PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica

Tortuguero: From the Flooded Jungle to the Caribbean Sea

Keeping an eye on the Jungle
Guide Luis Torres tries to spot animals in the trees around one of the PN Tortuguero channels.
simian astonishment II
Spider monkey observes human visitors from the top of a coconut tree.
lizard Jesus Christ
Specimen of basilisk lizard, green as is usual on the "Caribbean side" of Costa Rica, as opposed to brown on the "Pacific side".
Boat about to dock on the bank of the Tortuguero channel closest to the Caribbean Sea.
golden afternoon
Couple under the porch of their house in the village of Tortuguero.
indolent iguana
Iguana on a tree at Laguna Lodge, Tortuguero.
Socializing by the water
Friends live in a house on the banks of the Tortuguero canal.
anhinga anhinga
Anhinga Anhinga pays attention to the movement of fish on the surface of one of the PN Tortuguero channels.
risky bath
A resident bathes in the Penitência de Tortuguero Lagoon.
Channel Navigation
Boat travels through a mirrored channel of PN Tortuguero.
simian astonishment
Howler Monkey amazed by the unexpected proximity of humans.
Great Fishing
Don Emílio and his sons return from another fishing trip on the Tortuguero river, with large sea bass.
little cayman
Cayman rests in a nursery full of his brothers in Caño Harold on PN Tortuguero.
The sun sets over the horizon and gilds the Caribbean coast of Tortuguero, on Costa Rica's northeast coast.
After two days of impasse due to torrential rain, we set out to discover the Tortuguero National Park. Channel after channel, we marvel at the natural richness and exuberance of this Costa Rican fluvial marine ecosystem.

continuation of  The Flooded Costa Rica of Tortuguero

We complete the entrance to the Tortuguero National Park through the whimsical fluvial intersection established by the Isla de Cuatro Esquinas.

As would happen on any road, at a certain point, a signpost, in this case, with yellow letters on a black background, subsumed in a corner full of vegetation, indicates the possible directions of navigation.

Not that Chito and Luís Torres, natives, experts in those parts, ever needed directions.

Guide, PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica

Guide Luis Torres tries to spot animals in the trees around one of the PN Tortuguero channels.

Accordingly, the duo follows Caño Água Fria above. Água Fria (Fold Water) because, as Luís explains, it is made of river water which, unlike other rivers nearby, comes directly from the mountains with a darker tone. The Água Fria channel flows full of nutrients.

The Freshness of the Fauna and Flora of Caño Água Fria

It feeds the surrounding lush flora, habitat for the panoply of creatures that we continued to see, especially birds and reptiles. We pass black ibises and anhingas that the locals call pianos, due to the kind of keyboard their black and white wings appear to form.

We find basilisk iguanas and lizards, also known as Jesus Cristos, due to the skill they exhibit in walking on water.

PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica

Specimen of basilisk lizard, green as is usual on the “Caribbean side” of Costa Rica, as opposed to the brown ones on the “Pacific side”.

We came across toucans, blue and white herons and families of jacanas.

If the long list of names that bears in Brazil and the rest of South America, in Costa Rica, the females of this species are referred to by bags mothers.

Enthusiastic about Tortuguero's peculiarities, Luís Torres explains: “it's that the mother lays the eggs and, like this and whenever she can, she goes for a walk and leaves the offspring in the male's care. Note that there are even two males back from their cubs, but the father is the one that the cubs don't hesitate to follow.”

Eccentric palm trees sprout from veritable walls of suffocating vines, at the base of the real trees of this tropical forest made Pantanal.

On the highest branches, woodpeckers perfect wild perforations.

Howler monkeys spread their dramatic howls through the jungle and, suspiciously, follow the passage of outsiders on board.

Howler Monkey, PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica

Howler Monkey amazed by the unexpected proximity of humans.

Here and there, the Tortuguero narrows. It forces Luís to go up to the bow and check if his depth and smoothness of the current allow us to continue ascending.

At one of these checks, the guide and the captain decide that we should turn around.

Isla de Cuatro Esquinas, the Central Entroncamento dos Caños do PN Tortuguero

As we approached the Isla de Cuatro Esquinas, we came across a lone visitor paying on a kayak, against the flow of the flow, still free to greet us without going back ten meters.

Another signpost for Isla de Cuatro Esquinas shows us the direction of three pipes neighbors, Harold's, Chiquero, Mora.

Directions board, PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica

A sign hidden by vegetation, next to Isla Cuatro Esquinas, indicates several indications.

The next morning, we would also tour the one in Palma.

We find it like a perfect mirror, its water was so dark and immobile, flanked by an even tighter jungle and, at intervals, traversed by the public boats that ensure the connection between La Pavona and the main towns of Tortuguero.

Vessel in Caño Palma, PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica

Boat travels along the Caño de Palma, one of several in Tortuguero.

During the time that had passed, as a joke, we upset Luís with the fact that we couldn't return to the lodge without photographing the star species that we were missing: a jaguar, a boar, crocodiles.

Luís responds with the patience of many years as a guide and humor that makes us all laugh. “Sure you don't want to make this list better? Well, let's look for some caimans that, yes, we have an obligation to show you.”

Traveled only a few hundred meters winding in one of the pipes signaled, we come to a dead end branch.

There, in a dense amphibious forest, Luís Torres shows us a cayman nursery, with twelve or thirteen little caimans out there, warming themselves supported by the foliage.

Juvenile Cayman, PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica

Cayman rests in a nursery full of his brothers in Caño Harold on PN Tortuguero.

Returning to the main channel, Chito detects a river turtle, camouflaged against vegetation of matching tones. It did not belong to the marine species that spawn in impressive numbers in the black sands of the Caribbean.

These, in their time, we would admire them.

Strategic Return to Laguna Lodge

And, speaking of time, we were on board for four hours, discover the Tortuguero National Park. Accordingly, Luís Torres decreed an already urgent return to the lodge for lunch and a well-deserved rest.

Instead of resting, we decided to wander through the landscaped and forested lands of Laguna Lodge. The pair of iguanas, our neighbor, dozed at the top of their tree.

Resting Iguana, PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica

Iguana on a tree at Laguna Lodge, Tortuguero.

On the seafront, there is no sign of animals on the beach. We ended up chasing, as furtively as possible, a flock of macaws that were shrillly debating any topic of the day.

Until they arrive at 2:30 in the afternoon. The time for a reunion with Luís and Chito.

And a new foray into the Tortuguero channels.

Navigation through Laguna Penitência, PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica

Captain Chito at the helm of a boat, off San Francisco de Tortuguero.

Once again, we point to the Isla de Cuatro Esquinas. We go around it heading north, through Laguna Penitência above, much more open than the parallel channel in which Laguna Lodge is located.

Passing through San Francisco de Tortuguero

With the meander in a hook opposite that of Isla Quatro Esquinas in sight, Chito's navigation reveals the lake houses of San Francisco de Tortuguero, to the sound of some cumbia that is less and less diffused.

After the deluge, the lagoon had almost taken over the village, but its shoreline was resplendent with life.

Uncomplicated, a heron dried its feathers in the sun, on a tin roof. Next door, festive, a resident was bathing in the muddy waters in front of a terraced bar restaurant.

Luís and Chito don't talk about it, but from what we had learned about Tortuguero, something there didn't make sense. “So how is it, Luís? Aren't the channels full of crocodiles?” we ask you.

“Yes, they are, but what do they want? Some people here, sometimes, have no idea. It gives me the idea that the man has already drank more than he should.”

In front of the entrance to the Casita del Bosque, the way of the turkey Tortuguero's leafy tree stands out like never before.

To the “Conquest” of Cerro Tortuguero…

We anchor at its base, in the northern extension of the Tortuguero National Park.

We went deeper into the dense, high, waterlogged forest around the hillock, along a path that wound through countless roots, inhabited by bloodthirsty mosquitoes.

Trail to the top of Cerro Tortuguero,PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica

Guide Luís Torres walks along the shady trail leading to the top of Cerro Tortuguero.

And by poison frogs oophaga pumilio, with red upper section and blue legs, the reason why they bear the Anglophone name of blue-jeans frog.

O path goes around the mound. The viewpoint hidden among trees at its top reveals an incredible panoramic version of Tortuguero, with the lines of the homonymous river undulating from the distant base of the Central Volcanic Mountains and replicated in various channels.

PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica

Boat about to dock on the bank of the Tortuguero channel closest to the Caribbean Sea.

We are captivated by the ocean breeze and by the bonus of being able to admire the mouth of the Tortuguero River, the black sand enclosed by a small forest of coconut trees and the Caribbean Sea.

… and the mouth of the river Tortuguero

a pair of vultures buzzards they fluttered around the mound. With the sun almost setting west of the Central Volcanic Mountain Range, we descended to the base of the mountain opposite the one from which we had ascended, on the Boca from the river, which is how to say, its mouth.

On the other side, we enjoyed the bustle at the end of the day of some fishermen intrigued by the attention we paid them. When the dark takes hold of the afterglow, we set sail back to the shelter of Laguna Lodge.

Tortuguero, Costa Rica

The sun sets over the horizon and gilds the Caribbean coast of Tortuguero, on Costa Rica's northeast coast.

We were supposed to have a night of some computer work and, as soon as we could, of sacred rest.

Once again, Tortuguero changed our laps.

The Nursery facing the Caribbean Sea

It wasn't even seven o'clock when a security guard from the lodge knocked on the door. “Carlos asked me to let you know that they found turtles. I'll take you there.”

We followed in his steps. The light of his lantern illuminates the pitch and, at times, several holes in the sand filled with small white eggs already broken by the newborn turtles.

We watched them, disoriented by the glare of the lanterns, which they sought instead of the reflected moon.

In spite of some detours and unnecessary turns, most of the little turtles there reached the surf, overcame the coming and going of the waves and entered higher water that allowed them to swim.

One after another, we watched dozens disappear into the vast marine wilderness of the Caribbean.

The life cycle of the species was thus renewed. With him, the sense of the dazzling Tortuguero.


Article written with the support of:


JUMBOCOSTARICA code: -10% on all bookings, until 31-12-2022



PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica

The Flooded Costa Rica of Tortuguero

The Caribbean Sea and the basins of several rivers bathe the northeast of the Tica nation, one of the wettest and richest areas in flora and fauna in Central America. Named after the green turtles nest in its black sands, Tortuguero stretches inland for 312 km.2 of stunning aquatic jungle.
Passo do Lontra, Miranda, Brazil

The Flooded Brazil of Passo do Lontra

We are on the western edge of Mato Grosso do Sul but bush, on these sides, is something else. In an extension of almost 200.000 km2, the Brazil it appears partially submerged, by rivers, streams, lakes and other waters dispersed in vast alluvial plains. Not even the panting heat of the dry season drains the life and biodiversity of Pantanal places and farms like the one that welcomed us on the banks of the Miranda River.
Iberá Wetlands, Argentina

The Pantanal of the Pampas

On the world map, south of the famous brazilian wetland, a little-known flooded region appears, but almost as vast and rich in biodiversity. the Guarani expression Y bera defines it as “shining waters”. The adjective fits more than its strong luminance.
Maguri Bill, India

A Wetland in the Far East of India

The Maguri Bill occupies an amphibious area in the Assamese vicinity of the river Brahmaputra. It is praised as an incredible habitat especially for birds. When we navigate it in gondola mode, we are faced with much (but much) more life than just the asada.
Nzulezu, Ghana

A Village Afloat in Ghana

We depart from the seaside resort of Busua, to the far west of the Atlantic coast of Ghana. At Beyin, we veered north towards Lake Amansuri. There we find Nzulezu, one of the oldest and most genuine lake settlements in West Africa.
manaus, Brazil

The Jumps and Starts of the former World Rubber Capital

From 1879 to 1912, only the Amazon River basin generated the latex that, from one moment to another, the world needed and, out of nowhere, Manaus became one of the most advanced cities on the face of the Earth. But an English explorer took the tree to Southeast Asia and ruined pioneer production. Manaus once again proved its elasticity. It is the largest city in the Amazon and the seventh in Brazil.
Iriomote, Japan

The Small Tropical Japanese Amazon of Iriomote

Impenetrable rainforests and mangroves fill Iriomote under a pressure cooker climate. Here, foreign visitors are as rare as the yamaneko, an elusive endemic lynx.
PN Kaziranga, India

The Indian Monoceros Stronghold

Situated in the state of Assam, south of the great Brahmaputra river, PN Kaziranga occupies a vast area of ​​alluvial swamp. Two-thirds of the rhinocerus unicornis around the world, there are around 100 tigers, 1200 elephants and many other animals. Pressured by human proximity and the inevitable poaching, this precious park has not been able to protect itself from the hyperbolic floods of the monsoons and from some controversies.
Miranda, Brazil

Maria dos Jacarés: the Pantanal shelters such Creatures

Eurides Fátima de Barros was born in the interior of the Miranda region. 38 years ago, he settled in a small business on the side of BR262 that crosses the Pantanal and gained an affinity with the alligators that lived on his doorstep. Disgusted that once upon a time the creatures were being slaughtered there, she began to take care of them. Now known as Maria dos Jacarés, she named each of the animals after a soccer player or coach. It also makes sure they recognize your calls.
Jabula Beach, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
Saint Lucia, South Africa

An Africa as Wild as Zulu

On the eminence of the coast of Mozambique, the province of KwaZulu-Natal is home to an unexpected South Africa. Deserted beaches full of dunes, vast estuarine swamps and hills covered with fog fill this wild land also bathed by the Indian Ocean. It is shared by the subjects of the always proud Zulu nation and one of the most prolific and diverse fauna on the African continent.
Annapurna Circuit, Manang to Yak-kharka
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna 10th Circuit: Manang to Yak Kharka, Nepal

On the way to the Annapurnas Even Higher Lands

After an acclimatization break in the near-urban civilization of Manang (3519 m), we made progress again in the ascent to the zenith of Thorong La (5416 m). On that day, we reached the hamlet of Yak Kharka, at 4018 m, a good starting point for the camps at the base of the great canyon.
hacienda mucuyche, Yucatan, Mexico, canal
Architecture & Design
Yucatan, Mexico

Among Haciendas and Cenotes, through the History of Yucatan

Around the capital Merida, for every old hacienda henequenera there's at least one cenote. As happened with the semi-recovered Hacienda Mucuyché, together, they form some of the most sublime places in southeastern Mexico.

Full Dog Mushing
Seward, Alaska

The Alaskan Dog Mushing Summer

It's almost 30 degrees and the glaciers are melting. In Alaska, entrepreneurs have little time to get rich. Until the end of August, dog mushing cannot stop.
knights of the divine, faith in the divine holy spirit, Pirenopolis, Brazil
Ceremonies and Festivities
Pirenópolis, Brazil

A Ride of Faith

Introduced in 1819 by Portuguese priests, the Festa do Divino Espírito Santo de Pirenópolis it aggregates a complex web of religious and pagan celebrations. It lasts more than 20 days, spent mostly on the saddle.
, Mexico, city of silver and gold, homes over tunnels
Guanajuato, Mexico

The City that Shines in All Colors

During the XNUMXth century, it was the city that produced the most silver in the world and one of the most opulent in Mexico and colonial Spain. Several of its mines are still active, but the impressive wealth of Guanuajuato lies in the multicolored eccentricity of its history and secular heritage.
Obese resident of Tupola Tapaau, a small island in Western Samoa.
Tonga, Western Samoa, Polynesia

XXL Pacific

For centuries, the natives of the Polynesian islands subsisted on land and sea. Until the intrusion of colonial powers and the subsequent introduction of fatty pieces of meat, fast food and sugary drinks have spawned a plague of diabetes and obesity. Today, while much of Tonga's national GDP, Western Samoa and neighbors is wasted on these “western poisons”, fishermen barely manage to sell their fish.
Parade and Pomp
Saint Petersburg, Russia

When the Russian Navy Stations in Saint Petersburg

Russia dedicates the last Sunday of July to its naval forces. On that day, a crowd visits large boats moored on the Neva River as alcohol-drenched sailors seize the city.

Man: an Ever Tested Species

It's in our genes. For the pleasure of participating, for titles, honor or money, competitions give meaning to the world. Some are more eccentric than others.
Kayaking on Lake Sinclair, Cradle Mountain - Lake Sinclair National Park, Tasmania, Australia
Discovering tassie, Part 4 - Devonport to Strahan, Australia

Through the Tasmanian Wild West

If the almost antipode tazzie is already a australian world apart, what about its inhospitable western region. Between Devonport and Strahan, dense forests, elusive rivers and a rugged coastline beaten by an almost Antarctic Indian ocean generate enigma and respect.
Basotho Cowboys, Malealea, Lesotho
Malealea, Lesotho

Life in the African Kingdom of Heaven

Lesotho is the only independent state located entirely above XNUMX meters. It is also one of the countries at the bottom of the world ranking of human development. Its haughty people resist modernity and all the adversities on the magnificent but inhospitable top of the Earth that befell them.
Rainbow in the Grand Canyon, an example of prodigious photographic light
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Natural Light (Part 1)

And Light was made on Earth. Know how to use it.

The theme of light in photography is inexhaustible. In this article, we give you some basic notions about your behavior, to start with, just and only in terms of geolocation, the time of day and the time of year.
Cobá, trip to the Mayan Ruins, Pac Chen, Mayans of now
Cobá to Pac Chen, Mexico

From the Ruins to the Mayan Homes

On the Yucatan Peninsula, the history of the second largest indigenous Mexican people is intertwined with their daily lives and merges with modernity. In Cobá, we went from the top of one of its ancient pyramids to the heart of a village of our times.
Mauritius Island, Indian voyage, Chamarel waterfall

A Mini India in the Southwest of the Indian Ocean

In the XNUMXth century, the French and the British disputed an archipelago east of Madagascar previously discovered by the Portuguese. The British triumphed, re-colonized the islands with sugar cane cutters from the subcontinent, and both conceded previous Francophone language, law and ways. From this mix came the exotic Mauritius.
ala juumajarvi lake, oulanka national park, finland
Winter White
Kuusamo ao PN Oulanka, Finland

Under the Arctic's Icy Spell

We are at 66º North and at the gates of Lapland. In these parts, the white landscape belongs to everyone and to no one like the snow-covered trees, the atrocious cold and the endless night.
View from the top of Mount Vaea and the tomb, Vailima village, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa
Upolu, Samoa

Stevenson's Treasure Island

At age 30, the Scottish writer began looking for a place to save him from his cursed body. In Upolu and the Samoans, he found a welcoming refuge to which he gave his heart and soul.
Cauldron of Corvo Island, Azores,
Corvo, Azores

The Improbable Atlantic Shelter of Corvo Island

17 km2 of a volcano sunk in a verdant caldera. A solitary village based on a fajã. Four hundred and thirty souls snuggled by the smallness of their land and the glimpse of their neighbor Flores. Welcome to the most fearless of the Azorean islands.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Tibetan heights, altitude sickness, mountain prevent to treat, travel
Natural Parks

Altitude Sickness: the Grievances of Getting Mountain Sick

When traveling, it happens that we find ourselves confronted with the lack of time to explore a place as unmissable as it is high. Medicine and previous experiences with Altitude Evil dictate that we should not risk ascending in a hurry.
São Miguel Island, Dazzling Colors by Nature
UNESCO World Heritage
São Miguel (Azores), Azores

São Miguel Island: Stunning Azores, By Nature

An immaculate biosphere that the Earth's entrails mold and soften is displayed, in São Miguel, in a panoramic format. São Miguel is the largest of the Portuguese islands. And it is a work of art of Nature and Man in the middle of the North Atlantic planted.
In elevator kimono, Osaka, Japan
Osaka, Japan

In the Company of Mayu

Japanese nightlife is a multi-faceted, multi-billion business. In Osaka, an enigmatic couchsurfing hostess welcomes us, somewhere between the geisha and the luxury escort.
Fisherman maneuvers boat near Bonete Beach, Ilhabela, Brazil
Ilhabela, Brazil

In Ilhabela, on the way to Bonete

A community of caiçaras descendants of pirates founded a village in a corner of Ilhabela. Despite the difficult access, Bonete was discovered and considered one of the ten best beaches in Brazil.
Fort São Filipe, Cidade Velha, Santiago Island, Cape Verde
Cidade Velha, Cape Verde

Cidade Velha: the Ancient of the Tropico-Colonial Cities

It was the first settlement founded by Europeans below the Tropic of Cancer. In crucial times for Portuguese expansion to Africa and South America and for the slave trade that accompanied it, Cidade Velha became a poignant but unavoidable legacy of Cape Verdean origins.

The Toy Train story
On Rails
Siliguri a Darjeeling, India

The Himalayan Toy Train Still Running

Neither the steep slope of some stretches nor the modernity stop it. From Siliguri, in the tropical foothills of the great Asian mountain range, the Darjeeling, with its peaks in sight, the most famous of the Indian Toy Trains has ensured for 117 years, day after day, an arduous dream journey. Traveling through the area, we climb aboard and let ourselves be enchanted.
Christian believers leaving a church, Upolu, Western Samoa
Upolu, Samoa  

The Broken Heart of Polynesia

The imagery of the paradisiacal South Pacific is unquestionable in Samoa, but its tropical beauty does not pay the bills for either the nation or the inhabitants. Anyone who visits this archipelago finds a people divided between subjecting themselves to tradition and the financial stagnation or uprooting themselves in countries with broader horizons.
Visitors at Talisay Ruins, Negros Island, Philippines
Daily life
Talisay City, Philippines

Monument to a Luso-Philippine Love

At the end of the 11th century, Mariano Lacson, a Filipino farmer, and Maria Braga, a Portuguese woman from Macau, fell in love and got married. During the pregnancy of what would be her 2th child, Maria succumbed to a fall. Destroyed, Mariano built a mansion in his honor. In the midst of World War II, the mansion was set on fire, but the elegant ruins that endured perpetuate their tragic relationship.
Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique, Wildlife, lions
NP Gorongosa, Mozambique

The Wild Heart of Mozambique shows Signs of Life

Gorongosa was home to one of the most exuberant ecosystems in Africa, but from 1980 to 1992 it succumbed to the Civil War waged between FRELIMO and RENAMO. Greg Carr, Voice Mail's millionaire inventor received a message from the Mozambican ambassador to the UN challenging him to support Mozambique. For the good of the country and humanity, Carr pledged to resurrect the stunning national park that the Portuguese colonial government had created there.
Passengers, scenic flights-Southern Alps, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Aoraki / Mount Cook, New Zealand

The Aeronautical Conquest of the Southern Alps

In 1955, pilot Harry Wigley created a system for taking off and landing on asphalt or snow. Since then, his company has unveiled, from the air, some of the greatest scenery in Oceania.