Tortuguero sits on the northeast coast of Costa Rica on a rainforest-covered sandbar. This unique environment combines two of the country's biggest draws: powdery beaches and lush jungles. Tortuguero is also home to the Sea Turtle Conservancy, making it an ideal place to watch turtles nest and hatch. Explore the area's rich history and biodiversity with kayaking, boating, and hiking, all of which offer opportunities to see Tortuguero's famed wildlife.

Getting Oriented

Enjoy exploring Tortuguero's unique waterways.

Tortuguero sits on Costa Rica's Northern Caribbean coast, surrounded by sandbars, rainforest, and narrow waterways. It's the perfect place for a little exploration and adventure, especially if you want to experience the country's renowned wildlife, as Tortuguero National Park covers nearly the entire area. Some beloved animals that call Tortuguero home include several species of sea turtles, plus jaguars, tapirs, manatees, monkeys, toucans, sloths, and various exotic birds, amphibians, and insects.

You can experience wildlife sightings while hiking through the jungle, boating on the canals, and kayaking through the narrow waterways. Talk to locals and learn what it's like to live in this area of Costa Rica and hear more about how Tortuguero spearheaded much of the country's conservation and ecotourism movement.

Cultural Tortuguero

Learn more about Tortuguero's culture by meeting with the locals. You'll hear how and why the community shifted from turtle hunting to turtle conservation.

Turtle Hatching & Nesting

Depending on the time of year, watch mother turtles nest and view baby turtles hatching on the beach.

Tortuguero National Park is a maze of arterial waterways ready to be explored! Start the turtle adventure with a canoe ride. As you glide through the water, keep an eye out for manatees, spectacled caimans, river otters, and rare birds. After reaching the beach, enjoy watching the baby turtles hatch and make their way out to the sea. Or, if you prefer, you can visit the beach at night to view mother turtles laying their eggs. Read More

History & Culture of Tortuguero Village

Learn all about Tortuguero's fascinating past and modern transition to ecotourism.

Most visitors focus their time in Tortuguero on wildlife, understandably. However, the history and culture of Tortuguero Village are equally as fascinating. Although this Caribbean outpost had a rocky start, today, the settlement and region are pioneers of Costa Rica's famed ecotourism. The town shifted from turtle hunting to turtle conservation and spearheaded much of the country's dedication to preserving wildlife, ecosystems, and cultural traditions. Read More

Hiking & Boating

The best way to see all the natural appeal that Tortuguero offers is while hiking or boating through its vast network of canals and jungles.

Tortuguero Night Hike

Catch glimpses of the jungle's nocturnal creatures with a night hike.

Nighttime is when many of Costa Rica's critters come to life, which makes a night hike near Tortuguero National Park a magical experience. After a short boat ride, you'll make your way through walking paths and witness the jungle's sounds, sights, and atmosphere change before your eyes. Although there are many nocturnal species to see, it's most common to view moths, crickets, spiders, frogs, bats, sloths, porcupines, nocturnal birds, and caiman. Read More

Hiking Cerro Tortuguero

The highlight of Tortuguero is, arguably, the views atop Cerro Tortuguero!

Enjoy a challenging hike to the top of Cerro Tortuguero, the highlight of the region. Although you'll only gain about 400 feet, it's quite a climb from the flat jungles. The views atop the hill are worth the effort! Enjoy breathtaking 360-degree views of the Caribbean lowlands with their vast, complex network of rivers fanning out to the horizon. Along the way, you might catch glimpses of monkeys, sloths, and wild cats. Read More

Natural History Boat Excursion in Tortuguero National Park

Morning or afternoon, the waterways of Tortuguero offer quite a peaceful scene.

Explore the waterways of Tortuguero National Park on a boating excursion led by a professional naturalist. Choose from morning or afternoon, which offer different opportunities for wildlife viewing. In the morning, animals forge for their first meal of the day. And in the evenings, activity peaks before the jungle falls asleep. Glide through backwater creeks and lagoons as your guide points out the best flora and fauna the park has to offer. Read More

Kayaking Tortuguero National Park

Enjoy the sounds and sights of the jungle as you paddle silently through canals.

By kayaking through the canals of Tortuguero National Park, you allow yourself a better opportunity to hear and view the wildlife of the rainforest. Plus, you can access a part of the park reserved for non-motorized boats, adding to this unique experience. As you glide silently through the waterways, let your naturalist guide point out the flora and fauna of the jungle. You might see and hear monkeys, toucans, manatees, river otters, and more. Read More

How to Craft the Perfect Tortuguero Itinerary

Discover the wildlife that calls Tortuguero home.

You could easily visit Tortuguero for your entire vacation and experience much of what Costa Rica has to offer. Plus, most of the hotels in Tortuguero, including unique boutique hotels, offer packages that include tours. You have an abundance of wildlife, gorgeous beaches, hiking trails, and a dense jungle waiting to be explored in the area. Of all the regions in Costa Rica, the Caribbean coast has a bit of everything. Still, Tortuguero combines nicely with some other areas of the country.

How many days you spend in Costa Rica depends on how many regions you want to see and what activities you'd like to enjoy. However, a good rule of thumb is reserving at least four or five full days in the country. But because Tortuguero pairs nicely with other national parks, such as  Arenal, Corcovado, Manuel Antonio, plus Monteverde, consider giving yourself at least one week in Costa Rica. Two weeks is ideal, though, as you'll need time to make your way between different regions.

Past kimkim travelers have enjoyed the following itineraries that include experiences in Tortuguero: