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Blog: The Amazon of Costa Rica
The eco-wonderland of Costa Rica is best known for its lush green rainforests and dense jungle. Here, Scarlett describes why she fell in love with Tortuguero, a hub of abundant wildlife and stunning scenery.
Having never before been to Costa Rica, I left dreary London behind with high expectations. So why travel to Costa Rica? Costa Rica lies majestically between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Its coastline is full of incredibly beautiful beaches and peninsulas that push towards active volcanoes and thermal pools, harboring one of the most unique eco-systems on the planet. Costa Rica, which means “Rich Coast”, constitutionally abolished its army permanently in 1949 and since then has done an incredible job to support sustainable tourism. The country is ranked fifth in the world, and first among the Americas, in terms of the 2012 Environmental Performance Index. In 2007, the Costa Rican government announced plans for Costa Rica to become the first carbon-neutral country by 2021….WOW! I was very keen to see as much wildlife as possible and this is why Tortuguero on the Pacific coast was high on my list of places to visit….
Tortuguero is typically described by Ticos (natives of Costa Rica) as their very own Amazon and one of the best places to see wildlife in the country. Tortuguero National Park is one of the most visited National Parks in Costa Rica and one of the best places to see turtles hatch. Its network of canals, dense rainforests and rugged coastline make it the perfect adventure playground to get out doors and explore.
There are no roads in Tortuguero and so the only way to access the lodges are by boat, floating through the snaking canals until you reach your home for the next few nights. I stayed at Manatus Hotel, our favourite option in Tortuguero, due to its excellent service, professionalism and luxury touch. It’s a boutique lodge, with only ten beautifully furnished air-conditioned bedrooms. There is a lovely a la carte restaurant called “Ara Macaw” and the Morpho Bar is ideal to relax in at the end of an adventurous day. Guides and waiters knew my name and went out of their way to look after me and the other guests.
My full day here was filled exploring the picturesque network of river canals in search of wildlife. Having our guide Eduardo with us made a huge difference, as his ability to identify different sounds and point out wildlife was amazing. As soon as we set off, I saw spider monkeys clambering in the trees and howler monkeys making themselves known to us. I saw a yellow eyelash viper, a three toed sloth, caimans, about 20 different species of birds (I am turning into a twitcher!), turtles and three different kinds of lizards and iguanas. The list goes on!
You can see plenty of wildlife in Tortuguero year round but the main draw to Tortuguero National Park is the turtles. Green Sea (tortuga verde), Leatherback (tortuga baula), and Hawksbill (tortuga carey) turtles find their way back to Tortuguero every year to lay their eggs on a 22-mile stretch of sandy beach between the months of July and September. Although this falls in the green season (rainy season), to witness this spectacular phenomenon is magical and a highlight of any trip to Costa Rica.
Spotting all this wonderful wildlife in Costa Rica, and in particular the turtles which Tortoguero is so famous for, was a dream come true for me and I would urge everyone to take a trip to this eco-wonderland during the nesting season!
If you would like to visit this magical spot of Costa Rica, get in touch with our specialists on 020 7622 1116 to start planning your tailor-made trip.