Tortuguero National Park
One of Costa Rica’s rainiest and most biologically diverse regions in the country, Tortuguero has often been referred to as Costa Rica’s Amazon. A natural system of canals and navigable lagoons, of great scenic beauty, cross the park from the southwest to northwest. The region is the most important nesting site in the western Caribbean for green turtles, with leatherback and hawksbill turtles also nesting along the Atlantic beaches that parallel the inland canals. The region’s tropical climate and rich, biological diversity helps form a habitat that hosts over 300 bird species, including the beautiful green macaw. Basilica lizards, manatee, poison dart frogs, crocodiles and three different species of monkey, is just a small sample of what can be observed here.
The Tortuguero Ranger Station resides along the Tortugero River, at the southern end of town. There’s a single trail that departs from behind the ranger station, though it’s not very long. Several other trails within the park exist, but you’ll need to hire a local guide to get you there, and it’s not a good idea to go unaccompanied. For those who like to paddle, dugout canoes of varying sizes can be hired in town. Canoes/kayaks provide an ideal opportunity to get close and personal with the many monkeys, lizards and birds that inhabit the canals. The slower, quieter canoes will not disturb the animals the way larger, engine powered launch does.
Due to its humidity and abundance of rainfall there are tons of insects, so Tortugero is not a good place to visit without copious amounts of insect repellent.