Things to do
Things To Do In and Around Tortuguero
Stroll through the jungle in
the National Park
Hike Tortuguero Hill
Turtle Museum at the
Sea Turtle Conservancy
Walk or tour the village
Take a dip in the ocean
ATLANTIC GREEN SEA TURTLES AND LEATHERBACK TURTLES
If you come to Tortuguero between
April and October, you can have an
opportunity to see giant sea turtles
laying their eggs on the beach outside
the pueblo at night. Tortuguero is a
primary Atlantic nesting site for the
green turtle, but if you come early in the
turtle season you might even be lucky
enough to sea a larger-than-life
Leatherback turtle. There are guided
tours every night during this season. We
recommend a guide from the Guides
Association found at the central dock. If
you plan on seeing the turtles, you
should bring some dark clothing, comfortable walking shoes, and rain gear if it looks like
it might rain. Flashlights and cameras are not allowed on the beach.
NOTE: During turtle season, you must have a registered tour guide with you to be
allowed on the beach itself. This is regulated by Tortuguero National Park and the Turtle
BABY TURTLES HATCHING
If you come to Tortuguero from November to early January, you may not be able to
see the big turtles, but you will be able to see a nest of baby turtles make their first run to
the ocean. There are nests all along the beach, and if you go walking on the beach
during the early morning or late evening when the sun is not hot, you are likely to stumble
across some. You can do this independently, but there are also tour guides who will help
you spot some for a fee. Please do not support guides who dig up the baby turtles before
they are ready to hatch. This puts the underdeveloped turtles at increased risk.
(click here to see the tour operators)
A Guided Canoe or Boat Tour through the canals is the best way to see the wildlife in
the jungles surrounding Tortuguero.
Tortuguero is surrounded by rivers and
canals on all sides. If you elect to go on
a tour through the small canals, you will
be able to get close to nature and see
many of the land, air, and water species
for which Costa Rica is famous, including
monkeys, cayman, river turtles, iguanas,
and many different species of birds.
There are many amazing guides in the
village who can help you spot the
animals and tell about the abundant
exotic flora and fauna. Tours are offered
in canoe and in small motorboats. If you
are the independent-type, you can also
rent a canoe from one of the tour agencies that provide this service, get a map from
the National Park station, and set out on your own. But you are guaranteed to miss a
ton of wildlife if you go on your own. The guides are experts in finding wildlife.
(click here to see the tour operators)
Strolling Through the Jungle
Tortuguero National Park has a well
maintained walking trail, called the Gavilan Trail
through the jungle. It is about 2km in length.
The trail entrance/ending is at the
Tortuguero National Park which is located on the
far south side of the village (just follow the main
street until it ends at the park entrance. See
map.) The park guards are friendly and helpful.
You must rent rubber boots if the trails are
muddy (which if often, it is a rain forest after all!)
You will be able to get really close to some
amazing natural beauty and wildlife. There are also many tour guides who will take
you on very informative tours through the park and help you spot the more elusive
Hike up Tortuguero Hill
Tortuguero Hill is the highest point on the
Caribbean side of the country (approximately
119 meters high). It rises at the edge of
small community called San Francisco which
is about a 10 minute boat ride from
Tortuguero. You can find a good tour guide in
Tortuguero, which would be a good idea, as
the trail can be a little difficult to find. There
are also many people in San Francisco who
are happy to serve as guides on this
unforgettable hike. On a clear day you can
see a very nice areal view of Tortuguero and
the surrounding areas. The hike typically
lasts about 2 hours round trip. The hill can
be very slippery and muddy, bring good shoes and bug repellent!
Sea Turtle Conservancy Museum
The Sea Turtle Conservancy (formerly the
Caribbean Conservation Corporation) is located at the
far north end of the village (see maps) At their visitor's
center, they have a small museum to interactively learn
about the nesting cycle of the turtles, as well as facts
about other wildlife and development here in
Tortuguero. The staff are friendly and helpful, and will
answer any questions you have.
There's a small gift shop here, and all the proceeds
go toward conservation and turtle protection. The museum is open daily from 10am to
noon and 2 to 5:30pm. On Sunday the museum closes a half-hour earlier, at 5pm.
There's a $1 admission charge, but more-generous donations are encouraged.
Explore the Village of Tortuguero
Tortuguero is a unique, beautiful
village with a rich culture. Because there
are no cars, you will walk worry free.
Sandy trails and raised cement
walkways wander through the town.
Don't be afraid to explore them! The
town is small enough that you are not
likely to get lost, but if you’re worried,
print a copy of our map, or ask a local
where you want to go. Most people are
extremely friendly and will enjoy an
opportunity to practice another language
(if you don’t speak Spanish).
You'll see a lot of typical Caribbean architecture and artwork on the homes, as well
as get a glimpse into the lives of the local people. There are also many tour guides that
will show you around for a fee. They have a deep knowledge of the history of the town
and the surrounding areas.
Take a Dip in the Ocean
Playing on the beach is always fun. And the sand
is perfect for sand castles.
But many of the tour books tell you not to swim on
the beach here. However, many of the locals go
swimming all the time (never deeper than they can
touch). If you'd like to cool off, you should not venture
deeper than you can firmly stand against the waves.
There has never been a reported shark attack in
Tortuguero. Also remember, the sun is VERY strong here. Be sure to bring good
sunscreen and reapply often.
If you want souvenirs, you will find many shops with
some truly amazing artwork and jewelry along the main
street that follows the river front (See the map).
If you have already been traveling through Costa Rica,
you have probably noticed that most souvenir shops
throughout the country carry the same mass produced
But Tortuguero is unique because the majority of the
souvenir shops are actually owned by the artist who
provides their own creative art and souvenirs. Their are
many truly amazing artists and jewelry makers, each with their own shops and their own
style. You will also find a couple shops with the standard souvenirs and artwork.
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