Flora and Fauna
Tortuguero National Park has a very high biodiversity, due to the existence within the reserve of eleven different habitats, including rainforest, swamps, beaches, and lagoons. There are more than 400 trees species and approximately 2,200 species of other plants. Vegetation varies from coast vegetation to wet forests. Wetlands are very important ecosystems not only in its extension but also because of its environmental and economic benefits.
Fauna is also diverse. One of the most important attractions of Tortuguero National Park is the key nesting ground of endangered sea turtles, particularly these four species:
- Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) - the smallest and the most captured sea turtle for decorations
- Loggerhead (Caretta caretta)
- Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) - the second biggest and the most abundant in the Park
- Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) - the biggest sea turtle
The Costa Rican Environmental Law punishes and discourages buying, selling, trade, and/or trafficking any product from these animals.
Sensitive population of manatees or “sea cows”, as well as crocodilians like caimans, crocodiles, and the Tropical Gar (considered as a living fossil) also find home in the Tortuguero rivers. In the forest, you can find some mammal species like jaguars and three-toed sloths. Also inhabiting the area are 3 of Costa Rica's 4 species of monkey:
- Geoffroy's Spider Monkey (Ateles geoffroyi)
- Mantled Howler (Alouatta palliata)
- White-headed Capuchin (Cebus capucinus)
There are about 405 bird species you can find in the Tortuguero National Park; approximately half of Costa Rican already identified birds. These include:
- Blue Herons
In addition, there is a high diversity in fish, insects, reptiles like the Basilisk lizards and amphibians like the poisonous frogs.
Because of the fact that four species of turtles are present in Tortuguero, the nesting period goes from February to October, being October the highest peak of the period.
- Left: El Gavilan Trail through the park
- Center: Boat trip into the canals of Tortuguero
- Right: Beach at Tortuguero National Park