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Source: Paul Lepoutre, “La Tortuga Feliz” Organization.

The Pacuare Riverbank is a Biological Reserve located on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, at the northern part of Limon province. This is an important nesting site for the leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) and green (Chelonia mydas) turtles. There is also occasional nesting by the hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) and loggerhead (Caretta caretta) turtles on this beach.

The conservation program is guided by the “Tortuga Feliz” a non-profit organization, which seeks the protection of endangered marine turtle species and the improvement of living conditions of the community in this place. The objective is to establish an economical income for the population through ecotourism and volunteer programs, so that trade in turtle eggs becomes unnecessary.

How to get there?
This place can only be accessed by boat, since it's surrounded by water. A bus must be taken to Matina in Battan, and a taxi must be taken from Bataan center to the place where boats leave, some 20 minutes away. The trip may be coordinated through the Happy Turtle Association. for more information visit webpage, or contact the by phone 8378-6934 during the day at around noon.

Planning the visit
The best months to observe the leatherback turtle spawning are February through June. In June you may also be able to see the turtles hatching. If you want to observe the green or loggerhead turtles, the nesting season runs from July to October and the season peak is in the months of August and September. Upon arrival you must contract a local guide service which will guide the tour to observe the turtle spawning.

Food and lodging
There are not many places for lodging at Pacuare Riverbank. There's the “Tortuga Feliz” project cabins, which may be contacted through their webpage or by phone at 8378-6934. If volunteering, the project provides food and lodging for the volunteers for a basic fee. There's also the “Quelonios del Caribe” Station, which offers lodging and may be contacted at 8386-0764 for more information or by email at

Volunteer work?
This project survives thanks to the volunteers, so offers of volunteer work are much appreciated in Pacuare. The volunteer program has a minimum stay of 14 days. For more information and reservations you may visit webpage

  • The "Tortuga Feliz":
  • "Quelonios del Caribe": telephone 8386-0764 and talk to biologist Roberto Solano.
Tortugas baula (<i>Dermochelys coriacea</i>) camuflando su nido. 
© WWF / Carlos DREWS
Leatherback turtle hiding its eggs.
© WWF / Carlos DREWS