Entering Costa Rica from Panamá [1] was by walking across a long rickety railway bridge, completing immigration formalities on either side of the river.


We did not get far along the road, stopping at Cahuita [2], a tiny village with only a few roads and lots of Caribbean character (and characters).  A long black sand beach stretches away to one side with a white sand beach on the other.  It was coconut prawns, black beans and rice for dinner.  Resident howler monkeys wake the town each morning at 5 am.


Following the coast north we travelled 4 hours by boat from Puerto Limón to the remote village of Tortuguero [3] (pop. 550), through a maze of canals.  (There are no roads into or in Tortugero, which means place of turtles.)  Jungle overhanging both banks ensured a lot of bird sightings as well as sloths, monkeys and lizards.  The village lies on a narrow strip of land between the ocean and a long narrow lagoon.  It is the most important nesting ground for the green sea turtle in the Western Hemisphere.  The National Park, established in 1975, works closely with the community to ensure minimum impact by tourism.


We stayed at Casa Marbella in a nice room upstairs with cooling breezes looking out over the river.  A peaceful way to tour the waterways of the National Park is in a canoe paddled by Ernesto.  He was born in the village and has extensive knowledge of the flora and fauna in the area.


The bridge into Costa Rica

Black sand beach at Cahuita

Food cart in Cahuita

One of Cahuita´s resident howler monkeys

River boat to Tortuguero

Sloths high in the trees along the river

Jungle lines both sides of the canal to Tortuguero

Howler monkey

Abandoned railway bridge appears out of the jungle


Jesus Christ lizard (walks on water)

Venomous snake

Bird entering the Oro Pendula nests

Fly catcher

Arriving at Tortuguero village

Main street of the village

Catholic church


White faced monkey



Mangrove tree in flower

Large rainforest flower

Spider monkey

Canoeing the narrow creeks

Ready, set, go

Unusual flower

River otter