Tortuguero is a small town located on a lengthy sandbar covered in rainforest. Its name means ‘turtle catcher’ after the abundant turtle populations that come to nest on the sandbar’s beaches. Tortuguero National Park covers some 19,000 acres of land and includes the town of Tortuguero, along with a variety of landscapes and ecosystems including beaches, tropical rainforests and estuaries. The Park is known as the little Amazon after its diminutive size and concentrated wildlife (including jaguars, monkeys, the endangered green macaw and caiman).
Tortuguero is rather remote, with access by boat or air, so most of the lodges offer inclusive packages including accommodation, boat tours in the canals and transport to and from San Jose by road and boat.
To see turtle species nesting, the best times of year to visit are from the beginning of March to the middle of October. Actual nesting times do vary depending on the species - the green, hawksbill, leatherback and loggerhead sea turtles can all be seen nesting here at various times of the year. Turtle viewing is tightly controlled by the Park Authorities by a ballot system, with viewing slots often in the small hours of the night.
The town and park are in one of the rainiest parts of Costa Rica. The wettest months of the year are usually June, July and December, while February, March and September tend to experience the least amount of rain-fall. The average temperature is quite high and remains fairly steady from month to month, with humidity noticeably high as well.