The fertile Atlantic coast slope drains into the Caribbean Sea at Costa Rica´s remote northeastern border with Nicaragua, along the San Juan River. Here, the Barra del Colorado Wildlife Refuge and the 20,000 hectare Tortguero National Park, do their bit to protect their famous networl of canals, tributaries and the vast green, alluvial plain.
Dark brown waters in the 160 km of inland canals crisscorress untamed, low-lying forest and mangrove swamps of the northeast region, allowing traditional means (motor boats) of transportation between tiny villages and plantations. The Amazon-like canals provide a window on the environment and are a wonderful wat to see birds, monkeys and other wildlife. Of the 16 endangered mammals in Costa Rica, 13 of them are found in the parks or nearby. The 405 bird species recorded here, dwarft the number found in th entire European continent.
Tortguero is the most important site of nesting grounds in the wester half of the Caribbean for the green turtle (Chelonia mydas). Other species of sea turtles that also loft along the canal of the park, are the Hawksbill and the Leatherback. The Green Turtle is medium size, long-finned and weighs between 100 and 200 kilograms.
Tortuguero is one of the rainest regions of Costa Rica (between 5,000-6,000 mm per year) and is one of the wilderness areas with the greatest bilogical variety. 11 Habitats have been identified in the park. Within the vegetation is found Coconut palms, Wild Tamaridno, Prioria copaifera, fern, water hyacinth.
Somo reivers and reservoirs are habitat for some species or turtles too, manatees, alligators and crocodiles.
Within the variety of fauna species is easy to found: Monkeys, birds, tapir, jaguar, three toed sloth, White face monkey, spider monkeys, and the red howler monkey (named Congo)
Routes to Tortuguero
There are many transportation alternatives to go to Tortguero. Either by plane or from the city of Limón, but the most common route used by travellers is to take a bus or car and go to route 32 from San Jose to Limón.
After 60 minutes you can reach the town of Guapiles. From here take the road toward the city of Cariari. If you are traveling by car, follow this route until teh village La Pavona. The tourist that travels by public bus transportation, can take another bus to be taken directly to La Pavona dock, in an estimated time of 45 minutes.
La Pavona is the last point where you can access the area by car if you are going to Tortuguero. The village has a pier and a restaurant. In the same place there is a contatc flow of buses and both private and public service. From there, the nly means of transportation to the final destination is by boat.
The boat trip from the Tortuguero river to Suerte River lasts around 1 hour and 30 minutes. During the trip you can appreciate natural walls of vegetation, characteristic if this Caribbean region and if in a moderate or slow speed boat, you will be able to see lots of animal life such as birds, lizards, monkeys, among others giving as a preview of what you will find in Tortuguero National Park.
If you are traveling from tortuguero National Park to Arenal Observatory Lodge, please check the route on this map
Enjoy this amazing destination… and as we always say:
«Leave nothing but footprints…Take nothing but pictures…kill nothing but time»