Tortuguero Domestic Airport, Limón

Costa Rica River
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When speaking of the Tortuguero Domestic Airport, it’s somewhat of a stretch to refer to it as an airport at all. What it really comes down to is a landing strip with a shed full of fuel tanks, and receives around twelve thousand passengers during a busy year. That being said, the airport is more important than you may realize, since the only way to access the town of Tortuguero is by air or water since it’s completely surrounded by the forest of the Tortuguero National Park. With so few yearly passengers, it’s also very secluded, making it one of the best-kept secrets of Costa Rica. Many Costa Rican all-inclusive resorts arrange private chartered flights to Tortuguero for their guests, so you can still make it a day trip if you choose.

Tortuguero also receives regular flights from Nature Air from the San Jose International Airport, so you may choose to fly in that way as well. The best time to visit is during turtle season, peaking in July and August. In addition to the turtle haven it’s named for, Tortuguero is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches and forests in Costa Rica.

Tortuguero National Park

Completely surrounding the airport and town of Tortuguero, and just past over 22 miles of beach strip, this rainforest park is not only home to the countless turtles for which it’s named, but also a host of other rainforest animals. Not far from the Tortuguero Domestic Airport, taking a ride through the countless canals that snake through the national park will offer you close-up views of all kinds of monkeys, birds, reptiles, and exotic insects in their natural habitat. There are also countless areas for hiking and canoeing, in case you’d rather have a self-navigated experience with the rainforest wildlife and other incredible sights. The park has eleven different ecological habitats housing hundreds of varieties of life. Evergreen forests, coastal shrubs, and swamps all exist within the same park, giving shelter and security to 170 species of amphibians and reptiles, 60 species of mammals and over 300 bird species. If extreme humidity is a problem for you, the best time to visit the national park is during the months of February, April, and November, since they are the driest months.

Land of Turtles

Translated into English, Tortuguero literally means “land of turtles,” and it certainly lives up to its name. Tortuguero is the most important nesting site of the endangered green turtle in the Caribbean. There are countless other species of marine turtles that nest at Tortuguero, including giant leatherback, hawksbill, and loggerhead turtles. There is also a museum and visitor’s center in town that will give you information on the various turtle species and their nesting habits. Many tours can take you to their nesting areas, where you can witness the hatching process in the wild.

Town of Tortuguero

Four kilometers south of the Tortuguero Domestic Airport is the village of Tortuguero. A small, remote fishing village, Tortuguero is home to multiple hotels and resorts that make for a perfect secluded getaway. If the crowded, city lifestyle of San Jose isn’t for you, then Tortuguero is sure to be your dream vacation. The village is still a popular tourist spot, so you should have no trouble finding gift shops and souvenirs. Most of the canal rides and other guided tours will start in the village. The village, though small, has options for public transportation and a number of restaurants for you to enjoy. As mentioned earlier, there are no roads to this village, so your only method of access will be a flight to the Tortuguero Domestic Airport or catch a boat from Moin near the Port of Limon.