Purest life in the “place for turtles”

Enjoy the quiet and spellbinding views at Tortuguero National Park

Astonishingly, around 22,500 green turtles nest off the idyllic and secluded shores of Tortuguero every year. 

This makes Tortuguero National Park - a protected area of 77,032 acres that encompasses beaches, rainforests, and waterways - one of the world’s most important Green Turtle nesting sites.  

Wildlife enthusiasts visiting at just the right time could also spot a variety of other turtles along Tortuguero’s coastline: loggerheads (July-October), hawksbills (March-October) and leatherbacks (April-November) are all known to frequent these bountiful beaches. 

Located along the Caribbean coast, the high rainfall levels here make this tropical environment so rich. Freshwater meets the sea and creates an abundance of biodiversity in and along Tortugeuro's various canals and lagoons.  

This means that for travellers, the best way to see most of this mammoth park is by boat, as the marked trail along the beach is mainly used for observing the turtles’ nesting. 

Adventure travellers should board a kayak or canoe to meander with the waterways on the lookout for monkeys (howler, spider and capuchin), spectacled caiman, southern river otters or even the highly endangered West Indian manatee. With dozens of bird species and over 50 species of freshwater fish to spot as well, there's an incredible amount to see.

That’s because the colourful Tortuguero Village is located inside the park itself, allowing humans and wildlife to live in harmony. And although Tortuguero isn’t an island, it certainly feels like it. This remote destination is only accessible by boat or plane.  

Getting to Tortuguero is part of the adventure. Board a boat from the town of La Pavona (a 2.5-hour drive from San Jose), which takes about 1.5 hours. Alternatively, fly from San Jose to Tortuguero airstrip - conveniently located just outside town. The flight takes 40 minutes, and the birds-eye view of the surrounding forests and waterways means the window seat is well worth fighting for.  

Just one visit to this laidback fishing town and you’ll soon understand why it was named Tortuguero - or “place of turtles”; the relaxed locals of this Afro-Caribbean-influenced village live and breathe the “Pura Vida” lifestyle. There’s just no purer life than one which appreciates nature.  

Your Luxury Tortuguero Trip Ideas

Wayfairer's Costa Rica's Caribbean Coastline itinerary features three nights in Tortuguero. Here, you'll have the chance to follow quiet trails to turtle nesting sites and kayak up the Tortuguero River.

Where to stay in Tortuguero

Tucked between the winding Tortuguero River and luscious plantation-style gardens, Tortuga Lodge is an idyllic place to stay. It is the only lodge in the area with its own private nature reserve. From turtle spotting or twilight hikes, there’s lots to see and do here.  

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