Tortuguero is one of the youngest places of planet Earth in terms of its geological formation. Located in the middle of creeks and waterway systems, surrounded by tropical and across from it, the Caribbean Sea welcomes thousands of turtles nesting on its beaches every year. It is the biggest protected rainforest in Central America but it hasn’t always been that way.
Its first inhabitants 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 could purchase turtle meat, oil and shell to be sold in Europe. In the early 1940's Jamaicans, Nicaraguans and Costa Rican from the South of the Limon Province came to work for a lumber company. At that time Tortuguero residents survived on subsistence hunting, the coconut, cocoa, breadfruit 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 downriver where a boat would haul them to port.
The local economy completely changed in 1972 when the lumber company stop working in Tortuguero and the village returned to the old way of life—farming, hunting, and fishing.
Also in the 1970's the opening of the canals connecting Tortuguero with the main inland villages, brought progress into the region and with it tourism, the creation of the Tortuguero National Park in 1972 and infrastructure to receive visitors, helping the village become what it is today: an example of ecotourism, moving from turtle hunting and deforestation to protect the vast natural resources and wildlife, for everyone to see and enjoy.
70301 Siquirres, Tortuguero Costa Rica