Tortuguero National Park is a protected area in Costa Rica. It was established in 1975 and occupies 120.5 square miles. The park is located north of the Caribbean coast and is a popular nesting grounds for sea turtles. It is also home to an endangered species of turtles called green turtles. The best way to navigate through the Tortuguero National Park is by using boats, canoes, and kayaks. In addition to the awesome sight of turtles, the park is surrounded by a dense rainforest. The forest is home to many Howler, Spider, and Capuchin monkeys and 375 bird species. The birds include kingfisher, parrots and blue herons.
Tortuguero National Park is the third most visited park in Costa Rica. It is located within the Tortuguero Conservation Area. The park can only be accessed by air or by riding in a boat. It is a great destination for nature lovers and is sometimes compared to the Amazon Jungle. The nickname is due to the fact that the waterways of Tortuguero National Park can only be navigated through boats, just like Amazon Jungle. The rustic accommodations, which are available, make the trip to Tortuguero National Park adventurous as it resembles a trip to the jungle.
The major tourist attraction in Tortuguero National Park is the turtles. There are different types of turtles namely green sea turtles, leatherback turtles, and Hawksbill turtles. Tourists need guides to walk them through the park, especially in the night. The most spectacular sight to behold is the newly hatched turtles racing to the sea. Tourists visit the Tortuguero National Park all year round. However, it is important to note that the nesting seasons are July to October for Hawksbill and Green Sea turtles. On the other hand, the Leatherback turtles nest from February to April.
Tortuguero National Park is made up of 19,000 hactares of protected land. The habitats exhibited in the area include marine, freshwater riverine, estuary, beach, marine, and tropical lowland rain forest. It rains throughout the year in Tortuguero National Park with an estimated 6,000 mm of rain annually. The three wettest seasons in the park are June, July, and December. In addition, the average temperatures are 26ͦ C. Some of the tree species which commonly grow in Tortuguero National Park are mangroves, passion fruit, banak, and crabwood.
The major threats to the Tortuguero National Park are turtle hunting and egg poaching. The green sea turtles are hunted by humans for meat and turtle soup. On the other hand, the poaching of eggs is done because it is believed that the eggs possess aphrodisiac qualities. Other threats include changes of river course, deforestation, and siltation. These threats are being curbed by the regulations that have been put in place to guide public use of the park. In addition, the park’s administration occasionally organizes workshops to train locals on ways they can be involved to ensure safety and conservation of the park.