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Tortuguero in January yes or no?

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Salzburg, Austria
posts: 73
reviews: 51
Tortuguero in January yes or no?


we have booked a very spontaneous trip to Costa Rica. Is there any point in going to Tortuguero NP in January? I assume there won't be any turtles to be seen?

At the moment we are looking at going to Corcovado NP, Arenal for ziplining, maybe Baurillo NP and Rincon de la vieja.... but haven't decided or booked anyhing yet.

Cheers :)

Destination Expert
for Bermuda
posts: 2,626
reviews: 26
1. Re: Tortuguero in January yes or no?

Tortuguero is more than just turtles! If turtles are a priority and you're visiting or of season, you might want to consider ostional where the turtles nest and hatch year round.

If you do go to tortuguero, prepare to be amazed, the boat ride to the island is an experience all in itself. I stayed at www.casamarbella.tripod.com and took their jungle canal tour and out was simply mindblowing. Good people doing a good job.

Houston, Texas
Destination Expert
for Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos
posts: 4,082
reviews: 93
2. Re: Tortuguero in January yes or no?

If you have a desire to ride around and tour the canals via boat or kayak, then yes, go; the wildlife there is amazing. If you want to go mainly to see the turtles, you'd be better off to go in July-October.

Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 5,733
reviews: 54
3. Re: Tortuguero in January yes or no?

Firstly we should know for how long you are planning to stay in Costa Rica? And what are your main interests? Also which airport you will fly in and out. And yes, as above, Tortuguero is much more then just turtles laying eggs in the middle of the night. It is a very special type of place, some describes it as mini Pantanal.

Salzburg, Austria
posts: 73
reviews: 51
4. Re: Tortuguero in January yes or no?

Thanks for your replies. We will be staying for two weeks, first time in CR but we are seasoned travellers. We usually travel on a budget (but will rent a car in CR) and trqvel independently. I guess our main interests are nature, wildlife and landscapes. We arent really beach people. I nice walk along a pretty beach is great and we love to do that, but we will not stay a few nights on a beach to hang out or go swimming.

We both absolutely adore turtles and are kind of gutted that we are going in January because it seems we won't be seeing any. We both start new jobs in Feb so we cant go any other time.

I read of people loving their time in Tortuego NP and I was just wondering if it is worth it going there although we wont see any turtles.

We will certainly go to Corcovado NP for 3 nights to see wildlife there.

Thanks for your input!

San Jose, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 39,832
5. Re: Tortuguero in January yes or no?

Xelas you are so correct as well as Sonny...Tortuguero is a lot more than turtles...nice great way to said it ...I hope we do not get in trouble to said that...


Chicago, Illinois
posts: 634
reviews: 137
6. Re: Tortuguero in January yes or no?

Keep in mind the Corcovado-Osa is a very far drive, and requires a day each way from Quepos area, Arenal would be too far in one day IMO, but possible.

Though Corcovado is a highlight and a must see IMO, do allow enough time to either hike the LOOP and stay at Sirena, a total of 3-4 nights, or go via Drake Bay, on boats, again 3 nights, leaving car in Sierrpe and taking boat to DB.

Tortuguero is one the most dramatic eco systems in the country, and a great contrast to the Osa-Corcovado area as well, its not just about turtles, the canals, and area, accessed via boat, not car or roads, is also teaming with birds, reptiles and mangroves, a truly natural and pristine eco system.

You can see turtles, on the Pacific side though, in Playa Grande north of Tamarindo (surf town) or in Playa Ostional south of Liberia 2.5 hours.

There is also turtles nesting all around the pacific beaches in random areas all over CR.

Get the MOON guidebook, same author as the National Geographic Explorer Costa Rica. You can do this entire trip on the go, budget, but keep in mind you want reservations in the Osa/Corcovado and if hiking the LOOP, need permits/guide.

Salzburg, Austria
posts: 73
reviews: 51
7. Re: Tortuguero in January yes or no?

Thanks again everyone.

We don't intend to get to Drake's Bay in one day from Arenal!

We are planning on staying 4 days/3nights there.

Can anyone recommend somewhere nice to break up the journey for a day or so coming from either Monteverde, or Arenal or San Jose? We dont really have a plan yet as to where to go ;)

The turtles are a tricky thing. Yes we would love to see them. Yes we will be there in the wrong season. We dont do beaches and we do "holiday destinations" even less. We usually backpack independently, bit more off the beaten track (hence Corcovado instead of Manuel Antonio for example), and the less people and package tousrists the better. Hope I'm not stepping on anyone's toes here ;) So the thought of "wasting" a couple of precious days sitting on a beach if there is only a slight chance of seeing turtles doesn't really appeal. We might just have to accept that we are going in the wrong season for turtles and use the time and do and see other cool stuff!

Tortuego does sound cool though and if it is different to Corcovado we might include it im our trip.

posts: 2,928
reviews: 31
8. Re: Tortuguero in January yes or no?

Tortuguero is a must , if you have the time

Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 5,733
reviews: 54
9. Re: Tortuguero in January yes or no?

Hacienda Baru is an excellent place to break your drive to Osa or from. It is a Private Reserve, they have excellent guided hikes early in the morning, majority of visitors are nature enthusiasts, and it is also close to the Costanera Sur so not much time is lost. If going to Tortuguero stay in the village, Casa Marbella is a prime location, also their electric boat tours are excellent, if lucky Daryl will guide you. You should not miss the Cerro de la Muerte area alongside PanAm2 highway. In fact doing a loop to Osa, one way inland and other way alongside coast will give you plenty of chances to see local life.

10. Re: Tortuguero in January yes or no?

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