The ‘Amazon of Central America’ is a unique region of Costa Rica. Located in the country’s north east corner, near the Nicaraguan border, the tiny town was once the base for turtle fisherman and is now a center for their preservation. Tortuguero has no road access and so can only be reached by plane or by boat along the canals that are the lifeline between this settlement and the rest of the world.

Although many visitors choose to fly in and out of Tortuguero due to time limitations on their vacation, the trip into the area on canals through tunnels of greenery, with monkeys hanging from the branches overhead and crocodiles slipping into the waters from the sandy banks is as much part of the experience as the National Park itself.

Tortuguero Canals

The National Park is the main attraction of Tortuguero with its waterways and trails offering great opportunities for visitors to see the wide range of wildlife that inhabits the region.

The Caribbean village is a pleasant stroll or bike ride along dirt paths – no cars here! The town itself offers budget options for accommodation and dining, with the more upmarket and often all-inclusive lodges across the river. Take an hour or so to visit the Sea Turtle Conservancy Museum to support their efforts and learn about the different types of turtle that nest on the beach here.

Five highlights:

  • Canoe the canals at dawn for sunrise over the jungle
  • Take a night tour to see turtles nesting
  • Zipline over the forest canopy
  • Hike up Tortuguero Hill for a fantastic view over the area
  • Go fish for your dinner

Getting there:

Save time and effort with a package to Tortuguero that includes transportation to San Jose, or alternative package with transportation onto Arenal included.

Alternatively, fly into Tortuguero from Limon or San Jose with Nature Air or Sansa.

Boat services to Tortuguero run from La Pavona near Guapiles or Moin in Limon.  The journey from La Pavona is shorter and cheaper, whereas the Moin trip feels more like a tour, than a water taxi.  Public bus services and shuttles run to both docks.

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