Tortuguero Village & Sea Turtle Conservancy Visitor Center
Duration: 2 hours
This two hour tour of the village is lead by one of our local guides at Tortuga Lodge. Today the town has a population of approximately 1500. The first inhabitants of the area were the Zambo-Miskito Indians and escaped slaves; they controlled the entire Caribbean coast raiding cacao plantations and hunting turtle. Nineteenth century sailors included the coast of Tortuguero in their route because they were able to purchase turtle meat, oil and shell to be sold in Europe. Today's descendants are mostly from Jamaica, Costa Rica's main Caribbean city of Limon (also of Jamaican descent) and Nicaragua. They came to the north Atlantic Coast of Costa Rica in the early 1940's to work for a lumber company. At that time Tortuguero residents survived on subsistence hunting, the bananas, plantains and cassava that they could grow and of course they fished. Most of the men worked logging the forest they then tied the logs together and floated the logs down river where a boat would haul them to port. Over time, the village became more focused on tourism and today most of the adults work in some form of tourism or conservation related business. The village has made a big effort to get their basic needs met such as running water, medical and dental care, garbage collection and management. Visit the local school (when in session) the Park headquarters, the general goods store and walk down the paths with colorful Afro-Caribbean homes. Stop for a chat with the locals and learn about their way of life.
Sea Turtle Conservancy Visitor Center
Visit the museum founded by the Sea Turtle Conservation, formerly known as the Caribbean Conservation Corporation (CCC). The late Dr. Archie Carr began to study and tag the thousands of Atlantic Green Sea Turtles that every year, from June through October, comes to Tortuguero Beach to lay their eggs. The study began in 1959 and has continued without fail ever since, under the auspices of the STC. It is the longest-running continuous study of its kind in the world, their work has greatly improved the survival outlook for several species of sea turtles and it has had a profound effect on the community of Tortuguero. The organization began its work in Costa Rica, but has expanded its research and conservation efforts throughout Central America and the Wider Caribbean.
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