Costa Rica Trip Report – Tortuguero

Though Tortuguero, Costa Rica is primarily known for its turtle season, it offers an abundance of other wildlife watching opportunities. Tortuguero (the name of both the town and the national park) is on a spit of land on the northern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, and is accessible by boat via a network of canals. Road access to Tortuguero is not possible.

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Exploring Tortuguero’s canals by boat.

Cruising Tortuguero’s canals is also a common early morning and daytime activity when staying at ecolodges in the area. When exploring with a knowledgeable guide to assist with spotting, it is possible to see a huge array of birds and mammals. For photographers, there are ample opportunities to get some fantastic travel photos.

The checklist below provides a glimpse of Tortuguero’s biodiversity. All of these species were spotted in a single day at Tortuguero in early May 2015.

Mammals
Mantled howler monkey
Spider monkey
White-faced (Capuchin) monkey
Two-toed sloth

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Howler monkey in Costa Rica.

Birds
Keel-billed toucan
Collared aracari
Chestnut-mandibled toucan
Montezuma oropendola
Blue-gray tanager
Pale-billed woodpecker
Snowy egret
Bare-throated tiger-heron
Great green macaw
Yellow-naped parrot
Olive-throated parakeet
Rufous-tailed hummingbird
Nicaraguan grackle
Sungrebe
Anhinga
Boat-billed heron
Green and rufous kingfisher
Green kingfisher
Black-headed trogon
Little blue heron
Green heron
Northern jacana

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Keel-billed toucan in Costa Rica.

Amphibians and Reptiles
Emerald basilisk
Green iguana
Common basilisk
Black iguana
Black river turtle
Masked tree frog
Cane toad
Brown vine snake

If you are interested in visiting Costa Rica and Tortuguero, we would be happy to give you more information! Contact us.

This blog post was written by Amy Englert, one of Reefs to Rockies’ travel consultants specializing in travel to Costa Rica. In May 2015, she explored a variety of locations in Costa Rica including Tortuguero. May marks the beginning of Costa Rica’s “green season”, our favorite time of year for unforgettable wildlife encounters.

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