Amazingly, 25% of Costa Rica’s land area is covered in protected jungle, and it generates 98% of its energy through renewable sources, with a real focus on sustainable eco-tourism. This crazy biodiversity and eco-focus was evident in the next stop on our tour of Costa Rica, Tortuguero.
Tortuguero is a village on the country’s Caribbean coast. Part of Tortuguero National Park, it’s close to the rainforest, black beaches and is a haven for turtle nesting. Tortuguero is about a 3 hour drive from the capital city, San Jose, and requires road and boat travel to reach much of the accommodation in the area.
Poas Volcano is an active volcano, around a 1 hour drive from San Jose. There are some beautiful hotels in the area and we chose the Poas Volcano Lodge as our base.
The next day we chose to explore the volcano, national park and small museum on the site. You can climb or be driven up the volcano, which requires no walking effort. The crater itself is impressive and on a clear day it’s a great view of the lava flow and bubbling steam. We learned from the small volcano museum on site that yellow in the rocks indicates sulphur and red indicates iron.
Before leaving for Tortuguero, we decided to walk a nature trail at our lodge known as a Quetzal Trail. Quetzals are brightly coloured, rare birds and at many of the lodges in the area, including at Poas Volcano Lodge, there are lovely nature walks in the grounds of the hotel to try and spot some! We walked the Quetzal trail, a 5km walk which took us through an array of mix of broken bridges, lack of signposts, steep drops, rough terrain, dairy farmland and primitive forest. The ground and forest were sodden with moss and orchids were growing freely. We didn’t see any quetzals!
After a long 3 hour drive to the coast, we had to board a boat to reach our accommodation, Pachira Lodge. It was a really exciting experience following the canals winding through dense, verdant, wet rainforest which reaches right to the water’s edge. During the journey to the Lodge we even spotted a crocodile!
The lodges at Pachira Lodge
Whilst staying at the lodge, we then spent the next few days going on various nature walks and nature boat trips. We spotted a tiger heron, a toucan, spider monkeys, grey-green iguanas, a caiman, vultures, vipers, crabs, a ‘lacy’ black heron and various other birds – by the end we felt immersed in Costa Rica’s amazing biodiversity. And of course, the sloth was the absolute highligh.
Tortuguero village is also small and colourful, being a remote but popular destination for outdoor sports. There is a small airport, internal flights being a sensible and easy way to fly from one part of the country to another, and we recommend flying from this airport if you are then heading on to another area of Costa Rica.