Meet your guide at your hotel early in the morning (between 5:30am and 6:30am, depending on your hotel location - ask your sales agent for estimated pickup time) and hit the road to Tortuguero National Park. We stop on the way for a delicious Costa Rican breakfast and visit a banana plantation (time and weather permitting) where we learn about banana processing and packaging. Once you get to the port, hop on board the comfortable lancha (boat) for your incredible journey through the remarkable Tortuguero canals to your jungle lodge. Tortuguero National Park was created in 1975 to protect the four species of sea turtles which nest along the beaches. Our three-hour boat ride along rivers and canals starts just outside the town of Limón and ends in the village of Tortuguero, near the park perimeter. 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 June, the rest from July to September. The Caribbean Conservation Centre, just outside of town, is an excellent source of information about the turtles and their tropical habitat. After lunch take an optional visit to Tortuguero, a small village made up of Hispanic, Miskito Indian (Nicaragua) and Afro-Caribbean people. Enjoy dinner to the sounds of forest at the Turtle Beach Lodge (or similar.
Join an early guided canal tour and experience the awakening of the jungle surrounding the canals as the animals start their day before returning back to the lodge for breakfast. Later, take a walk through the jungle with your guide, learning about plants, insects, and medicinal uses of both. During nesting season (June-August), a night excursion to see the nesting of the giant turtles is optional and arranged locally. Please note that you will need to pay a 10USD Tortuguero National Park entrance fee while on tour.
After an early morning breakfast it is time to make your return journey back to San José. Travel south, back through steamy jungle canals and natural rivers to the port. Have lunch on the road, returning to your San José hotel between 2 and 5pm, depending on weather and traffic.