Tortuguero National Park (North Caribbean Coast)
This is like the little Amazon of Costa Rica and probably what you probably have in mind when you think of the Caribbean. Tortuguero is for nature appreciation (natural history and wildlife). You mainly explore it from guided open small skiff boats especially at its smallest canals and creeks but also from roofed small boats. You can´t swim neither in the canals nor in the ocean for there are fresh and salt water sharks, alligators and crocodiles amongst many other abundant and wonderful species. Lodges have beautiful pools on the jungle nowadays.
You cannot drive to Tortuguero since there is no road but you can boat in and out or else combine it with light flights. It is very beautiful, relaxing, interesting and fun. This National Park is the most important nesting site in the Western Caribbean for the Atlantic Green Sea Turtle.
A natural and manmade system of canals and navigable lagoons of great scenic beauty cross the park from southeast to northwest thus forming the habitat for seven species of river turtles, manatees, reptiles, mammals such as howler and spider monkeys and crustaceans plus some 30 freshwater species of fish. There are 300 different species of birds. Eleven habitats have been identified in the park with the crab wood, banak, Santa Maria, bully tree and dove wood among the many trees. Important: from July to September, you can normally enjoy the opportunity to witness the arrivals of the green sea turtle.
Tortuguero is also real good for Tarpon and Snook fishing but also for Jack Crevalle, Red Snapper, Macko and other species. The fishing is strictly catch and release and the water literally explodes with the bite of a tarpon. Here are legendary fishing captains in this area such as Captain Eddie. Eddie not only holds a world record but is a Tortuguero Native, authentic, fun and passionate about fishing. Here is a video on Tortuguero:
Weather: The weather in this area is warm and humid and normally and it rain a lot. It is a bit drier during February, March, September & October. As a natural history destination, it can be enjoyed the whole year.
Approximate driving distances to Tortuguero: There is no road to Tortuguero. But a drive can be arranged to Cano Blanco or La Pavona dock depending on the water level of the canals and other circumstances, and then you would take an approx. one hour scenic boat ride to Tortuguero. Driving to Cano Blanco or La Pavona from San Jose 31/2 hours, from Arenal 5 hours, from Guanacaste 81/2 hours, from Jaco 6 hours, from Manuel Antonio 7 hours and from Monteverde 8 hours. It is best to privately fly at least one way.