Tortuguero National Park is truly a paradise for any lover of nature. Here you will come across undeniably gorgeous rivers and waterways that invite you to paddle deep into the jungle in an incredible experience. Boasting over 400 species of bird life such as toucans, herons and macaws; as well as spider and howler monkeys, sloths, caimans, and otters; Tortuguero is a fantastic destination for spotting wildlife.
However, dazzling rainforest and exquisite canals are only part of the stunning scenery Tortuguero has on offer, with gorgeous Caribbean beaches acting as a nesting site for various species of turtles, there is plenty to keep you in awe. During nesting season, the area hosts nightly guided tours of nesting areas. While nesting sea turtles visit the park throughout the year, the greatest numbers arrive in April (Leatherbacks), July (Hawksbills) and September (Greens). Tortuguero is a crucial nesting site for Green Sea Turtles, which lay eggs here from June to October.
THE CARIBBEAN COAST: Puerto Limón, Cahuita, and Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Often overlooked by travellers, Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast is renowned for its laid-back life-style, palm-fringed beaches, and incredible wildlife preserves.
The main port of the Caribbean, Puerto Limon is recognised as the heart of Afro-Caribbean culture in Costa Rica. Puerto Limon’s laidback vibes, delicious cuisine and famous surfing, have beckoned travellers to this port town for years. While here, visitors can raft the Pacuare and Sixaola rivers, sport fish, zip-line, and tour the Sloth Sanctuary. Acting as a gateway to the nearby breath-taking Cahuita National Park, and the surf haven of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Puerto Limon is the ideal starting point for exploring Costa Rica’s invitingly chilled Caribbean coast.
Cahuita National Park
South of Puerto Limon lies Cahuita National Park. Originally created to protect Costa Rica’s largest coral reef, Cahuita National Park is brimming with marine life. Home to manta rays, sharks, sea turtles and over thirty coral species, Cahuita is the ideal destination for divers and snorkelers, offering visitors crystal-clear visibility. After discovering the remarkable beauty of the Caribbean’s underwater world, spend a day or two unwinding on Cahuita’s gorgeous sandy beaches. . Here you will find long, wide beaches shaded by coconut palms and lapped by warm, clear waters.
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Farther south of Cahuita, the string of beaches continues, stretching over 30 km, with the beach town of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, acting as a mecca to surfers throughout the Caribbean. Home of the Salsa Brava – Costa Rica’s famous 20 ft wave that crashes ashore from Dec. to March and June to July – Puerto Viejo waves offer skilled surfers a true challenge. For anyone after a wildlife encounter, be sure to visit the wonderful Jaguar Rescue Centre in Playa Chiquita or the brilliant Bribri Kikoldi Iguana Project, while chocolate lovers can visit the Tirimbina Rainforest Centre’s cacao plantation.