maandag 18 februari 2013

Tortuguero national park, Costa Rica

"Tortuguero" comes from the Spanish name for the giant sea turtles (tortugas) that nest on the beaches of this region every year from early March to mid-October. The chance to see this nesting attracts many people to this remote region, but just as many come to explore the intricate network of jungle canals that serve as the region's main transportation arteries. This stretch of coast is connected to Limón, the Caribbean coast's only port city, by a series of rivers and canals that parallel the sea, often running only about 90m (295 ft.) or so from the beach. This aquatic highway is lined for most of its length with a dense rain forest that is home to howler and spider monkeys, three-toed sloths, toucans, and great green macaws. A trip up the canals is a bit like cruising the Amazon, but on a much smaller scale.

Very important: Consider the climate in this region. More than 200 inches of rain fall annually, so you can expect a downpour at any time of the year. Most of the lodges in the area will provide you with sturdy rain gear (including ponchos and rubber boots), but it can't hurt to carry your own.

Independent travel is difficult in this area. You'll have to rely on your lodge for boat transportation through the canals, and unless you stay at one of the accommodations on the beach side of the canal, you won't even be able to walk into town. At most of the lodges around Tortuguero, almost everything (bus rides to and from, boat trips through the canals, even family-style meals) is done in groups. Depending on a variety of factors, this group feeling can be intimate and rewarding, or overwhelming and impersonal.

Thank you very much Isela!

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