Trip Start Jan 01, 2014
10Trip End Jul 31, 2014
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Very early the next morning we had a guide, Roberto, take us out in his quiet electric motor boat to explore the canals of the National Park area. A very nice young couple from England that was also staying at our hotel joined us. We enjoyed getting to know them while Roberto puttered through the canals, pointing out plants, birds and wildlife along the way. We saw a group of Spider monkeys playing in the trees, large iguanas, a green heron sitting on her nest, toucans, and even a Caiman hiding deep in the weeds near the shore. At one point Roberto pulled the boat way into a small canal off of the main canal and we just sat there for a while listening to the pulsing of the jungle, the myriad of insects and birds joining together in a chorus that surrounded us.
The rest of the day we enjoyed exploring the village, which has a number of tourist shops loaded with things all things turtle, and the beach, (again nobody is in the water- rough surf, riptides and sharks keep people out)! We also took out a large canoe from the hotel to explore the canal a bit. The girls and I were a bit freaked out about being in a canoe with crocs around, but luckily we just saw birds and monkeys
We headed down to check out the Turtle Conservancy Research center, which has a small museum and information about the famous turtles that come to nest. Tortuguero is one of the most important Caribbean nesting sites for the green sea turtle, and while we were there at the beginning of the nesting season we were really hoping to see one. We spent a long time chatting with one of the research associates, a nice young man from Spain, who explained to us all of the things they do when they have a turtle that comes onto the beach to lay her eggs. We saw the tools they use to measure and tag the turtle and the counters they use to count the eggs (up to 120!). We learned about the history of the area and how over the years the area turned around from poaching and selling the sea turtle eggs to a focus on tourism and protection, which has been much more profitable and sustainable.The conservancy and an association of guides, which you need to go out on the beach at night to look for the turtles, have been very successful in protecting the green and other varieties of turtles that come there to nest. We knew we only had a 50% chance of actually seeing a turtle come to nest, but the couple we were with on the boat had seen one the night before, so we were very hopeful we would have a lucky night!
Our guide came to get us at 9:30 that night to take us out on the beach and she explained the rules to us
We finished up our time in Tortuguero with a night at a resort off of the main canal and further into the rainforest. This was a fancier place for sure, and the girls' eyes were popping when we got off the boat and they had welcome drinks for us-- just like Fantasy Island! There were beautifully landscaped grounds, a big pool with a waterfall, and all of the buildings and walkways were raised up on stilts. Most of the day was spent poolside, and at one point a big family of white faced capuchin monkeys came swinging through. They were climbing and swinging in all of the trees, and a mama with a baby on her back came walking right by me. So much fun to watch them! We took some tandem kayaks out and explored a small side channel, and then had more pool time.
The rain started up that evening and kept on through the next morning until it was time for us to leave. We had an hour long ride on a boat through the twisting turning channels that were swollen with water from all of the rain. We got to the main dock which was busy with other boats full of tourists, and also crews loading supplies onto other boats to bring into the village.There we waited for our bus that took us on the five hour long journey back to San Jose. Even though we missed out on seeing the sea turtles we were so glad we had experienced this amazing and beautiful part of Costa Rica!