Costa Rica can claim to have several of the world’s prime turtle-nesting sites, but even here, nowhere comes close to the beaches of Tortuguero. One of the most protected areas in the entire country, the reserve can only be visited by boat, with registered tour guides, and permits are essential. Once those details are dealt with, you can breathe and just look forward to enchantment.
Green and hawksbill turtles nest from July to October, and the season’s at its peak in August. Leatherback tend to arrive later in the year, nesting from February to April.
It’s possible to see turtles year-round in Tortuguero, but sitting on the beach at night, watching these magnificent creatures ritually lay and bury their eggs, is an experience children never forget. They’ll also learn plenty, since turtle watching is only possible in the company of expert local rangers to avoid disturbing the animals. And if you’re all lucky enough to take a guided tour when tiny turtles hatch, and make their ocean-bound, mad-dash scramble, that’s the real Costa Rica jackpot.