Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica


The wetlands of Costa Rica are some of the best areas to experience a variety of birds and wildlife, especially for those looking for a family or bird watching holiday to Costa Rica.

Generally only accessible by boat, the wetlands are remote, unspoilt and above all, protected. They allow for excellent observation of birds, monkeys, reptiles and more.

Two of the most popular wetland areas are the national parks of Tortuguero and Cano Negro, however, we can also take you to lesser known places such as the private ecological reserve of Rancho Humo in Guanacaste.

Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica

Tortuguero National Park

Tortuguero is one of the most diverse and famous wetlands in Costa Rica. Tortuguero National Park incorporates dense rainforest, lagoons, brackish swamps and a network of meandering channels. It is also home to over half of the bird and reptile species found in Costa Rica.

Caiman, Cano Negro, Costa Rica
Costa Rica

Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge

Located in the north-east of the country and only accessible by boat is Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge. The wildlife here is exceptional. Monkey, sloth, caiman, black river turtles and the wonderful Jesus Christ lizards can all be seen. Birdlife is also plentiful with tiger herons, jaribou and ibis making it a favourite destination for Costa Rica bird watching holidays.

Green Iguana, River Tempisque, Palo Verde National Park, Costa Rica
Green Iguana, Palo Verde National Park, Costa Rica

Palo Verde National Park

Palo Verde National Park is an extraordinary region. Covering over 45,000 acres, paradoxically it is both a spectacular wetland and one of the best examples of a tropical dry forest in the world. The reason for its juxtaposition is due to the Tempisque River that floods in what is a relatively arid environment. Although a haven for aquatic and migratory birds, due to the low rainfall, the tropical dry forest provides a different habitat for other wildlife.

Roseate Spoonbill, Costa Rica
Roseate Spoonbill, Costa Rica

Rancho Humo Private Ecological Reserve

Located in Guanacaste the plains of Rancho Humo are naturally flooded each rainy season, only partially drying out during the summer. While much of the region has been drained to provide cattle grazing for farmers, Rancho Humo has worked tirelessly to restore the balance and provides a fantastic private wetlands experience. Set over 2640 acres of including parts of Palo Verde National Park, Rancho Humo is at the heart of an important conservation area. Jaribou, storks, spoonbills, herons and cormorants are just some examples of the varied birdlife that can be observed here.

Sea Turtle, Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
Sea Turtle, Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica

Our Specialists' "Must Do"

The coastline of Tortuguero might defy any preconceptions of a Caribbean beach. It is a rugged and seemingly interminable strip of dark volcanic sand. Pounded by surf, littered with jungle detritus and fringed by thick forest, it is wild and beautiful.


What do you really love doing? We curate your itinerary especially for you.

Keel-Billed Toucan, Costa Rica

Wildife of Tortuguero

Peacefully meander down the waterways of Tortuguero National Park by canoe, getting up close and personal with birdlife, colourful frogs and lizards, playful monkeys and sloths. You are surrounded by the warm Caribbean sea, where you can watch baby turtles taking their first steps towards the sea.

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Sea Turtle, Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica

Tortuguero Turtles

Witness Atlantic Green Turtles coming ashore to nest in Tortuguero.

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Go Bird Watching in Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge

Opportunity to see a number of migratory birds in Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge.

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Views from Maquenque Eco Lodge

Take to the trees

Live in a tree house high above the lakes and rainforest at Maquenque Lodge

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Caiman, Cano Negro Natural Lodge, Cano Negro, Costa Rica

Crocodile Central

Take a boat ride along the Rio Frio near the Nicaraguan border to see hundreds of crocodiles sunning themselves along the river bank.

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Rachael Tallents

Adventure, discovery and my curiosity for people and the natural world is what drives my love of travelling.  I am grateful for my parents’ desire to explore, and from an early age my eyes were open to diverse landscapes, cultures, and underwater worlds.

For the last 16 years, I have worked for a leading luxury tour operator designing incredible journeys for discerning clients and travelled to some magical places. I am excited to have joined Steppes Travel, and to be working for a company with such strong ethical and sustainable values.

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Clare Higginson

It was my passion for languages that first encouraged me to leave the UK behind and grab my rucksack. Since then, it’s been a mixture of intriguing cultures, jaw-dropping landscapes and the wonder of seeing animals in their natural habitat that sees me continuously extending my travel wish list.

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John Faithfull

Costa Rica is simply the best spot in Central America for nature lovers, and is always John’s top recommendation for those wishing to hike, swim, zip, raft, ride or float through outstanding scenery and rich biodiversity.

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