Tortuguero is one of the world's most famous places for viewing sea turtles, and it lives up to its reputation. The National Park protects about 20 miles of pristine beaches where turtles nest and 46,815 acres (18,946 ha) of land. The population of sea turtles seriously declined due to the poaching of eggs and the hunting of adults for meat in turtle soup, but due to conservation and breeding efforts, the turtles are making a big comeback. The adjacent Pacuare Reserve also provides exceptional access to turtles. Here you'll explore the area by boat, canoe, and foot, discovering some of the 300+ bird species, and possibly an elusive jaguar, tapir, or even manatee that live in Tortuguero's nutrient-rich waters. Contact one of our Costa Rica experts for help planning your Costa Rica trip.
Sea Turtles are the star of the show in Tortuguero. Even the name comes from Spanish meaning "person who collects turtles", which, by the way, is strictly prohibited these days after generations of poaching and declines in turtle populations.
Now, the turtles of Tortuguero are recovering in population after significant efforts to protect the beaches where they breed from poachers and predators. Dr. Archie Carr of the Univ. of Florida started studying turtles here in 1995, and his studies still continue today.
Here are the three species commonly seen on Tortuguero's beaches:
Green Sea Turtles (tortuga Verde in Spanish, Chelonia mydas mydas ),
Hawksbill Turtles (tortuga Carey in Spanish, Eretmochelys imbricata)
Leatherback Turtles (tortuga Baula in Spanish, Dermochelys coriacea)