Turtles & Tortuguero
Day 1 San José (1B,1L,1D)
Early morning pick-up from your hotel in San Jose for the drive out of the central highlands and down to our river port, stopping for breakfast on the way. Pass from the high cloud forest of Braulio Carrillo National Park down to the flat agricultural lowlands, filled with pineapples, rice, cattle, and banana plantations. After driving through various banana plantations, hop on board a lancha (boat) for your journey through the remarkable Tortuguero canals to our comfortable jungle lodge. On the boat ride we may see herons, egrets, spoonbills, as well as amphibians and reptiles like the “Jesus Lizard” (it walks on water) and caimans. The tropical rainforest gives way to prime beaches, ideal nesting grounds for green, loggerhead, hawksbill and leatherback turtles. The latter nests from mid-March to May, the rest from July to September. Tortuguero National Park was created in 1975 to protect the four species of sea turtles which nest along these beaches. The Caribbean Conservation Centre, just outside of town, is an excellent source of information about the turtles and their tropical habitat. After lunch visit the sleepy Afro-Caribbean village of Tortuguero, take an optional hike or relax by the pool.
Days 2-3 Tortuguero (2B,2L,2D)
Wake early to the sounds and sights of the jungle as it comes alive. Enjoy guided hikes or an early morning canal tour to experience the jungle at its most active. Visit COTERC, the Canadian Biological research station to learn about the incredible biological diversity of the area. After lunch enjoy a relaxing afternoon at the lodge or sign up for optional guided tours such as kayaking, horseback riding, a canopy tour or a climb up muddy Cerro Tortuguero (Tortuguero Hill) for a great view over the park. Day 3 is a full day to enjoy Turtle Beach Lodge and its incredible surroundings. Take time to explore the gardens, beach and pool, or sign up for an additional tour (for a fee) with your guide. Speak with your guide for times and other options. During nesting season (June-August), a night excursion to see the nesting of the giant turtles is optional and arranged locally.
Day 4 San José (B,L)
After an early morning breakfast it is time to make your return journey back to San José. Return south, back through steamy jungle canals and natural rivers to the port and transfer to the Turtle Bus. Have lunch on the road, returning to San José between 2 and 5pm, depending on weather and traffic.