Witness One of the Greatest
Wildlife Shows On the Planet
Atlantic Green Sea Turtle Nesting
Late June - September
Sit on the beach waiting for her to find a spot that has just the right location and texture of sand.
When she is satisfied, she will begin to dig and when her nest cavity has reached the depth she requires she will begin to lay her eggs.
It is not until the laying of her eggs has begun that you will be able to approach her.
Quietly you will kneel near her and observe as she lays her eggsREAD MORE About Turtle Nesting
About Tortuguero and Tortuguero National Park.
There is evidence that native people visited Tortuguero during the 5 month nesting season to hunt the Atlantic Green Sea Turtle since way before Europeans arrived in the Western Hemisphere. By the mid 1800’s there was thriving trade in turtle meat, oil and shells, much of which was exported to the United States and Europe.
But it was not until 1910 that Don Walton Martinez a sea captain of Afro Caribbean origin decided to settle permanently in Tortuguero, where he planted coconut palms as way to have a year around income. Despite his Spanish surname Don Walton’s native tongue was Afro-Caribbean English and he named his new home, “Turtle Bog.”
When Don Walton died in 1941 the entire population of Tortuguero consisted of his 7 children and their families.
In 1947 timber companies from the United States set up operations in Turtle Bog. and the area was quickly transformed from what was essentially an extended family farm to a town. The people of Spanish origin who came to work in the lumber business called the place Tortuguero.
Then in 1954 Dr. Archie Carr, a zoologist from the University of Florida, Gainesville arrived in Tortuguero to study sea turtles and the town was on its way to another big change.
By 1972 the timber boom was over. Many people left Tortuguero. Those who staid returned to turtles and coconuts for income and hunting and fishing for much of their food. A few found work helping Dr. Carr.
It was also in 1972 that the first telephone came to Tortuguero. It functioned as a kind of concession in which the concessionaire, a no nonsense business-women named, Sabina, paid the phone company and charged the phone calls by the minute---some people said by the second.
Then in 1975 Dr. Carr and Costa Rican National Park System Founders, Alvaro Ugalde and Mario Boza convinced the Costa Rican Government to create Tortuguero National Park. The coming of the park deprived the towns inhabitants of their traditional sources of sustenance. By 1980 the population of the town had shrunk from an estimated 300 persons at the peak of the timber boom to less than 200.
Beginning in the early 80’s attracted by the beauty of the park and its highly diverse and abundant wild-life vanguard travelers began to discover Tortuguero. Enchanted by what they found those early travelers spread the word. Now Tortuguero, still only accessible by boat or light air-craft, is a mecca for nature travelers.
The population has grown to some 1,700 inhabitants. The towns traditional problems due to isolation and poverty have been replaced by the challenges of absorbing the impact of over 100,000 visitors a year.
The Park Today
Originally intended to protect a major nesting beach of the Atlantic Green sea turtle, Tortuguero National Park now protects 51,870 acres, one of the most biologically rich and last large areas of tropical rain forests in Central America.
Eleven habitats are found in the park. Among the wild-life you may encounter are three species of monkeys (Spider, Howler, and White-faced), Three-toed Sloths, river otters, caimans, iguanas,river turtles, Basilisk Lizards, Poison Dart Frogs, as well as more than 320 species of birds including all six species of kingfishers found in the new world, three species of toucans, eight species of parrots, and other neotropical species such as the Slaty-tailed Trogon, White-collared Manakin and Purple-throated Fruitcrow.