Things to do in Tortuguero

Tortuguero is one of the most remote locations in Costa Rica. There are no roads into this area and no cars in the village, so all transportation is by boat or foot. Most of the lodges are spread out over several kilometers to the north of the village of Tortuguero on either side of the main canal; the small airstrip is at the north end of the beachside spit of land. At the far northern end of the main canal you'll see the Cerro de Tortuguero (Turtle Hill), which, at some 105m (345 ft.), towers over the area. The hike to the top of this hill is a popular half-day tour and offers some good views of the Tortuguero canals and village, as well as the Caribbean Sea.

Tortuguero Village is a tiny collection of houses connected by footpaths. The village is spread out on a thin spit of land, bordered on one side by the Caribbean Sea and on the other by the main canal. At most points, it's less than 300m (984 ft.) wide. In the center of the village you'll find a small children's playground and a soccer field, as well as a kiosk that has information on the cultural and natural history of this area. There's also a new information center in town across from the Catholic church. This is a good place to go if you're desperate for an Internet connection and e-mail services.

If you stay at a hotel on the ocean side of the canal, you'll be able to walk into and explore the village at your leisure; if you're across the canal, you'll be dependent on the lodge's boat transportation. However, some of the lodges across the canal have their own network of jungle trails that may appeal to naturalists.

The most popular attraction in town is the small Caribbean Conservation Corporation's Visitors' Center and Museum . While the museum has information and exhibits on a whole range of native flora and fauna, its primary focus is on the life and natural history of the sea turtles. Most visits to the museum include a short, informative video on the turtles. 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.

In the village, you can also rent dugout canoes, known in Costa Rica as cayucos or pangas. Be careful before renting and taking off in one of these; they tend to be heavy, slow, and hard to maneuver, and you may be getting more than you bargained for. Miss Junie rents more modern, and lighter, fiberglass canoes for around $10 for the half-day.

There are a couple of souvenir shops on the main footpath near the center of the village. About 182m (597 ft.) of this path was recently paved with concrete. The Jungle Shop donates 10% of its profits to local schools and is open from 9am to 5pm. Paraiso Tropical Gift Shop is open from 8:30am to 6pm.

The most popular attraction in town is the small Caribbean Conservation Corporation's Visitors' Center and Museum . While the museum has information and exhibits on a whole range of native flora and fauna, its primary focus is on the life and natural history of the sea turtles. Most visits to the museum include a short, informative video on the turtles. 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.

In the village, you can also rent dugout canoes, known in Costa Rica as cayucos or pangas. Be careful before renting and taking off in one of these; they tend to be heavy, slow, and hard to maneuver, and you may be getting more than you bargained for. Miss Junie rents more modern, and lighter, fiberglass canoes for around $10 for the half-day.

There are a couple of souvenir shops on the main footpath near the center of the village. About 182m (597 ft.) of this path was recently paved with concrete. The Jungle Shop donates 10% of its profits to local schools and is open from 9am to 5pm. Paraiso Tropical Gift Shop is open from 8:30am to 6pm.

 

 

 

 

 

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