Things to do
Things To Do In and Around Tortuguero
Don’t Miss: Turtle Tours  Canal Tours  Stroll through the jungle in the National Park  Hike Tortuguero Hill  Turtle Museum at the   Sea Turtle Conservancy Walk or tour the village  Take a dip in the ocean Souvenir Shopping
Turtle Tours ATLANTIC GREEN SEA TURTLES AND LEATHERBACK TURTLES If you come to Tortuguero between April and October, you can have an opportunity to see giant sea turtles laying their eggs on the beach outside the pueblo at night.  Tortuguero is a primary Atlantic nesting site for the green turtle, but if you come early in the turtle season you might even be lucky enough to sea a larger-than-life Leatherback turtle. There are guided tours every night during this season. We recommend a guide from the Guides Association found at the central dock. If you plan on seeing the turtles, you should bring some dark clothing, comfortable walking shoes, and rain gear if it looks like it might rain.  Flashlights and cameras are not allowed on the beach. NOTE:  During turtle season, you must have a registered tour guide with you to be allowed on the beach itself.  This is regulated by Tortuguero National Park and the Turtle Scout Program. BABY TURTLES HATCHING    If you come to Tortuguero from November to early January, you may not be able to see the big turtles, but you will be able to see a nest of baby turtles make their first run to the ocean.  There are nests all along the beach, and if you go walking on the beach during the early morning or late evening when the sun is not hot, you are likely to stumble across some.  You can do this independently, but there are also tour guides who will help you spot some for a fee.  Please do not support guides who dig up the baby turtles before they are ready to hatch. This puts the underdeveloped turtles at increased risk. (click here to see the tour operators)  
Canal Tours     A Guided Canoe or Boat Tour through the canals is the best way to see the wildlife in the jungles surrounding Tortuguero. Tortuguero is surrounded by rivers and canals on all sides.  If you elect to go on a tour through the small canals, you will be able to get close to nature and see many of the land, air, and water species for which Costa Rica is famous, including monkeys, cayman, river turtles, iguanas, and many different species of birds.  There are many amazing guides in the village who can help you spot the animals and tell about the abundant exotic flora and fauna.  Tours are offered in canoe and in small motorboats.  If you are the independent-type, you can also rent a canoe from one of the tour agencies that provide this service, get a map from the National Park station, and set out on your own. But you are guaranteed to miss a ton of wildlife if you go on your own. The guides are experts in finding wildlife.  (click here to see the tour operators)  
Strolling Through the Jungle     Tortuguero National Park has a well maintained walking trail, called the Gavilan Trail through the jungle.  It is about 2km in length. The trail entrance/ending is at the Tortuguero National Park which is located on the far south side of the village (just follow the main street until it ends at the park entrance. See map.) The park guards are friendly and helpful.  You must rent rubber boots if the trails are muddy (which if often, it is a rain forest after all!) You will be able to get really close to some amazing natural beauty and wildlife.  There are also many tour guides who will take you on very informative tours through the park and help you spot the more elusive wildlife.  
Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
Hike up Tortuguero Hill     Tortuguero Hill is the highest point on the Caribbean side of the country (approximately 119 meters high).  It rises at the edge of small community called San Francisco which is about a 10 minute boat ride from Tortuguero.  You can find a good tour guide in Tortuguero, which would be a good idea, as the trail can be a little difficult to find.  There are also many people in San Francisco who are happy to serve as guides on this unforgettable hike.  On a clear day you can see a very nice areal view of Tortuguero and the surrounding areas.  The hike typically lasts about 2 hours round trip.  The hill can be very slippery and muddy, bring good shoes and bug repellent!  
Sea Turtle Conservancy Museum     The Sea Turtle Conservancy (formerly the Caribbean Conservation Corporation) is located at the far north end of the village (see maps)  At their visitor's center, they have a small museum to interactively learn about the nesting cycle of the turtles, as well as facts about other wildlife and development here in Tortuguero.  The staff are friendly and helpful, and will answer any questions you have.  There's a small gift shop here, and all the proceeds go toward conservation and turtle protection. The museum is open daily from 10am to noon and 2 to 5:30pm. On Sunday the museum closes a half-hour earlier, at 5pm. There's a $1 admission charge, but more-generous donations are encouraged.  
Explore the Village of Tortuguero     Tortuguero is a unique, beautiful village with a rich culture.  Because there are no cars, you will walk worry free.  Sandy trails and raised cement walkways wander through the town.  Don't be afraid to explore them!  The town is small enough that you are not likely to get lost, but if you’re worried, print a copy of our map, or ask a local where you want to go.  Most people are extremely friendly and will enjoy an opportunity to practice another language (if you don’t speak Spanish).  You'll see a lot of typical Caribbean architecture and artwork on the homes, as well as get a glimpse into the lives of the local people.  There are also many tour guides that will show you around for a fee.  They have a deep knowledge of the history of the town and the surrounding areas.   
Take a Dip in the Ocean     Playing on the beach is always fun.  And the sand is perfect for sand castles. But many of the tour books tell you not to swim on the beach here.  However, many of the locals go swimming all the time (never deeper than they can touch).  If you'd like to cool off, you should not venture deeper than you can firmly stand against the waves.  There has never been a reported shark attack in Tortuguero. Also remember, the sun is VERY strong here.  Be sure to bring good sunscreen and reapply often.  
Souvenir Shopping     If you want souvenirs, you will find many shops with some truly amazing artwork and jewelry along the main street that follows the river front (See the map).  If you have already been traveling through Costa Rica, you have probably noticed that most souvenir shops throughout the country carry the same mass produced souvenirs.  But Tortuguero is unique because the majority of the souvenir shops are actually owned by the artist who provides their own creative art and souvenirs.  Their are many truly amazing artists and jewelry makers, each with their own shops and their own style.  You will also find a couple shops with the standard souvenirs and artwork.  
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Things to Do