Tortuguero National Park, together with the National Wildlife Reserve in Barra del Colorado, create a biological corridor, located in the northeast of the province of Limon, Costa Rica, about 80 km north of Limon City. It is the migratory route for most of the tropical birds in the region.
The purpose of this biological corridor is to protect and conserve the marine and terrestrial resources of the region. Tortuguero was declared a National Park on October 28th, 1975 by Law number 5680 and was extended in 1995 with land given by the Neotropical Foundation and the Agency of Danish Cooperation. The park is now 26,000 square kilometers.
Tortuguero is mostly an extensive plain with very little elevation, with the exception of Tortuguero Hill, a dormant volcano, from the top of which one can see the ocean and the lagoon. This wildlife zone has several ecosystems: a very humid tropical forest, a marshland, lowland forest, and hill forests.
This ecosystem supports more than 200 terrestrial species: amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, and more than one thousand species of plants. It is quite common to see the parrots, herons, toucans, crocodiles, alligators, iguanas, and manatees, which in this area are close to extinction.
Most of the danger to tepezcuintles and sainos comes from illegal hunting as well as the illegal collection of turtle eggs and hunting of the adult turtles. Of the eight remaining species of marine turtles in the world, four of them lay their eggs in Tortuguero: the Leatherback, the Green, the Loggerhead and the Hawksbill.
All of them are in danger of extinction due to the illegal harvesting of the eggs, which are laid between July and September of every year. Access to the beaches during this time is restricted. Nocturnal visits to observe the turtles laying their eggs are allowed only with a guide.
The agricultural activity of the region includes bananas, plantains, corn, peppers, ornamental plants, yams and yucca.