Tortuguero National Park (Parque Nacional Tortuguero)
If you’re hoping to see turtles, visit Tortuguero National Park as part of a multi-day tour, and head to the beaches at night, where you’ll scan the sand for turtle tracks using the beam of a flashlight. Another highlight is boating the freshwater lagoons, a pristine habitat for more than 300 bird species. You’ll also find three hiking trails in the park—take the one to Tortuguero Hill for stellar views over the canals and beaches.
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Things to Know Before You Go
Night visits to see the turtles must be accompanied by a guide, and cameras are prohibited.
Wear waterproof boots if you’re planning on hiking, as the trails are often muddy.
Take insect repellent and sunscreen, and be prepared for hot, humid conditions year-round.
How to Get There
Remote Tortuguero National Park is accessible only by boat or small plane, so most travelers get there as part of a guided tour. Boats to Tortuguero leave from Moín, near Puerto Limón.
When to Get There
For turtle spotting, visit during peak nesting season (March through May for leatherback turtles, and July through October for green turtles). Go on a night safari to look for frogs, snakes, insects, and turtles; early morning hours are ideal for viewing birds and other wildlife. September, October, and February tend to be the driest months.
The Village of Tortuguero
The gateway to the national park of the same name, Tortuguero is worth exploring in its own right. Although the tiny community with strong Afro-Caribbean roots has no cars or roads, it’s home to a smattering of hotels, restaurants, and souvenir shops.
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