[ACTO] Tortuguero National Park was created in 1975. It is located in the Costa Rican Caribbean region, 80km north of the city of Limón. One of the reasons for its creation, promoted by the herpetologist Archie Carr II, now deceased, was the protection of the green turtle (Chelonia mydas), since this is the most important spawning area in the western Caribbean.
In addition, Tortuguero is an area of great importance for its remnants of very humid tropical forest, which barely 50 years ago covered virtually the entire northeast of Costa Rica.
The Tortuguero National Park (PNT) covers an area of 26,156 hectares on its land part and around 50,160 hectares of marine area (created to protect sea turtles). In this area, the humid tropic forest is predominant, with an annual average temperature of 26ºC and an annual rainfall of between 4,500 and 6,000 mm. Rivers, canals and lagoons abound, which are used by both residents and tourists to navigate the park. These waterways serve as windows through which you can admire the exuberant flora and fauna of the place, making the crossing a wonderful experience for nature lovers.
Flora and fauna
In the NTP there is a very high biodiversity. In him we can find more than 400 species of trees and around 2,200 species of other plants, thanks to the great variety of present atmospheres, among them the following ones: the typical coastal vegetation of the Caribbean, with species like the beach grape and the icaco . Also common is the coconut palm, a species native to India.
Behind the sandy coastal strip the forest grows over flooded or marshy lands. There it is common to find trees such as sangrillo, cativo, hawk and poponjoche.
In the floodplains the yolillo palm grows, which forms pure forests known as yolillales. In places with deeper waters there is floating vegetation, mainly the water lily and the aquatic ferns.
In areas with non-flooding soils, such as in Lomas de Sierpe, with heights of up to 311 meters above sea level, the Very Humid Tropic Forest grows, in which the average annual rainfall is close to 5,000 mm. This forest has an extraordinary diversity of flora; Among the most characteristic trees we can see the pylon, the canfín, and the mountain jícaro.
In the park there is a great variety of fauna, which includes mammals in danger of extinction, such as the jaguar, the ocelot, the tapir (which is the largest animal of the rainforests of America), in manatee, the tolomuco, the Lazy and three species of monkeys, among others.
In addition, there are 405 species of birds, approximately half of those in Costa Rica, and more than can be found, for example, throughout the European territory. This diversity is repeated in amphibians and reptiles, in fish and in insects. One of the main attractions of the park is the spawning of sea turtles, and especially the green turtle. The four species that breed in the Caribbean and that nest on the beaches of PNT are the leatherback turtle, which is the largest sea turtle, green torguga, which is the second largest and the most abundant the PNT, the loggerhead and hawksbill torgua, which is smaller and very persecuted because with its shell handicrafts are made, so are urged not to buy items tortoiseshell.
Why visit the Tortuguero National Park?
With his visit is working to protect this national park in various ways, first with the support you provide to pay your ticket national parks ensures financial resources in addition to those provided by the community of Tortuguero, this community can develop and they have changed a people who survived hunting turtle to a people which derives its main income from tourism also have become great allies in protecting you, and all the fauna in this national park.
In addition, the purchase of tickets directly in national parks, causes that 15% of the value of the ticket is directly invested in them.
The PNT has several information and control posts, in which the officials will gladly assist you, in addition to the positions of Jalova (in front of the Jalova lagoon) and Cuatro Esquinas (next to the town of Tortuguero) you can buy the entrance tickets to the park, and at the Cuatro Esquinas stand, enjoy the El Gavilán interpretive trail.
Unlike the other offices of the Wild Areas of Costa Rica, the Cuatro Esquinas administrative post opens at 5:30 a.m. at 6:00 pm.