Tortuguero National Park is found at the northern end of Costa Roca's Caribbean coast. It includes 20 miles of beach, important as one of the main locations used by sea turtles to lay eggs. It is comprised of thick rain forest and with annual rainfall of c. 250 inches per year it is criss-crossed with rivers and streams, as well as swamp and bog. The only ways to get into the park are by boat or plane.
Created in 1977 it covers over 77,000 acres of forest, as well as extending several miles out to sea to help protect the 4 species of sea turtle in the region - Green, leatherbacks, loggerheads and Hawksbill. During the egg-laying season its possible to walk at night, with trained guides on the beach to watch the egg-laying.
There is one village in the park and it gives its name to it. Tortuguero used to exist by hunting turtles and selling their meat and shells. Now, in a great example of conservation and eco tourism, they provide the guides to the park, as well as being the only place you can find a guest house to stay in the park other than the dedicated lodges that are built in the rainforest.
These lodges offer 2-3 night packages in the park, often starting with transfers from San Jose and including all meals and activities. These include walks on the forest, where you can see sloths and toucans amongst a myriad of other wildlife, boat trips, night time turtle tours and trips to the village.
Our verdict: Am amazing experience, to see the turtles on this unspoilt shoreline. Look out for the amazing toucans, but remember your raincoat. You'll get wet..