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Tortuguero National Park is a National Park within the Tortuguero Conservation Area. The reserve is also included in the Humedal Caribe Noreste, a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. The park is located in the Limón Province of northeastern Costa Ricamarker. It is the third-most visited park in Costa Rica, despite the fact that it can only be reached by airplane or boat.

El Gavilan Trail through Tortuguero National Park
The park has incredible biological variety, due to the existence within the reserve of eleven different habitat, including rainforest, swamps, beaches, and lagoons. It is located in a tropical climate, is very humid, and receives up to of rain a year.

The park is located on the Caribbeanmarker coast, and its beaches are key nesting ground for endangered sea turtles, such as Hawksbill, Loggerheads, Green and Leatherbacks. The rivers within the park are home to sensitive populations of manatees, as well as caimans, crocodile, and Tropical Gar, which is considered a living fossil. The forests are home to jaguars, three-toed sloths, and three of Costa Rica's four species of monkey: (Geoffroy's Spider Monkey, the Mantled Howler, and the White-headed Capuchin). Basilisk lizards and poisonous frogs also inhabit the area, along with 375 species of birds including kingfishers, toucans, blue herons, peacocks, and parrots. There are more than 400 species of trees and approximately 2,200 species of plants.

The park entrance is accessible from the Cuatro Esquinas center in the village of Tortugueromarker, in the northern part of the park. From this point there are a number of trails you can take. Three aquatic trails, and one trail by foot. The hiking trail is called the Gavilan Trail and is 1920 meters long. The three water trails are the Harold (most popular), Mora, and Chiquero. . The Sector Jalova Station is further south near Jalova Lagoon and the town of Parisminamarker. Aguas Frias Station is on the western edge close to the town of Cariari.

Boat trip into the canals of Tortuguero
Beach at Tortuguero National Park


North of the park is the smaller Dr. Archie Carr Wildlife Refuge and then the Barra del Colorado Wildlife Refugemarker. The latter refuge contains habitats similar to those found in Tortuguero National Park, although much of that refuge is even less accessible. To the south the park is bordered by the Parismina River and the Cariari National Wetlands. The park has worked with the neighboring village of Tortugueromarker to help its inhabitants understand that preserving their natural resources is the key to burgeoning eco-tourism.

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