In 1975 the Costa Rican government established Tortuguero National Park to protect the sea turtle population, which had been decimated after centuries of being aggressively hunted for its eggs and carapaces. This is the best place in Costa Rica to observe these magnificent creatures nesting, hatching, and scurrying to the ocean. The July-through-October nesting season for the green turtle is Tortuguero's most popular time to visit. Toss in the hawksbill, loggerhead, and
leatherback—the three other species of sea turtle who nest here, although to a lesser extent—and you can expand the season from February through October. You can undertake night tours only with an authorized guide, who will be the only person in your party with a light, and that will be a light with a red covering. Photography, flash or otherwise, is strictly prohibited. The sight of a mother turtle furiously digging in the sand to bury her eggs is amazing, even from several yards away, and the spectacle of a wave of hatchlings scurrying out to sea is simply magnificent.
Tortuguero, 70205, Costa Rica
Jul 5, 2004
My short trip here in September was very interesting and worthwhile. The turtles were laying their egss at night in the sand. The hikes and boatrides in the rivers and canals were also very interesting, considering the insects, birds, animals, etc. The noises at night and in the early mornings around the lodge are quite an experience. You can fly or take a combination of boat & bus/car to reach the area.