Tortuguero, which translates to "Land of the Turtles", is the nearest village to Turtle Beach Lodge. Situated on the Northern Caribbean side of Costa Rica, in the province of Limon, it is approximately 90 miles northeast of the capital city of San José. Accessible only by air or water, it has a number of shops and restaurants and is sustained primarily by eco-tourism. The region is the most important nesting site in the entire western half of the Caribbean for the green turtle.
Tiny Tortuguero airport annually welcomes tens of thousands of travelers from around the world and the area is the third most visited in Costa Rica. About 1000 people live in the general area and a few hundred reside in the village proper. There are no cars or buses, no horns or fumes and little noise except for people going about their daily lives.
The village is situated adjacent to the 47,000 acre Tortuguero National Park, which is part of the larger Tortuguero Conservation Area. In addition to the park, it encompasses several other wildlife refuges and protected zones in the province and has been designated a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
The area offers a unique mix of lush lowland rainforest, mirror-surface black-water canals and rivers, the volcanic Cerro Tortuguero and stunning, secluded Caribbean volcanic sand beaches. The park has over 400 trees species and 2200 other plants. Rainfall averages 197 inches (5.000 mm) per year, but it can go up to 236 inches (6.000 mm) in some parts. Elevation goes from sea level to 1.020 feet (311 meters) at the top Tortuguero Hill (Sierpe Hill).
Annual Rainfall: 200 inches (5000 mm) or more
Average Day Time Temperature: 87°F (31°C)
Average Night Time Temperature: 69°F (21°C)
Average Daily Temperature: 78°F (26°C)
It rains a lot in Tortuguero. The driest months are February/March, and September/October. Often, it rains during the night and the days are sunny and clear until 3:00 PM or so. Other times it may rain for 15 days straight. Turtle Beach Lodge provides ponchos and rubber boots for you, but bring along rain gear just in case. Just don’t let the rain prevent you from going out and exploring – it is all part of the adventure!
Average Rainfall in Tortuguero*
*Source: Costa Rica National Weather Service
Birders will find 309 bird species; approximately half of Costa Rica's identified birds. A good checklist is HERE.
There are four types of turtles that make Tortuguero their nesting ground - the majestic leatherback turtle, the biggest sea turtles; the green turtle which is most abundant in the Park; the loggerhead turtle, and finally the hawksbill turtle. The Caribbean Conservation Corporation (CCC), maintains a reasearch program here - the John H. Phipps Biological Field Station which was founded by Dr. Archie Carr in the 1950s. COTERC, a Canadian organization for tropical research also maintains a year round research station, just down the canal from Turtle Beach Lodge and a tour of either facility can be scheduled as part of your stay.
The park is home to endangered jaguars, tapirs, manatees and monkey species. Other wildlife includes caiman, sloths, monkeys, bats, iguanas, crocodiles, kinkajous and zorros as well as a an amazing diversity of fish, insects, amphibians and reptiles.
Turtle Beach Lodge is located 5 miles north of the town of Tortuguero.