Tortuguero, Costa Rica

Tortuguero Map

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Tortuguero is located in one of the country's most geographically diverse regions featuring inland rainforests, swampy lagoons, meandering rivers, and the towering Talamanca Mountains. The region is part of the northern Caribbean coast, all of which is part of the Limon province.

The area is incredibly secluded and can generally be accessed only by boat or by a small plane. The inaccessibility has helped to preserve the pristine lowland rainforests and fostered ideal nesting grounds for four of the eight sea turtle species in the world.

History & Culture

The fascinating Afro-Caribbean culture (mainly a combination of Jamaican, Italian and Chinese immigrants) found in this region adds a unique atmosphere filled with tropical rhythms and brilliant colors. The region was first discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1502 and is one of the least traveled areas of the country.

The climate in this region is almost always hot and humid and is the part of Costa Rica that receives the highest amount of rainfall. Although remote, the region is a fantastic place to visit, especially for nature lovers who will delight in the diversity of wildlife found in and around the coast. In addition to being a nesting ground for sea turtles, the area is also a sport fisherman's paradise with huge schools of tarpon and snook found in the rivers and along the shore.

Lodging & Dining

You'll love the unique lodges in this area such as Mawamba Lodge, Manatus Hotel, and Pachira Lodge. These hotels offer comfortable, Costa Rican-style lodging with tours to the best adventures in the region.


This wild and beautiful area features prehistoric rainforests that stop right at the Caribbean shore. The northern Caribbean coast is mainly made up of two national parks, Refugio Barra del Colorado, and Parque Nacional Tortuguero. Most of the tours in the area make the most of the close proximity to the national parks which you can access by boat or on foot.

Tours in this area are booked through your hotel, and should be booked in advance. Options include boat tours of the fascinating canal system, tours of Tortuguero National Park, fishing for tarpon and snook, and trips to Tortuguero village to meet the locals and shop for local handicrafts.

From July through October, you can walk along the beach after dark in search of the endangered Green Sea Turtle and for other turtles nesting on the protected shores.

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