Things to do in Tortuguero
Tortuguero is one of Costa Rica’s most unique regions, home to the Tortuguero National Park and located on the vibrant Caribbean coast. As the name suggests (Tortuguero means ‘Turtle’s Place’), it is famous for its lively turtle populations that come to the beach between July and October to lay their eggs.
The village is set on a secluded sandbank with a black sand beach on one side and a river on the other. The endless rainforest that surrounds Tortuguero stretches all the way to the horizon, making it one of the most spectacular environments. All things to do in Tortuguero!
take part in the night walk
Night walks are one of the most exciting things to do in Tortuguero National Park. It is usually collected at your hotel (or meet up with your travel agent) before you hop on a boat to take you deep into the rainforest. Upon arrival there, your tour guide will venture out in the darkness illuminated only by flashlights, pointing to floor and floor-to-be-found marvelous animals such as snakes, the famous red-eyed frog, and various types of spiders. tree.
This tour only operates during the off-season, not during the main turtle nesting season in July-October. This is because turtles are greatly disturbed by the sound of people’s flashlights and footsteps, which creates unnecessary stress when nesting.
Tours can be booked online from anywhere in Tortuguero city. It is recommended to book at least two days in advance for most tours. You must meet at the office or request pickup from your hotel. Mosquitoes are most active at night, so don’t forget to bring repellent.
Tortuguero Beach may not be your typical white-sand paradise, but it’s still beautiful in its own way. The black sand beach is a fantastic haven for turtles that nest here in July-October. There are many magical sights to see, from baby turtles on the beach and sharks in the water to the colorful toucans of nearby palm trees.
Sadly the beach is not safe to swim due to the strong currents and the high risk of shark attack. However, it is a great place to stroll and observe the canals that run along the beaches and various wildlife.
Most people come to this area to see the beauty of Tortuguero National Park. However, the town of Tortuguero is also a picturesque place and is the perfect place to stay for a trip. Cute houses painted in all the colors of the rainbow are very small, about a 15-minute walk from start to finish. The town runs along the main street where you can find a few restaurants and travel agencies.
Enjoy the laid-back nature with dinner on the riverbank while the sun goes down!
Even out of turtle season, Tortuguero is still a great place to visit. However, most people try to schedule a visit between July and October to nest the turtles. During this time, hundreds of turtles crawl ashore, dig holes in the sand and lay their eggs. Babies are born two to three months later and make their first steps to the beach and the sea.
Tortuguero is famous for this amazing sight, especially as an important site for endangered green sea turtles. You can also spot species such as Hawksbill, Loggerhead and Giant Leatherback.
If you want to know more about turtles Sea Turtle Sanctuary Museum. The center is small but has a lot of information about all kinds of turtles. You can also volunteer at the Turtle Conservancy for a week and help protect and conserve this amazing animal species.
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During peak season, turtle tours are available at night (usually from 8pm to midnight). Please wear black and be very quiet during the tour. Also, photography is prohibited. This is because it interferes with the turtle while nesting or hatching.
Tortuguero National Park
Visit Tortuguero National Park, a natural paradise full of unique flora and fauna and amazing wildlife. Nicknamed the ‘Amazon of Costa Rica’, this beautiful and expansive rainforest spans 300 kilometers and lies between a canal and the sea. As the waterways lead to the sea, a rare mix of salt and fresh water is home to unique wildlife (you can see over 400 different species of birds here!). Best of all, this remote wilderness can only be reached by boat because there are no roads, creating some of the most serene environments on the planet.
How to Visit Tortuguero National Park
Join an organized tour and your guide will take you on an adventure through the forest, pointing out sloths, snakes and monkeys of all kinds, including howlers, white-faced and spiders. You can also see colorful birds such as toucans, parrots and kingfishers. A jaguar was spotted inside the town at night during our visit!
can visit Tortuguero National Park Choose one of several hiking trails on your own. However, if you want to see as much wildlife as possible, it is best to visit with a guide, as sometimes you may miss the more elusive ones. Always have plenty of insect repellent on hand. There are many bugs in the rainforest, which can make for an itchy experience!
Opening hours and entrance fees: $15 USD for non-resident adults (credit, debit or cash accepted). The park is open from 6:00 am to 4:00 pm and lunch is from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm. Tortuguero National Park is open year-round.
morning canoe ride
Mist whirls through the dark green trees, wading through the still waters, monkeys howl and toucans pierce the still air. This is all about canoeing in Tortuguero!
This bucket list experience is an amazing way to reach hidden corners of the park that you cannot otherwise reach. And without a motor, the peace is unparalleled, allowing you to get up close and personal with cayman and alligators, iguanas, toucans and colorful lizards. You can rent a canoe to go alone, or join an organized canoe tour to learn more about the park and incredible nature.
How to visit Tortuguero
A visit to Tortuguero is a fantastic experience in itself! It cannot be reached by land, only by boat or light plane. We recommend taking a boat and sailing for an hour along the enchanting river through the jungle to reach the village and point out the Cayman and crocodiles along the way, making your trip already a mini-tour experience!
Boat information from La Pavona to Tortuguero
The boat departs from La Pavona, where you can park your car at security for USD 10 per day. Round-trip tickets are USD 20 per person.
You can take your luggage with you when you board the boat. However, to make your trip a lot easier, we recommend that you take only what you need for a night in Tortuguero.
It seems there are several companies with different timetables. Below is what we held. We took the last boat to Tortuguero and had a nice sunset boat ride.
- La Favona to Tortuguet: 7am, 9am, 11:15am, 12:40pm, 3:15pm, 4pm
- Tortuguero to La Favona: 4:45am, 6:40am, 8:40am, 10:40am, 1:30pm
Boating (La Favona)
The road to La Pavona is a bit long but straightforward. It is a 2.5 hour drive from San Jose and a 2.5 hour drive from Puerto Viejo. If you are planning to rent a car in Costa Rica, we recommend using Sunny Cars as all insurance is already included in the price shown on the website. No hidden costs!
If you don’t have a car, it’s best to join an organized tour from La Fortuna, San Jose or Puerto Viejo to Tortuguero National Park. This tour will collect you from San Jose or other cities and includes all transportation. Also included is a 1-2 day tour of Tortuguero National Park and accommodation.
Tortuguero is a small town, so it’s easy to walk. If you choose to stay in a hotel further away from town, you will most likely be on a different peninsula. Because of this, you may need to check if your hotel has a shuttle boat service that will take you to town. Tour companies depart from the town of Tortuguero and take you to the national park (via boat) and the beach is within walking distance.
Where to Stay in Tortuguero
Two nights is the perfect period to stay in Tortuguero. This allows you to see all the fantastic nature. The trip to this area is quite long, so shorter isn’t worth it.
You can speak outside the villages on other islands. However, in this case you can only get to the town by water taxi. Staying at this jungle lodge is a special experience and well worth the water taxi ride or if you’re happy to dine at the hotel.
type: Tortuguero’s WiFi connection is fine. However, if you are looking for fast WiFi, I recommend buying a SIM card in Costa Rica.
Mawamba Lodge in Tortuguero
Mawamba Lodge is located on the same peninsula as the village and is a 10-minute walk away, making it the perfect place to stay. Best of all, it’s right next to the Turtle Conservancy. From the window you can see the river on one side and the beach and sea on the other, and you can hear monkeys and birds chirping at night. This is a truly magical experience!
How much does a Tortuguero cost?
In Tortuguero, expect to pay 30 USD for a hotel room. Most things to do in Tortuego have an entrance fee. For example, Tortuguero National Park and canoe tours. Costa Rica accepts payments in USD and colons.
- Hotel: 30 – 200 USD/night
- Hostel: 15 – 80 USD per night
- Price per meal: 8 – 35 USD per night
- Fee: ~ 30 USD/day
Best time to visit Tortuguero, Costa Rica
Unlike other parts of Costa Rica, Tortuguero does not have a specific dry season. The rainforest is one of the wettest areas in the country, with almost rain all year round! September and October are generally the driest and suitable for turtle nesting season (July to October).
It’s still worth a visit outside of the turtle hatching season, as there are so many notable animal species to see in the area. But if you get the chance, seeing the eggs hatch and the baby turtles come out for the first time is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
The best cafes and restaurants in Tortuguero
Soda is a local restaurant that offers rice, beans, plantain and other local delicacies at very affordable prices (about $4). If you want international food, you have to pay 8 USD or more.
- Soda D’Leite (local)
- buda cafe
- el patio
- Mi Niño (breakfast and local food)
- Dolling Bakery