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Tortuguero Beach

Tortuguero Beach

Quick Facts

  • Location : Tortuguero
  • Type : Sandy, small waves, turtle nesting grounds
  • Popularity : Locals and visitors

The fallen coconuts, driftwood and the broken ping-pong ball shells of sea turtle eggs strewn across the pale Gainesboro sand are there to remind you that this is the Caribbean, and this 22 mile-stretch of beach is the most important nesting ground for the green sea turtle in the Western Atlantic Ocean.

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The green sea turtle nesting season runs July 1 through September 30 when thousands of turtles visit Tortuguero's shores and attracts visitors from around the world. The leatherback, loggerhead, hawksbill turtles also nest along Tortuguero Beach, but in much smaller number than the green sea turtles.  Leatherbacks nest in Tortuguero from March 1 through June 30; hawksbill sea turtles, renowned for their decorative shells, come ashore in even smaller numbers from March through October; August is the peak month.

Nighttime tours during the turtle nesting seasons offer visitors a chance to watch the turtles come to shore and lay their eggs. Visitors walking along the beach in the mornings or afternoons might have the opportunity to see baby turtles climbing out of their nests and running to the ocean.

The beach is mostly deserted along the stretch protected by the national park and becomes more popular as it runs north behind Tortuguero village. The beach's soft sand and driftwood make great spots to sit back and watch the ocean.

Though the waves are small (and not suited for surfing) you won't see very many people out swimming in them.  Tortuguero coastline is known for its strong currents and the preponderance of bull sharks, a large aggressive shark that often hunts in shallow waters.

Tortuguero Beach in Pictures