Parque Nacional Tortuguero

Source: Roxana Silman, coordinator in Costa Rica for Caribbean Conservation Corporation (CCC).

About
Tortuguero National Park is located in the northern region of the Caribbean coast on Limon province. Tortuguero beach within this park is the most important spawning site in the Western Hemisphere for the green turtle (Chelonia mydas), and is also a spawning site for the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), the hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) and the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta). This activity together with the biodiversity of its marine and coastal habitats and the afro-caribbean culture, make this zone one of the most attractive places.

Monitoring and tagging programs by the Caribbean Conservation Corporation (CCC) also take place at this site, which has generated a great advance in studies and conservation of the species described above.

¿How to get there?
Access to Tortuguero is by plane or boat. If the trip is made by bus, you must reach Moín and from there take one of several boat services that transport visitors between Moín and Tortuguero through 30 km of rivers and canals. The other option is by bus and boat through La Geist o La Pavona. In San José, you must take a bus to Cariari at least at 9:00 am, at the "Greater Caribbean" station (located next to Kamakiri Complex), then from Cariari to La Geist Banana Plantation or La Pavona.

There are few buses from Cariari to La Geist every day (12:00 m.d. y 2:00 p.m.). At the last stop, a boat captain must be hired, and there are several operators for this. Captains always wait for the Cariari bus before leaving for Tortuguero.

If you wish to travel by plane, flights from San José to Tortuguero leave every morning from Tobías Bolaños Airport (Nature Air) and Juan Santamaría Airport (SANSA). The flight duration is of 30 minutes.

Planning the visit
The best months to visit Tortuguero are between March and June, in order to observe the spawning of the leatherback turtles and between July and October to watch the green turtles.

The peak of the nesting season for leatherbacks is in April and in August for the green turtles. Access to the beach must be made accompanied by authorized local guides, which are at the place.

Different tours are available through to the Tortuguero canals to observe the great biodiversity of the zone, for which an authorized local guide is hired. The community and the marine turtles benefit highly by ecotourism in Tortuguero and this has generated great conscience in the population about the importance of the conservation of ecosystems in the zone.

Food and lodging
Currently, there are several cabins and restaurants in the Tortuguero locality. Some of them are the Miss Junie Cabins (telephone: 2709-8102), and Casa Marbella (telephone: 8833-0827). For more information about other sites, visit webpages http://www.hotels.co.cr/ or http://www.govisitcostarica.com/

¿Volunteer work?
If you wish to perform volunteer work in the zone and help the conservation and protection projects, you may obtain more information by visiting the CCC webpage www.cccturtle.org or calling by phone at the Volunteer Association ASVO [(506) 8843-2324 / 2258-4430/ 2233-4989.

Contacts
Caribbean Conservation Corporation (CCC)
Tortuguero telephones: 2709-8091 ó 2709-8125
San José: 2297-5510

Airlines in Costa Rica (domestic flights):
 / ©: Carlos Drews/WWF LAC
Green turtle nesting
© Carlos Drews/WWF LAC

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