Village life

In Tortuguero we do not have cars or streets and nature comes out in every corner of the town. On the one hand the rivers and canals invite you to paddle in its waters and discover the undisturbed nature. Across the village, the Caribbean Sea welcomes thousands of turtles nesting on its beaches every year.

A little bit of history

Transport of "tucas" via water

First settlements and businesses in Tortuguero

The wood era

Some of the inhabitants in Tortuguero still remember  when the first wood mill opened in the 1940’s.  It transformed  the village—quadrupling the population, improving  transportation, establishing a school, and making possible  doctor’s visits.  During this time, the wood companies paid fixed  salaries to local people who before had little to no income.   However, none of the wood businesses in Tortuguero became  very successful, and as each failed in turn, it left the village  overpopulated in a very difficult economic situation.

 

The “Atlantic Trading Company” was the first of the wood  businesses to construct its own mill.  It employed 250 workers  cutting down the beautiful local forests. The “Deslo Lumber Company” followed and suffered many  complications and changes in ownership.

 

The wood mills were located where the principal dock  is today.  When they were functioning, the cut trunks were  floated from the forest to this point, and from there they cut  them into boards, which they later transported via ocean to  Limón to market them to other places in Costa Rica and in  the world.

 

Today, near the center of town, you can still see the  old rusted machinery left over from the vanished wood  companies.  Their other legacy in the area are the canals  that they dug to transport the wood, which are now part of  the Tortuguero National Park.  Thousands of people visit  every year to tour the canals and see the abundant natural beauty of the area.

The present

With the cessation of work in wood around 1972  the majority of the workers disappeared, and the  population returned to the old local families, although  many more families have arrived and stayed as well.   The village returned to the old way of life—farming,  hunting, and fishing.

 

One change that facilitated progress toward the  Tortuguero that exists today, was the construction of  canals to connect the natural waterways between Limón  (south), Tortuguero, and Barra Colorado (north). The  former method of travel (by ocean) was risky due to the  inconsistent climate of the region and the dangers of disembarking by Tortuguero.  The river route  followed a system of lagoons and other waterways and avoided the dangers of the sea.

 

In 1972, the first public telephone was installed and in 1979 the government established boat  transportation to Tortuguero two times per week.  The first electrical generator began to function in  1982.

 

Currently tourism is the principal industry of the village.  Tourism has grown due to the  construction of various hotels in and around the area, improved access to the region, and the  creation of the Tortuguero National Park in 1972.  In the village itself, many of the families rent  cabinas and serve typical food in local restaurants.  There are more than 100 local guides to attend  to the visitors that come to the area.

Today Tortuguero is a town dedicated to tourism and conservation

Tortuguero has preschool, primary and secondary schools, potable water, electricity, health and telecommunications services.

The future

Tortuguero has a future full of promise.  In past eras, its  inhabitants weathered economic cycles.    Tortuguero  National Park offers an alternative to past practices of turtle  hunting and deforestation. The incredible natural resources  of this area, if well preserved, will attract more and more  visitors.  The last decade there has been a strong effort by  the villagers and other organizations to organize and  educate to protect the natural resources.  The Sea Turtle  Conservancy (formerly the Caribbean Conservation  Corporation) has been an important group in undertaking  this public awareness campaign in the village itself and with  the surrounding hotels.

 

The educational system here in the village has been strengthened  in the past few years.  For the first time ever, Tortuguero High School  handed out its first diplomas in December 2006.  In addition, Tortuguero  has also developed educational institutions from preschool up through  adult night classes.  A local clinic was also built in the last few years.   There is a fairly constant supply of electricity, and there is also a reliable  supply of clean, healthy water.  High speed internet came to the village  a couple of years ago.

 

Despite the advancements of technology, the villagers have been  able to maintain their unique culture and customs.  Many people who  visit here are amazed at the relaxed way of life, and serenity that being  away from it all can bring.  Tortuguero has a very bright future, because  Tortuguero is Pure Life Paradise.

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For turtle season

© tortuguerovillage.com 2017

  • The wood era

    Some of the inhabitants in Tortuguero still remember  when the first wood mill opened in the 1940’s.  It transformed  the village—quadrupling the population, improving  transportation, establishing a school, and making possible  doctor’s visits.  During this time, the wood companies paid fixed  salaries to local people who before had little to no income.   However, none of the wood businesses in Tortuguero became  very successful, and as each failed in turn, it left the village  overpopulated in a very difficult economic situation.

     

    The “Atlantic Trading Company” was the first of the wood  businesses to construct its own mill.  It employed 250 workers  cutting down the beautiful local forests. The “Deslo Lumber Company” followed and suffered many  complications and changes in ownership.

     

    The wood mills were located where the principal dock  is today.  When they were functioning, the cut trunks were  floated from the forest to this point, and from there they cut  them into boards, which they later transported via ocean to  Limón to market them to other places in Costa Rica and in  the world.

     

    Today, near the center of town, you can still see the  old rusted machinery left over from the vanished wood  companies.  Their other legacy in the area are the canals  that they dug to transport the wood, which are now part of  the Tortuguero National Park.  Thousands of people visit  every year to tour the canals and see the abundant natural beauty of the area.

  • The present

    With the cessation of work in wood around 1972  the majority of the workers disappeared, and the  population returned to the old local families, although  many more families have arrived and stayed as well.   The village returned to the old way of life—farming,  hunting, and fishing.

     

    One change that facilitated progress toward the  Tortuguero that exists today, was the construction of  canals to connect the natural waterways between Limón  (south), Tortuguero, and Barra Colorado (north). The  former method of travel (by ocean) was risky due to the  inconsistent climate of the region and the dangers of disembarking by Tortuguero.  The river route  followed a system of lagoons and other waterways and avoided the dangers of the sea.

     

    In 1972, the first public telephone was installed and in 1979 the government established boat  transportation to Tortuguero two times per week.  The first electrical generator began to function in  1982.

     

    Currently tourism is the principal industry of the village.  Tourism has grown due to the  construction of various hotels in and around the area, improved access to the region, and the  creation of the Tortuguero National Park in 1972.  In the village itself, many of the families rent  cabinas and serve typical food in local restaurants.  There are more than 100 local guides to attend  to the visitors that come to the area.

  • The future

    Tortuguero has a future full of promise.  In past eras, its  inhabitants weathered economic cycles.    Tortuguero  National Park offers an alternative to past practices of turtle  hunting and deforestation. The incredible natural resources  of this area, if well preserved, will attract more and more  visitors.  The last decade there has been a strong effort by  the villagers and other organizations to organize and  educate to protect the natural resources.  The Sea Turtle  Conservancy (formerly the Caribbean Conservation  Corporation) has been an important group in undertaking  this public awareness campaign in the village itself and with  the surrounding hotels.

     

    The educational system here in the village has been strengthened  in the past few years.  For the first time ever, Tortuguero High School  handed out its first diplomas in December 2006.  In addition, Tortuguero  has also developed educational institutions from preschool up through  adult night classes.  A local clinic was also built in the last few years.   There is a fairly constant supply of electricity, and there is also a reliable  supply of clean, healthy water.  High speed internet came to the village  a couple of years ago.

     

    Despite the advancements of technology, the villagers have been  able to maintain their unique culture and customs.  Many people who  visit here are amazed at the relaxed way of life, and serenity that being  away from it all can bring.  Tortuguero has a very bright future, because  Tortuguero is Pure Life Paradise.