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Tortuguero, a secluded Costa Rican gem, is tucked between dense rainforest and the Caribbean Sea, with no roads leading to the outside world. Here, you are completely lost in nature. Known for its sea turtle watching, especially during nesting season, Tortuguero is a must for wildlife fans. Its rich biodiversity extends beyond turtles, with sightings of various animals in their natural habitats. It also combines elements of adventure and wellness, with the guest lodges and beach ideal for relaxing and letting go of daily life’s stresses.

Good to Know:

  • Getting There: Getting to Tortuguero can be quite an adventure. Flying is the quickest but more expensive option. Alternatively, a boat trip from Moín is a budget-friendly option that allows you to enjoy the scenic views.
  • Getting Around: Once in Tortuguero, guided tours are the primary means of exploration. These tours ensure you don’t miss the hidden gems and will keep you safe from dangerous wildlife or getting lost.
  • Where to Stay: Beachfront lodges offer relaxing stays with rooms overlooking the Caribbean Sea, perfect for unwinding after a day of adventure.
  • How Long to Visit: Whether you’re planning a day trip from San Jose or Puerto Limon on a guided tour or opting for a more extended stay of 4-7 days to see more of the area.
  • When to Visit: If you want to see a sea turtle, plan your visit for March through May or September and October. However, Tortuguero’s diverse ecosystem makes for a rich year-round experience with various activities and sights.
  • Similar Destinations: If you are fascinated by Tortuguero and would like to explore similar destinations, consider visiting the Amazon Basin for another intense rainforest experience or the Galapagos Islands for unparalleled wildlife encounters.


Kayak or Canoe Tour:

Glide through the waterways of Tortuguero in a kayak or canoe to truly connect with its pristine nature. This is a quiet way to explore the dense rainforest that flanks the rivers and canals. As you paddle through the waters, you may spot colorful birds, caimans, and even the occasional sloth hanging from the trees. The guided tours provide insightful commentary on the local flora and fauna, ensuring you learn something along the way.

Rainforest Tour:

A guided rainforest tour in Tortuguero is an unforgettable experience that puts you in the heart of this ecological paradise. These tours take you through dense foliage where the air is filled with the sounds of nature, from the calls of exotic birds to the rustling of monkeys in the trees. Expert guides will help you spot various wildlife, including toucans, howler monkeys and perhaps even the elusive jaguar, while explaining the ecosystem and the importance of conservation. The diversity of plant life is also a highlight, with opportunities to see rare orchids and towering ancient trees. Another great way to see the rainforest is on a night tour when the jungle comes alive, with sounds and movements rarely seen during the day. The experience of walking through the jungle at night is exciting, with the possibility of seeing bats, owls and the fascinating red-eyed tree frogs. You’ll use your flashlights to spot the reflective eyes of night creatures following your every step.

Ziplining with Tortuguero Adventures:

For adrenaline junkies, the zip line tour offered by Tortuguero Adventures is an exhilarating way to experience the rainforest from above. The course features a series of ropes and platforms designed to give you a thrilling ride while keeping you safe with top-of-the-line equipment.

Fishing Tour:

The area’s waterways teem with various fish, including snook, tarpon, and more, making it an ideal spot for those looking to reel in a big catch. Guided fishing tours provide the equipment and local knowledge to help you find the best fishing spots. These tours offer the thrill of the catch and the opportunity to learn about the local aquatic ecosystem and sustainable fishing practices.

Chocolate Tour with Casa Cecropia:

If you’re curious about the process of making chocolate, the Cacao Tour with Casa Cecropia is a fun and educational experience. This tour takes you through the journey of cocoa, from bean to bar, in the luscious surroundings of Tortuguero. You’ll learn about the history of cocoa in the region, the growing process, and the traditional methods of harvesting and processing cocoa beans. The hands-on demonstration includes tasting the different stages of cacao and the final chocolate product, highlighting the rich flavors that make it a favorite treat all around the globe.

For Foodies:

Start your day at Dorling Bakery for breakfast with a view. This oceanfront bakery serves a variety of baked goods, fresh coffee, and local specialties, allowing you to enjoy your meal while admiring the beauty of the Caribbean Sea. The relaxed atmosphere and friendly service make it the perfect place to plan your day’s adventures. For an evening to remember, make reservations at the Katonga Floating Restaurant. This fine dining experience is unlike any other, beginning with a boat ride to the restaurant, which floats on the water as its name suggests. The menu features gourmet dishes incorporating local flavors and ingredients, offering a taste of the region’s culinary diversity.

Turtle Watching:

One of Tortuguero’s most famous experiences is Turtle Watching Tours, which offers a rare opportunity to observe sea turtles in their natural habitat. Depending on the time of your visit, you may witness these majestic animals laying their eggs or the magical moment when the eggs hatch and the newborn turtles make their way to the sea. These tours are conducted at night to minimize disturbance to the turtles, and guides ensure that all interactions are respectful and not harmful to the animals.

Hike Cerro Tortuguero:

Cerro Tortuguero is the highest point in the region. This moderate hike takes you through the dense rainforest and gives you more chances to observe the diverse flora and fauna that thrive here. Reaching the top of Cerro Tortuguero is an accomplishment that rewards hikers with breathtaking views of the rainforest, the Caribbean Sea, and the winding canals of Tortuguero. The hike is best done in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the day’s heat, and it’s essential to bring water, snacks, and insect repellent.