From San José, Costa Rica,
take the Guapiles highway toward the
city of Limon. Near Limon, at the Bay of Moin, is the beginning of a
canal which leads northward through the Cariari National Wetlands and
the wilderness area of Tortuguero National Park. Boats are available in
schedule early morning departures only.
Tortuguero is one of Costa Rica's most
popular National Parks. It is a
wilderness area with great biological variety. The wildlife is rich and
with eleven different defined habitats. These include high rainforest,
woodland, slope forest, swamp forest, holillo forest, herbaceous swamp
herbaceous lagoon. Mammals, birds and fish are numerous.
The habitats for which Tortuguero
National Park is most famous are the coastal and marine areas. Strong
currents have provided a long, straight 22 mile expanse of beach which
a favored nesting ground for sea turtles. Hawksbill, loggerheads,
and Pacific Green turtles
nest from July through October. The Leatherback , the largest sea
species in the world, nests from February to July.
is an abundant natural resource with up to 240 inches of rainfall per
year. An infinite number of interconnected channels,
waterways, lagoons and lakes are fed by rivers that carry their inland
load to the coast. Occasionally, the sediment filled plain is
by forested rolling hills, composed of ancient volcanic cinder cones,
as Tortuguero Hill and the Lomas de Sierpe, which looms over 1,000 feet.
The south end
of Tortuguero National Park is bordered by the mouth of the Parismina
River, and the Cariari National
Nestled between these two
large parks, at the mouth of the Tortuguero
you will find the town of Tortuguero, as well as the Dr. Archie Carr Wildlife Refuge,
which operates a biological station and turtle tagging program run by
the Caribbean Conservation Corporation.
Park Facilities and Hours
There are three park
stations within Tortuguero National Park, open for visitor attention
from 8am to 4pm.
Cuatro Esquinas Headquarters
has camping available. It is at the
end of the park, in the town of Tortuguero. You must pass through here
get access to the beach area. Three trails are in this area: The
Gavilan Trail leads southward through the forest about a mile and
on the beach. A short walk north along the beach brings you back to the
La Ceiba and La Bomba trail take you up Tortuguero hill, to a
which provides a scenic vista of the region.
The Sector Jalova Station
is on the south end of the park, near
Lagoon, north of the town of Parismina. The El Tucan Nature Trail
at the station and parallels the Cano Negro waterway. Two other
provide short nature hikes, Tragon and La Ranita Roja.
The Aguas Frias Station
is on the western border of the park.
can reach it by turning north off the highway at Guapiles, and driving
the town of Cariari, Pococi. The Los Raudales Nature Trail leads to the
lookout point (1,000') at Lomas del Sierpe.