Top Ten Central America Classic Adventures

Turtle-Watch at Tortuguero: Costa Rica
By Ron Mader & Richard Mahler

It's the turtles that'll lure you to this park, a prime nesting site for green, leatherback, and hawksbill reptiles, who arrive mostly between July and September each year to lay their eggs on the beach. You'll have to take to the waters to get here too, since the park's accessible only by boat. But the journey's worth it: Depending on the night, the beach can be littered with turtles.

The beach, of course, has become an essential ecological center, and as a result, almost 19,000 hectares were set aside as national park in 1970. Besides the famous turtles, the park also attracts avine species, including green macawas, great curasswos, and migratory birds from North America. Other denizens include tapirs, jaguars, and monkeys; West Indian manatees are frequently spotted in the canals. The small town has frequent blackouts, so be sure to have your flashlight handy. There's a small visitor's center and hotels in the village.


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