Tortuguero- Sea Turtle Watching

Trip Start Apr 28, 2009
Trip End Mar 26, 2010

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Where I stayed
Miss Junnies

Flag of Costa Rica  , Limón,
Sunday, August 23, 2009

Driving through Costa Rica's countryside it is an obvious nature lover’s paradise. Fifty years ago the Costa Rican government protected a lot of land for national parks and are now reaping the rewards of tourism. They seem to be very proud of the land and biodiversity they have, with very recent environmental education being taught to the children. Speaking with the locals they say they have a lot of challenges today, much like what we have at home. With governments wanting to dam rivers and increased tourism taking a toll on the national forests. However, on the whole, the green campaign has made it here and people are talking about it. It

is very refreshing to hear this after passing through Mexico to Nicaragua.

Mom had noted she wanted to see the Sea Turtles while she was in Costa Rica and it just happens to be the time when the turtles were arriving on the beaches for their seasonal laying of the eggs. Tortuguero is an interesting place as it sits on a peninsula located on the Caribbean ocean with the ocean on one side and a river on the other. It is such a small peninsula that you can walk from the river to the ocean in 3 minutes. It’s also quite remote with the only transportation to the town being a boat. The locals are of Caribbean descent, speaking Spanish and English, and it’s quite easy to hear the Jamaican (Caribbean) accent while they speak.

The boat ride was amazing… as you can see we took full advantage of Mom’s new Nikon camera. We arrived into the small town of Tortuguero and the town was quaint and colourful, with dirt pathways and palm trees everywhere. We stayed at Miss Junnies Lodge and booked ourselves in with a guide to see the turtles. The viewing is strictly controlled as 100’s of people can be on the beach at one time. The conservationists organized two viewing times to break up the amount of traffic on the beach one at 8:00-10:00 and another at 10:00 – 12:00. We ended up on the later viewing time and had a local guide by the name of Carla who was a local from 4 generations back. It was apparent she knew what she was talking about, as not only was she a guide but a biologist trained in conserving the green sea turtles. So we learned a lot about the turtles but also a little bit about the history of the area.

The tour was organized very well as Carla, our guide, was advised by a spotter on the beach of the location of the turtle. Quickly we rushed off to the numbered section on the beach. Upon arrival we were told to turn off our flashlights and slowly and quietly walk on the beach. We could see that there were probably 4-5 other groups waiting patiently to share the experience. We were group one and we arrived in perfect timing to see the turtle dig her nest and hole for the eggs. By the time all groups viewed the nest building we were able to go back in and see this massive turtle laying her eggs, coming back to exact beach where she was born after 30 years. Once our turn was up we rushed over to see a second turtle finishing the process and crawling back to the Ocean. It was truly an amazing experience and one I’m sure we will never forget.

The next day we decided to have a relaxing day checking out the town and finished the night up with a game of Hearts. Chrisitina and Mom booked themselves another tour with a Canadian expat by the name of Darryl, this was a jungle river tour. Apparently he was taking on the persona of the late Steve Erwin, using the term "isn’t this amazing," often. They both enjoyed the tour and were able to give me a run down on all of the Monkeys, Toucans, Heron, and Caymans (alligator) they had spotted amongst the gorgeous rainforest.

On the whole, our visit to Totuguero will be memorable and definitely a must see on a trip to Costa Rica.
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