Though Tortuguero National Park is home to monkeys and caimans, it’s the multiple species of wild sea turtles that give this park its fame. Here on remote, Caribbean beaches completely devoid of development, clusters of Green and Hawksbill turtles will lay their eggs in the sand, as do Leatherback and Loggerhead turtles that move in the cover of darkness. For the chance to encounter turtles on shore, visit as part of a multi-day tour and head to the beaches at night, where you’ll scan the sand for turtle tracks using only the beam of a flashlight. Aside from the evening turtle sessions, highlights of visiting the National Park including boating the freshwater lagoons, where canals and networks of inland rivers provide a pristine habitat for over 300 species of birds. Even the town of Tortuguero is a literal sight in itself, where a tiny community of around 500 residents exists in a town that’s free of cars or roads to the outside world. Despite the degree of remoteness, however, Tortuguero National Park is one of the country’s most popular, and is possible to visit as a part of an all-day tour from San José.
The nesting season for Hawksbill and Green sea turtles is from July through October, and Leatherback turtles tend to nest in the months of February-April. Because of the difficult logistics and access, it’s recommended you visit the park as part of a guided tour.
Did You Know? Tortuguero National Park receives over 20 feet of rain per year.