Tortuguero National Park has often been called the “Amazon” of Costa Rica. Located in the country’s northern Caribbean coastal region, this tropical rain forest is only accessible by small aircraft or boat making the experience of getting there an adventure in itself. Originally intended to protect a major nesting beach of the Atlantic Green Sea Turtle, Tortuguero National Park (recently established in 1975) protects 51,870 acres and is one of the last large areas of tropical rainforest in Central America. Eleven habitats are found in the park. Three species of monkeys, three-toed Sloths, and river otters are frequently seen along the natural inland waterways and canals. Caiman crocodiles, iguanas, river turtles, basilisk lizards, and poison dart frogs (Dendrobates) inhabit the area, along with 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. Included in the extension is a private charter flight to Tortuguero and boat return out of the park, 2 guided excursions, all meals in Tortuguero and riverfront accommodations at the Tortuga Lodge & Gardens.
Available only with the Air Inclusive Package.
DAY 1: Depart U.S. / Fly to San Jose, Costa Rica / Transfer to hotel
Your flight departs from the U.S. for Costa Rica early this morning. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary and airline tickets. Please note that flights departing from the east coast will typically arrive in Costa Rica in the mid-afternoon while west coast flight departures will arrive later in the evening.
Upon arrival at the San Jose's Juan Santamaria International Airport, meet your complimentary hotel shuttle curbside outside the customs area. The driver will be holding a VBT sign or a Wyndham San Jose Herradura sign. Then transfer by minibus (approximately 5-10 minutes) to your hotel in the outskirts of San Jose.
The rest of the day is free to settle in and explore the city. Choose a restaurant for dinner on your own.
Please note: If you arrive early, your hotel room may not be available until 3:00 pm. You may store your luggage with the reception desk.
Our splendid San Jose hotel, Wyndham San Jose Herradura, is located just minutes from the International Airport and approximately 30 minutes from the center of the city. VBT provides you with City Information in your Final Travel Booklet that includes information and recommendations on what to see and do in San Jose during your stay.
You will fly from San Jose to Tortuguero on the Caribbean Coast. Please note that you are only allowed ONE piece of luggage and your luggage cannot exceed 30 pounds. Additional luggage may be stored at the Wyndham Herradura for your return to San Jose.
DAY 2: Private Charter Flight to Tortuguero, Independent exploration of Tortuguero
This morning we will have an early morning transfer from the Hotel Wyndham Herradura to the Pavas Domestic airport. Here you will board a privately chartered flight (shared with other guests) for the 35 minute flight to Tortuguero. Fly over Braulio Carrillo National Park and the Atlantic lowlands until landing in Tortuguero’s beachfront airstrip. You will be met by Tortuga Lodge staff and taken by boat to the Tortuga Lodge & Gardens located directly on the Tortuguero River. Breakfast will be offered upon arrival at Tortuga Lodge.
You have one guided boat excursion and one guided visit to the town included during your stay and the time of these excursions may change depending on weather conditions and availability. During your leisure time today you may want to consider scheduling additional tours (at additional cost), walk in the gardens, hike the trails behind the lodge, meet local school children and assist in their English classes (arranged daily by the lodge staff), swim in the riverfront swimming pool or simply slip into a hammock set between the tropical rainforest and the Tortuguero River and enjoy the abundant sites and sounds of the tropical rainforest.
All meals are included during your stay at Tortuga Lodge and you will find a wide variety of items to choose from the lodge’s menu. There is also complimentary tea and coffee available throughout the day.
DAY 3: Tortuguero Village & Sea Turtle Conservancy Visitor Center / Natural History Boat Excursion
Every day departing at 6:00 am from the reception, you may join the complimentary Early Morning Bird Walk. Your Tortuga Lodge guides will lead a natural history walk in the gardens. Please do sign up at the front desk the night before as space is limited.
After your sumptuous breakfast join your local Tortuga Lodge guide on a short boat transfer to the nearby Tortuguero Village for your included 2 hour excursion. Visit 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. Next 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. After our visit to the village we return by boat to the lodge in time for our included lunch.
After lunch and a siesta, leave the lodge’s dock by boat with your Tortuguero local Naturalist Guide for your afternoon expedition into the creeks of Tortuguero National Park. This three hour tour into the back water lagoons will introduce you to the tropical rainforest flora and fauna such as the small caimen crocodiles, howler, spider and white faced capuchins monkeys, tiger herons and boisterous toucans. Your boat is equipped with an ice chest with water and if you’d like to have additional beverages in the boat you can ask your guide to stock the ice chest with your favorite drinks (at an additional cost). Return to the lodge in time for bocas (Costa Rican hors d'oeuvre) at the poolside bar and dinner at the riverfront open-air restaurant.
Please note: The time of your scheduled tour may change depending on weather conditions.
DAY 4: Boat and bus transfer from Tortuguero to San Jose
After breakfast, board a boat with your local Naturalist Guide and depart on the 1.5 to 2 hour trip to the dock area where a Service Guide and van driver will meet you for the drive back to San José (3-4 hours). Along the way you will pass through the Braulio Carrillo National Park.
Upon arrival to San Jose enjoy the remainder of the day and evening at your leisure.