutely cannot pass up a turtle tour, which can be arranged independently through the park. A more incredible site to aim to see on your trip to Tortuguero is the race to sea: as the new turtles hatch, they all scurry to the ocean at the same time, breaking through their eggs and arising from the sand. There is overlap in the nesting seasons for different species of turtle, so if you visit during nesting season, there’s a chance you’ll catch a glimpse of this spectacular sight.
The canals of Tortuguero have given the town the nickname “Costa Rica’s Amazon,” and with good reason. This maze of waterways throughout Tortuguero is one of the best ways to be able to see the area in its entirety. It also allows visitors to get the rainforest experience; the thick and seemingly endless jungles are one of the things that make the area so unique, and a popular eco-tourism based destination to travel to. Cruise through the canals by electric boat, or for a more immersive experience you can rent kayaks and kayak through the different channels and areas. These waterways are home to many different animals, including over 50 species of freshwater fish, Southern River Otters, and Spectacled Caiman. If you decide to kayak through the water, you might even catch a glimpse of an endangered West Indian Manatee; you might also see many different species of birds or even a Howler, Spider, or Capuchin Monkey! If you would rather trek through nature yourself, the El Gavilian trail is located within the park, and spans 2 kilometers.
For something a little more laid back, be sure to check out the Sea Turtle Conservancy Museum is a great way to spend an afternoon on your Tortuguero vacation. Although it is on the smaller side, the museum and conservation center is packed with knowledge about the lives, habits, and habitat of a variety of sea turtles. This is not only educational, but helps us better protect the population of sea turtles found in Tortuguero. For the super adventurous, you can take a Jungle Canopy Tour. Ziplines and bridges weave through the jungle area, and you can soar up to 100ft above the wilderness. There are many animals who never leave the comfort of the trees and canopy, and this is the best way to get to see them.
Tortuguero has no shortage of delicious cuisine. Because of its isolation, almost everything in the village is mom and pop-type restaurants and stores. There are not really even cars in Tortuguero! The Buddha Cafe is one of the most popular local eateries. You can enjoy authentic Mediterranean food, and bask in the view from the riverside terrace. The relaxed atmosphere make it the perfect restaurant for a delicious meal after a long day of trekking through the brushes of the jungle. Miss Junie’s is the oldest restraint in Tortuguero, and definitely worth a taste during your village vacation. Serving up Caribbean specialties like jerk chicken and seafood drizzled with coconut and ginger sauce over rice and beans, Miss Junie’s is a staple to the area. Dorling’s Bakery is the place to go if you are looking for a quick bite to eat. Serving baked goods like homemade banana bread and orange cake, as well as typical sandwiches, pizza, and traditional dishes of Costa Rica, Dorling’s has a little something for everyone in your party.
Tortuguero is a beautiful and unique place that any outdoor enthusiast should see. With an abundance of biodiversity as well as thrilling and adventurous activities, this village is worth the trek. Make your Tortuguero vacation dreams come true with Costa Rica Dream Adventures.
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