Costa Rican Caribbean is a treat to all your senses. The different shades of green mixed with the sounds of calypso and reggae are intertwined with the smells of coconut and spices.
At Elemento Natural we offer you a unique trip in October. Come join us in Costa Rica`s Caribbean experience!
About twenty minutes after leaving San José, we will drive into Braulio Carrillo National Park. Ranging from high-altitude cloud forests to lowlands tropical rainforest, this park has one of the highest levels of biodiversity in Costa Rica. We will continue to Guápiles, and from there to Tortuguero National Park, the gateway to Costa Rica´s Caribbean.
Tortuguero National Park is located on the Caribbean coast of Limón province, about 80 km northeast of the city of the same name. The Costa Rican legislature declared Tortuguero as a National Park in November 1975 to protect the nesting of the sea turtles, the beach and the adjacent terrestrial habitats. It has an area of 26.256 hectares in the land part and 50.160 in the marine zone.
There are no roads to Tortuguero. Access is by boat from Moín near Puerto Limón or from La Pavona Port or Caño Blanco. It can also be reached by a small plane from San José. In order to visit Tortuguero National Park we will embark you on a river boat that will take you along Costa Rica’s north Caribbean coast through an extensive system of canals. Tortuguero, also called “the Amazonian Costa Rica” is one of the most fascinating and popular destinations in our tour.
Tortuguero literally means “land of turtles”. It is no wonder that they are the main attraction of this National Park. Green (Chelonia mydas mydas ), leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) and hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) sea turtles nest on these beaches. Green sea turtles neared extinction due to hunting of the adults for meat (they are easy prey when they nest) for turtle soup, and poaching of eggs. The nesting season for leatherback and green turtles goes from July to October. If lucky enough, you might just get to watch turtle hatchlings emerging from their nests and racing into the ocean.
Dr. Archie Carr of the University of Florida formed the Caribbean Conservation Corporation (now called The Sea Turtle Conservancy) in 1959 to study and protect sea turtles, and the turtle-tagging program he began at Tortuguero in 1955 continues until today.
The park has an important biological diversity due to the existence within the reserve of eleven different habitats, including: rainforest, mangrove forests, swamps, beaches, and lagoons. The park was recognized under Ramsar Convention on 1991 for its rich biological diversity and ecosystems (especially wetlands) that support threatened flora and fauna species. The wildlife in this area is very diverse, there are usually large populations of monkeys, amphibians, birds and fish. The resident wildlife includes tapirs, jaguars, sloths, frogs, macaws, toucans and bats.
This is one of the rainiest areas of Costa Rica, and even in the dry season afternoon showers are common. Rain is between 5,000 and 6,000 mm per year. We can distinguish two types of rain: that of short duration which is the most common, and the tropical downpour rain characteristic of the Caribbean that may last up to 15 days. The latter is usually caused by winds from the north and northwest, related to existent low pressure systems.
You will also have some time to stroll through the little town of Tortuguero and the museum of the green turtle, during the afternoon. The park has worked closely with the neighboring village to help its inhabitants understand that preserving their natural resources is key to encourage eco-tourism and sustainable development.
Sylvia León Koberg for Elemento Natural.