Northern Caribbean – Tortugero Travel Guide
Within the Caribbean province of Limon lies a secluded yet rich Northern region. It’s complete with verdant and dense forests, winding rivers and canals. You’ll also find tranquil lagoons, delicate swamps and a myriad of exotic flora and fauna.
Being the wettest region of the country, there is never a shortage of more species of vegetation than one can imagine. Dotted with tiny fishing villages, this area is a picturesque beacon of Ecotourism in Costa Rica and a prime example of the positive outcome of conservation efforts. Most notably, this region’s untouched and protected beaches serve as the nesting grounds for several species of turtles. This region is considered the home to more green sea turtle births than any other part of the world.
Come visit the Northern Caribbean for its raw, natural beauty and quiet, remote lifestyle. Revel in the biological diversity of the wildlife and plant life of this protected area. Enjoy discovering various species of birds, fish, iguanas, frogs, sloths, and much more. Learn about the history of conservation in the area during your vacation in Costa Rica and explore the famous Tortuguero National Park.
Tortuguero National Park
If you desire to truly escape from it all and get in touch with nature, Tortuguero National Park is a great stop during your Costa Rican adventure. Sometimes referred to as the “Amazon of Central America,” Tortuguero is a true eco-friendly treasure that provides visitors a unique opportunity to explore nature and wildlife. Located in the Northern Caribbean, Tortuguero is a small town atop a sand bar island. It is surrounded by various canals and only accessible by boat or plane. A boat ride along the serpentine canals of Tortuguero will reveal a dense tropical forest filled with an impressive biological diversity.
Land of the Turtles
Known as “The Land of the Turtles,” Tortuguero is a principal nesting spot for four different species of sea turtles, two of which are endangered. Each sea turtle species has its own prime season for hatching, but July to October can be good months to see the turtle nests hatch. Check out the night time turtle watching tours offered by the local lodges to see the turtles at their prime nesting time.
Tortugero National Park
The national park at Tortuguero is the third most-visited national park in Costa Rica. There is a plethora of biodiversity within the park due to the presence of 11 unique habitats. These habitats include swamp, rainforest, beaches and more.
Arguably the best area in the country to appreciate wildlife in its natural habitat, it’s common to see various species of monkeys, birds, lizards, sloths, and frogs. Caimans, crocodiles, and jaguars are also common sights in Tortuguero. Should you be lucky on your Tortuguero adventure, you may even see one of the manatees that live in the rivers of the area. If you want to experience unparalleled biodiversity in a majestic and ecologically-friendly manner, look no further than Tortuguero!
Tortuguero town is only a tiny village atop a sand bar island in the Northern Caribbean, but it packs a wealth of flora and fauna.This sleepy Caribbean town is a wonderful example of the benefits of ecotourism and conservation. Dr. Archie Carr began work on the study of sea turtles in Tortuguero in 1955 and assisted in creating the Caribbean Conservation Corporation. The CCC has carried out the research and conservation program since its founding in 1959, and the results of two ground-breaking studies prepared by CCC staff in May 2004 emphasize how incredibly successful the cornerstone of the organization’s conservation work has really been.
While the Tortuguero town is quite small, the people are friendly and the scenery is second to none. The town features a fascinating mix between indigenous cultures and Afro-Caribbean cultures. You can sometimes hear people speaking Creole English or their native languages while in the area. The town is also a great place to browse a wide variety of beautiful handmade crafts and souvenirs that make perfect gifts for friends and family back home. Tortuguero does have a very rainy climate, sometimes reaching 250 inches of rainfall per year, so don’t forget your umbrella!
We offer shared shuttles from Puerto Viejo, Arenal and San Jose to get to the Tortuguero area. We can also arrange any form of Costa Rica private transportation for you. Should you be staying in the Southern Caribbean for the duration of your trip, we also offer transportation through Moin, which is very scenic. You will embark on a motor boat safari adventure through the canals and mangroves of the Tortuguero region. This is an excellent tour to see wildlife and the canals.
For those who would like the full Tortuguero experience, we also offer multiple-day trips to Tortuguero. With these tours, simply choose the Tortuguero lodge of your preference and the lodge will then provide your transportation to and from San Jose, your lodging, food and tours. Transportation to and from Puerto Viejo or Arenal is not included in the tour, but can be added at an additional charge. The tours you will take in Tortuguero include a trip to the Caribbean Conservation Corporation, a tour of the Tortuguero town, a tour of the local canals, and a tour of the Tortuguero National Park. Whichever way you choose to discover Tortuguero, you are in for a once in a lifetime experience!
Located in the Northern Caribbean Region is the lush green forest of Sarapiqui. Sarapiqui is a canton belonging to the province of Heredia and features several crystal clear and refreshing rivers, such as the Sarapiqui River. Should you arrive at Sarapiqui via San Jose, you will first venture through the mystical Braulio Carrillo National Park. Even from the highway, the views of Braulio Carrillo are nothing short of incredible.
In this area there is a juxtaposition of lush rainforest and misty cloud forest. Not long after driving through the tunnel of Zurqui, the meeting point of two major mountain ranges causes two distinctive rivers to converge into one. The crystalline waters of the Hondura River merge with the yellow/brown waters of the Sucio River. The Sucio River draws it unique color from the sulfur runoff of the highest point of the Irazu Volcano. This is a wonderful spot to rest briefly and take advantage of this photogenic area.
Continuing along the highway, there is no shortage of breathtaking views and vegetation. Once you arrive in the Sarapiqui area, you will be greeted by verdant forests and banana plantations. Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui (not to be confused with Puerto Viejo de Limon in the Southern Caribbean) once served as an old port town. Due to the joining of the Puerto Viejo River and Sarapiqui, this area is becoming a hotspot for adventure seekers and nature aficionados.
This area puts travelers in close proximity to several amazing adventures, such as whitewater rafting on the Sarapiqui, the famous Peace Waterfall Gardens, and Poas Volcano, to name a few.
Don’t forget to check out our Adventure Combo tour of rafting and canopy. With transportation to and from San Jose included, this is an excellent one day tour option. Once you arrive to the Sarapiqui region, get ready to soar through the forest canopy in an exhilarating zipline tour for which Costa Rica is famous.
After your canopy tour, enjoy a nice lunch before heading to the crystal clear waters of the Sarapiqui River. This river consists of class II and III rapids and is an ideal rafting trip for those of all experience levels.