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Tortuguero is another region of the country that offers accessible wilderness. Since the area is relatively flat, this is a good choice if you are not prepared for the rigors of hiking on uneven terrain.


The area consists of swamps, marshlands, canals, virgin rainforest and a narrow strip of beach which has become famous for the sea turtles that lay their eggs there. Getting to Tortuguero is an experience in itself. The easiest way is to book a one or two night package from one of the many lodges in the area.


A comfortable bus will pick you up at your San Jose hotel early in the morning. You drive through the cloudforests to the east coast, then through the huge banana plantations of the Caribbean slopes. You will usually stop at the banana processing area for a brief discussion of the banana industry. Then you will board a boat for the trip through the canals to the lodge.

Along the way you can expect to see monkeys, sloths, crocodiles, and dozens of varieties of waterfowl. Numerous tours available from the lodges include nightly walks along the beach during turtle nesting season. A little further north is Barro del Colorado, which boasts some of the world's best tarpon fishing. This is a completely different side of Costa Rica that you do not want to miss.


The return trip can be the exact reverse on the trip in to Tortuguero.  One of is lodges are also offering round trips from San Jose or Arenal volcano, or a combination of the two.  If you plan to visit other parts of the country, you can take a quick and inexpensive flight back to San Jose.  You will arrive in the early morning, with a full day to get to your next destination.


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