Tortuguero National Park

Tortuguero national park is both secluded and well-visited. Thousands from all over come to the shores of the park, located along the Caribbean on the northeastern side of the country, to see the protected nesting sites of the green sea turtles and hawksbill turtle, who lay their eggs in the black sand beaches here every summer. Leatherbacks, loggerheads and other types of turtles are scarce in comparison, but also call the shores home.

Located in one the rainiest parts of the world, Tortuguero national park also contains the land surrounding the beaches, 75 square miles of dense forestation, canals, lagoons and other assorted waterways. Here you can find hundreds of endangered or threatened species, though they are often hard to spot in the mysterious and impermeable forests. Many of the animals found here are still being threatened, however - by fruit plantations, logging companies and by hordes of cattle who use the grounds near the park gates for grazing. But it"s the turtles that give Tortuguero national park its namesake (Spanish for "turtle catchers") and why most visitors brave the murky rain and difficult, jungle-like terrain.

Tortuguero national park is usually visited through one of the numerous tour packages available. This takes care of lodging, transport and sometimes food (not the easiest things to come by in this remote section of Costa Rica, and that"s putting it diplomatically), and guides are usually provided for treks that take you along the Tortuguero Canal, as the entire park is accessible (legally) by boat alone. The canals are a welcome entryway into the fascinating park, though only a narrow hint of jungle along a few of the canals keeps away the tour boats found traversing the nearby Caribbean Sea.

Independent travelers can also partake in this amazonian landscape by staying in the nearby Tortuguero Costa Rica. A primitive and secluded village, there are no roads, no cars, and no banks. But there are lodges and hotels for visitors to stay at, and many can arrange a trip into the park for a service fee. The village also has a beach of its own, and a collection of tasty restaurants to go with it, allowing you a far different (and likely cheaper) atmosphere to explore the park. Get there by catching a boat heading north from Limon or Moin.

With it"s prime location between a canal and the Caribbean, Tortuguero Costa Rica is also the base for a number of fishermen. There is, of course, no fishing allowed in the protected waters of the national park, but for tarpon fishing Tortuguero Costa Rica is one of the nicer places to use as base of operations. The preferred fish for gamesmen for decades are found year-round here - and are commonly in great supply, due to their habit of traveling in giant schools. When it comes to tarpon fishing Tortuguero is the place to stay.

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