Limon, Costa Rica
A lowland wilderness on Costa Rica’s northern coast, Tortuguero National Park lies between the Caribbean and a dense maze of jungle canals. Its 22 miles of protected black sand beaches are one of the world’s greatest sea turtle nesting sites. (Tortugua means “turtle.”) Loggerhead sighting are the rarest, and giant leatherbacks the most magnificent. Growing as long as 6 feet and weighing 1,000 pounds, the latter nest from October to March. Though endangered, green and hawksbill turtle are the most common – they can be seen from July through October. Hundreds clamber ashore at the same time, dig a nest and lay their eggs, and disappear back into the sea. The hatchlings crawl out 7 to 10 weeks later and make it past the birds, crabs, sharks, and human pollution to reach adulthood. And yet that some of them do – and return to lay the next generation – is the magic of Tortuguero.
Reachable only by small plane or boat, the 47,000-acre Totuguero National Park has charms that go beyond turtles. You can tour its warren of canals and inland waterways, home to manatees, river otters, spider monkeys, three-toed sloths, and 300 species of birds. Indeed, this park features a biodiversity that is often dubbed the “Amazon in miniature.”
Though the area is remote, comfortable lodging is available, most notably Tortuga Lodge & Gardens, which lures guests with its great food, a beautiful pool, and rich wildlife in the 50 acres that surround the lodge. The newest accommodation is the Manatus Hotel, with stylish, air-conditioned rooms and amenities you won’t find anywhere nearby, including an excellent restaurant and a lovely little spa.
WHERE: 140 miles/225 km northwest of San Jose.
BEST TIME: Jul – Oct for opportunities to view turtle nesting and hatching.
EXPERIENCE: this through Experiential Travel Journeys. Please Call us or Email us.