All in all, I spent less than 24 hours in Tortuguero, Costa Rica. And I’m so glad that I went. Tortuguero is famed for it’s turtle nesting beaches – if you’re going at turtle season you may well want more than a day here. I visited in December, when there were no turtles so my main activities were on the river side of Tortuguero. Tortuguero town is nestled between the sea and a river and to access it, you’ll need to take a boat.

Travelling to Tortuguero

Leaving Cahuita, we got a taxi to a small taxi boat station where our rucksacks were loaded into the back of a small boat, with around 12 other travellers and we started the journey towards Tortuguero. This travel day was probably my favourite travel day (definitely the least organised and least touristy!). It didn’t necessarily feel like a travel day – rather than being stuck in the back of a minibus I was being driven around Tortuguero National Park on a boat. All in all, the boat ride took around 3 hours – including our boat having to stop and pull another boat whose engine had stopped to the side of the river.

Tortuguero and Activities

One of the main streets

As you’re navigating Tortuguero, you’ll quickly realise that the ‘main roads’ are alleyways and very small pedestrian streets. Everything is within walkable distance. I stayed at Hostel Aracari Garden which was amazing, with common areas, trees inside the hostel area and very central. Although I only spent a night here, it would be perfect for travellers (especially solo travellers) who want to experience hostel lifestyle for a while.

I spent the afternoon and evening in Tortuguero exploring the town (of course having coffee and patacones in a break). The beach is also lovely for a walk on the other side of the town. The town itself has a lovely local feel, with the football pitch in use by the children, and some people picking bananas.

A very early start saw us getting a canoe trip for a few hours (having to be up before 6am – not a fan, however the sunrise and wildlife were well worth it). On the trip, we explored at a much slower pace Tortuguero National Park, pausing next to caiman, sloths, jesus lizards and herons. We were even lucky enough to see a tayra on the trip.

Leaving Tortuguero

By this point, it was a huge struggle to get everything into my backpack (is it just my packing that gets worse throughout a trip?) however after sitting on my bag and several attempts to rezip, I was finally packed for our last couple of days ion Costa Rica. After a breakfast of gallo pinto (traditional Costa Rican food) we headed towards the river dock one last time to get a boat. This would take us a few hours downriver where we could pick up transport back to San Jose.

Food Recommendation in Tortuguero

El Patio – The restaurant is situated on the river side of Tortuguero, with fairy lights and an upstairs. The food is lovely and you can get local food here like patacones, beans, rice and ceviche as well as some more global dishes.

Visiting Costa Rica? Check out my Costa Rica series now…

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