Tortuguero on your Tour of Costa Rica
Tortuguero National Park is a popular way to dive in depth into the natural wonders of Costa Rica. For this reason, it is often a stop on grander tours of Costa Rica as a whole, and even on tours that include other countries. Popular combinations include tours of Costa Rica and other Central American countries, like , Cuba, and Guatemala.
The longer tours are a great way to get a better feel of Central America as a whole, and enrich your Costa Rica trip with cultural and adventure activities, instead of focusing on simply observing wildlife. On the other hand, if you have spent multiple days racing between archaeological ruins and soaking up extensive histories, or been bouncing between heart-racing zip lining and bungy jumping activities, Tortuguero is the perfect, relaxing break on your trip.
Tortuguero National Park Weather
The entire Tortuguero Conservation Area is a tropical climate, so you can expect warm weather (temperatures are generally in the mid-80’s Fahrenheit) and humidity and no matter the time of year. There is consistent rain year round, although September is technically the driest month of the year, though you should still pack a rain jacket if you visit then!
What to Wear in Tortuguero
Because of the likelihood of rain, you should definitely pack a light rain jacket, or consider buying a poncho. A pair of closed-toe shoes, like sneakers, and sandals will work for most of your needs. Tortuguero lodges are also notorious for their rentals of rubber rain boots (“wellies”) if you are concerned about packing the bulky, waterproof item.
Because it can be cooler in the morning and in the evenings, make sure to pack light layers you can easily put on or remove. Synthetic and lightweight materials are preferred, since they will do best in the strong humidity and dry quickly after rain.
Also make sure to bring a bathing suit! Although the ocean is restricted for swimming within the National Park, and you will probably want to avoid the caiman in the canals, your accommodation will probably have a pool, and there are public beaches.
Birdwatching Tours in Tortuguero
Although turtles at Tortuguero’s namesake, and most well known attraction, there is also an incredible abundance of other wildlife. This extends to birds -- there are over 300 species of birds in this small part of Costa Rica, making it one of the best destinations for birders.
A trip to Tortuguero is a great way to catch a glimpse at migrating birds, as well as a long list of local residents. To bird inside of the park, the best (and really only way) to catch a glimpse at some birds is to take a flat bottom boat through the various water canals in the rainforest on a guided, birdwatching tour.
However, there are still many habitats around the park, and probably your lodging, to go look for birds as well. Most birders split their time between the park, and outside habitats (including rice fields, transition zones, and the beaches) in this way.
Some of the highlights in this area include six different species of kingfisher, harpy eagles, sungrebes, tiger herons, king vulture, great green macaws, resplendent quetzales, toucans, various flycatchers, and many more.