Tortuguero National Park was first established as a protected zone in the 1960s, Tortuguero became a national park in 1975. This is one of the most important nesting sites in the world for the green sea turtle, which finds its way onto the brown-sand beaches every year from June to October. However, its 18,946 hectares (46815 acres) protect not only the turtle-nesting beach, but also the surrounding forests, canals and lagoons.
The essence of Tortuguero is in its canals. Everything centers around the waterways; therefore, access is by boat or air only. Tortuguero offers a combination of tropical rain forest, with coastline vegetation, mangrove swamps and lagoons, as well as sheltering a fabulous array of wildlife, including over 300 bird species, 50 kinds of fish and around 160 mammals, some of which are endangered species. During the boat trips it is relatively easy to spot monkeys, crocodiles, iguanas, sloths, turtles, and a large variety of birds.