Tortuguero National Park

With its fascinating canals, marvelous biodiversity, and relevance for the conservation of sea turtles, the Tortuguero National Park (in Spanish: Parque Nacional Tortuguero) is a unique natural gem within the Costa Rica National Parks. This essential guide will immerse you in the lush tropical jungle, showcasing all the wonders you can experience in this mighty park.

IntroductionTortuguero National Park

Geographical Location

Located on the Caribbean northern coast of Costa Rica, the Tortuguero National Park spans 312 km² of land and 52,000 hectares of sea.

Ecological Importance

The park is known worldwide for its exceptional biodiversity and valuable habitats, including wetlands, mangroves, and tropical forests.

History of Tortuguero National Park

Established in 1975, the park was primarily created to protect the nesting area of green turtles, although its significance has grown to protect a diversity of species and ecosystems.

Access to the Park

How to Get There

You can reach Tortuguero by car and then by boat or directly by plane from San José. The journey offers incredible views of the tropical jungle and the canals.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit is between July and October when the sea turtles come to the beach to lay their eggs.

Entry Information

The park is open all year round, and there is a small entrance fee used for park conservation.



The park hosts a rich variety of plant species, including mighty hardwood trees, prolific palm trees, and vibrant tropical orchids.


The Tortuguero National Park is home to an impressive variety of wildlife, including jaguars, sloths, howler monkeys, and, of course, sea turtles.

Endemic Species

Several endemic species reside in the park, making it a place of great importance for conservation and biological research.

Endangered Species

The park plays a crucial role in protecting endangered species such as green turtles and manatees, providing a safe sanctuary for these vulnerable creatures.

Main Attractions

Sea Turtle Nesting

One of the main attractions of the park is the opportunity to witness sea turtles nesting on the beach during the nesting season, a truly unforgettable spectacle.

Tortuguero Canals

Exploring the Tortuguero canals by boat or kayak offers an excellent opportunity to observe up close the incredible biodiversity of the park.

Hiking Trails

For adventurers, there are several hiking trails through the tropical jungle that offer spectacular views and the possibility of spotting animals in their natural habitat.

Activities in the Park

Wildlife Observation Tours

Wildlife observation tours are a popular way to experience the rich biodiversity of the park, with expert guides helping to identify the various species.

Canoeing and Kayaking

Canoeing and kayaking are popular activities that allow visitors to explore the tranquil canals of the park and enjoy nature up close.

Sport Fishing

For fishing enthusiasts, there are opportunities for sport fishing in the canals, where you can try to catch a variety of fish.

Nature Photography

The Tortuguero National Park is a paradise for nature photographers, with countless opportunities to capture the beauty of the park’s flora and fauna.

Accommodation and Services

Accommodation Options Nearby

There are a variety of accommodation options near the park, from luxurious eco-lodges to simpler campgrounds for those on a tighter budget.

Restaurants and Local Food

There are several restaurants nearby serving local and international cuisine. Typical dishes of the region include casado, Costa Rican ceviche, and delicious gallo pinto.

Services in the Park

The park offers various services for visitors, including restroom facilities, picnic areas, and information centers with maps and brochures.


Conservation Challenges

Despite its protected status, the Tortuguero National Park faces several conservation challenges, including climate change, human development, and illegal fishing.

Contributing to Park Conservation

Visitors can contribute to park conservation in several ways, such as following park rules, participating in volunteer programs, and donating to local conservation organizations.

Conservation Projects

Several conservation projects are underway in the park, including wildlife monitoring studies, reforestation programs, and efforts to protect turtle nesting areas.

Safety and Regulations

Park Rules

To protect the park’s biodiversity, visitors must follow several rules, such as not feeding animals, not littering, and not disturbing turtles during the nesting season.

Safety Considerations

While the park is generally safe to visit, it is recommended to wear appropriate clothing to protect against insects and the sun, and always follow the guidance of guides and park staff.

Guidelines for Wildlife Interaction

It is essential to treat the park’s wildlife with respect and not interfere with the animals. This is especially important during the turtle nesting season, when visitors should maintain a distance and avoid bright lights that may disorient the turtles.

Trip Planning

Suggested Itineraries

We offer several suggested itineraries to help you make the most of your visit to Tortuguero National Park, whether you’re planning a short day trip or a longer stay.

What to Pack

Be sure to bring appropriate clothing for the humid tropical climate, insect repellent, sunscreen, and a camera to capture the beauty of the park. If you plan to hike, we also suggest wearing suitable footwear.

Useful Tips for Visitors

Useful tips for visitors include checking the weather conditions before traveling, booking accommodations and tours in advance, carrying cash as not all places accept credit cards, and respecting the park’s rules and regulations to preserve its natural beauty.

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