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Please find below descriptions how to get to Tortuguero from:

  • San José
  • Puerto Viejo/Cahuita/Manzanillo
  • La Fortuna

From other destinations as for example the pacific coast, Monteverde, etc. you generally must travel via San José. So, we recommend checking the best option to get to San José at your departure destination and then follow the description from San José.

Important to know before travelling:

  • To get the last bus to La Pavona you should arrive in Cariari before 15:00h. If you arrive later, there are no more connections to La Pavona and you must stay overnight in Cariari, before continuing your journey the next day. There is no accommodation option at La Pavona.
  • If you travel by car make sure to be at La Pavona around 16.00h, to get the last boat!
  • Do not leave your luggage or personal belongings in the overhead compartments inside the bus and do not leave your luggage unattended at the bus terminals. There are no muggings, but unfortunately there are persons taking advantage of unguarded moments.

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FROM SAN JOSÉ

BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

1. From San José to Cariari (by bus): 

Buses from San José to Cariari depart from the Terminal Gran Caribe (or Terminal Caribeños) in San José. The trip takes about two hours. Cariari is the last stop.
Departure times: 06:30h, 09:00h, 13:00h (Later departures will not get you to Cariari on time to catch the last bus to La Pavona).
Tickets: Tickets are available for about $3, 50 / ₡1600 at the counter inside the terminal.
If you miss the direct bus to Cariari, there is the possibility to take a bus to Guapiles (departing from the same terminal) and in Guapiles another bus to Cariari.

2. From Cariari to La Pavona (by bus):
The buses to La Pavona wait at the Cariari bus terminal. Look out as well for buses stopping outside the terminal. The trip takes about one hour. La Pavona is the last stop.
Departure times: 05:00h, 11:30h, 15:00h
Tickets: The tickets are purchased on the bus. The driver comes through to take the money. The ticket costs about $2,20/ ₡1100.

3. From La Pavona to Tortuguero (by boat):

Boats to Tortuguero depart from La Pavona several times per day. The departures of the boats are coordinated with the arrivals of the buses. The boat trip takes between 45 minutes and two hours, depending on the water level of the river. Tortuguero is the last stop.
Departure times: 6.00/6.30am, 9.00/9.30am, 11.20am, 1.00/1.30pm, 4.00pm
Tickets: Tickets can be purchased directly in the boats. The ticket between $5-10/ ₡3.000-5.000.

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BY CAR

1. From San José to Cariari:
Take the road 32 from San José to Guapiles. In Guapiles follow road 32 until you get to the petrol station, Santa Clara. Turn left. After 8.1 km driving north turn left at the cross-way. Follow the train tracks for another 0.7 km and once getting to the main street turn right. After 10.4 km you arrive at Cariari.

2. From Cariari to La Pavona:
Follow the road passing through Cariari. After 7.1 km you reach a crossway. Turn right in direction to Campo Dos. Follow the signs to Campo Dos and Cuatro Esquinas. Follow the road to Cuatro Esquinas. After 8.9 km you get to the village Palacios. After the small grocery store Abast Palacio (on the right-hand side) turn left. The way to the Tortuguero National Park is now indicated by signs. Follow the street for 5.7 km until getting to a building with old parking slots. Turn left and follow the road until getting to la Pavona (the road ends here). There are 24h guarded parking facilities in La Pavona. The price per day is about $10.

3. From La Pavona to Tortuguero (by boat):
Boats to Tortuguero depart from La Pavona several times per day. The boat trip takes between 45 minutes and two hours, depending on the water level of the river. Tortuguero is the last stop.
Departure times: 6.00/6.30am, 9.00/9.30am, 11.20am, 1.00/1.30pm, 4.00pm
Tickets: Tickets can be purchased directly in the boats. The ticket between $5-10/ ₡3.000-5.000.

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BY PLANE
The airline Sansa and Aerobell operate flights to Tortuguero. The departure airport is San José. For prices and timetables please consult the home page www.airline-sansa.com or aerobell.com. The airport in Tortuguero is about 10 minutes away from the center of the village. A taxi (boat) to the village costs about $10/person.

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BY SHUTTLE

A shuttle from San José to Tortuguero takes about 5 hours. We can offer this services for small groups or a company with this service is for example Jungle Tom Safaris.

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FROM PUERTO VIEJO/CAHUITA/LIMÓN

BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION (by bus and boat via La Pavona):

1. Take a bus from Puerto Viejo/Cahuita to Limón
2. Take a bus from Limón to Guapiles
3. Take a bus from Guapiles to Cariari
4. From Cariari to La Pavona (by bus): The buses to La Pavona wait at the Cariari bus terminal. Look out as well for buses stopping outside the terminal. The trip takes about one hour. La Pavona is the last stop.
Departure times: 05:00h, 11:30h, 15:00h
Tickets: The tickets are purchased on the bus. The driver comes through to take the money. The ticket costs about $2,20/ ₡1100.
5. From La Pavona to Tortuguero (by boat): Boats to Tortuguero depart from La Pavona several times per day. The departures of the boats are coordinated with the arrivals of the buses and there are nearly always people receiving you and showing you the way to the boats. The boat trip takes between 45 minutes and two hours, depending on the water level of the river. Tortuguero is the last stop.
Departure times: 6.00/6.30am, 9.00/9.30am, 11.20am, 1.00/1.30pm, 4.00pm
Tickets: Tickets can be purchased directly in the boats. The ticket between $5-10/ ₡3.000-5.000.

The travel time is about 7 - 8 hours and it costs around $16-17 per person.
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 TRAVEL VIA MOIN (by bus, taxi  or shuttle and boat via Moin):
1a. Take a bus from Puerto Viejo/Cahuita to Limón – the last bus to get on time to Moin leaves at 7.30h from Puerto Viejo and then a taxi from Limón to Moin $7-10

There are also buses from the center of Limón to the harbor of Moin, the journey takes about 30 minutes and is operated by the company Tracasa, but they only leave once every hour – to be on time at Moin you have to take the bus at 8.30h, which means leaving Puerto Viejo/Cahuita at 5.30h/6.00h.

or 1b. Take a shuttle with pick you up at your hotel in Puerto Viejo/Cahuita to Moin ($20-$35 p.p. depending on the departure point)

2. At the harbor of Moin, there are boats to Tortuguero nearly daily at 10.00h. The trip takes about 3,5- four hours. The boats from Moin to Tortuguero costs $35 per person and it is recommendable to reserve one day in advance to assure availability.  
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SHUTTLE (via La Pavona)  -MIN. 3 PERSONS:

Shuttle options offer to pick up at your hotel and bring you by car/minivan to La Pavona and then it goes on by boat from La Pavona to Tortuguero. This option takes about 5, 5 hours including the boat and costs around $80-85 per person (a minimum of 3 persons is required).
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BY CAR
There is no direct road connecting Limón and Tortuguero. If you are traveling by car you have two options:
1. Leave your car at a guarded parking in Limón and travel via Moin as described above.
2. Drive via Siquirres, Guapiles and Cariari to La Pavona. From La Pavona boats depart to Tortuguero several times per day. The boat trip takes between 45 minutes and two hours, depending on the water level of the river. Tortuguero is the last stop. Departure times: 6.00/6.30am, 9.00/9.30am, 11.20am, 1.00/1.30pm, 4.00pm; Tickets: Tickets can be purchased directly in the boats. The ticket between $5-10/ ₡3.000-5.000.
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FROM LA FORTUNA

BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

a) Vía San José (Duration 10-12 hours including waiting times)
1. From La Fortuna to San José (4 hours): Take the first bus leaving in the morning.
2. By taxi to the Terminal Caribeños: We recommend to take a taxi to get from the arrival terminal to the Terminal Caribeño.
3. From San José to Cariari (by bus): Buses from San José to Cariari depart from the Terminal Gran Caribe (or Terminal Caribeños). The trip takes about two hours. Cariari is the last stop. Departure times: 06:30h, 09:00h, 10:30h, 13:00h (Later departures will not get you to Cariari on time to catch the last bus to La Pavona). Tickets are available for about $3, 50 / ₡1600 at the counter inside the terminal. If you miss the direct bus to Cariari, there is the possibility to take a bus to Guapiles (departing from the same terminal) and in Guapiles another bus to Cariari.
4. From Cariari to La Pavona (by bus): The buses to La Pavona wait at the Cariari bus terminal. Look as well for buses stopping outside the terminal, sometimes the bus to La Pavona stops in front. The trip takes about one hour. La Pavona is the last stop. Departure times: 05:00h, 11:30h, 15:00h; The tickets are purchased on the bus. The driver comes through to take the money. The ticket costs about $2,20 / ₡1100.
5. From La Pavona to Tortuguero (by boat): Boats to Tortuguero depart from La Pavona several times per day. The departures of the boats are coordinated with the arrivals of the buses. The boat trip takes between 45 minutes and two hours, depending on the water level of the river. But do not worry. The trip is wonderful. Tortuguero is the last stop. Departure times: 6.00/6.30am, 9.00/9.30am, 11.20am, 1.00/1.30pm, 4.00pm; Tickets: Tickets can be purchased directly in the boats. The ticket costs between $5-10/₡3.000-5.000 per person.

 b) Vía Ciudad Quesada, Sarapiquí and Guapiles (Duration 10-12 hours incl. waiting times)
You can do this option as well in two parts, staying overnight in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí or Guapiles.
1. By bus from La Fortuna to Ciudad Quesada (about 1,5 hours). Take the earliest one if you like to travel in one day.
2. By bus from Cuidad Quesada to Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí (2 hours)
3. By bus from Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí to Guapiles (1,5 hours)
4. By bus from Guapiles to Cariari (about 45 minutes)
5. From Cariari to La Pavona (by bus): The buses to La Pavona wait at the Cariari bus terminal, look as well for buses stopping outside the terminal. Sometimes the bus to La Pavona stops in front. The trip takes about one hour. La Pavona is the last stop.
Departure times: 05:00h, 11:30h, 15:00h
Tickets: The tickets are purchased on the bus. The driver comes through to take the money. The ticket costs about $2,20/₡1100.
6. From La Pavona to Tortuguero (by boat): Boats to Tortuguero depart from La Pavona several times per day. The departures of the boats are coordinated with the arrivals of the buses. The boat trip takes between 45 minutes and two hours, depending on the water level of the river. But do not worry. The trip is wonderful. Tortuguero is the last stop.
Departure times: 6.00/6.30am, 9.00/9.30am, 11.20am, 1.00/1.30pm, 4.00pm
Tickets: Tickets can be purchased directly in the boats. The ticket costs between $5-10/₡3.000-5.000 per person.

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BY CAR

Travelling by car you should count with 5-6 hours travel time from La Fortuna to Tortuguero including the boat trip.

Leaving La Fortuna drive first direction Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí, then from Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquó direction Guapiles and from Guapiles direction to Cariari. Follow the road passing through Cariari direction to la Pavona. There are 24h guarded parking facilities in La Pavona to leave your car (the price per day is about $10) and you go on by boat.

From La Pavona boats depart to Tortuguero several times per day. The boat trip takes between 45 minutes and two hours, depending on the water level of the river. But do not worry. The trip is wonderful. Tortuguero is the last stop.
Departure times: 6.00/6.30am, 9.00/9.30am, 11.20am, 1.00/1.30pm, 4.00pm
Tickets: Tickets can be purchased directly in the boats. The ticket costs between $5-10/₡3.000-5.000 per person.

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BY PLANE
The airline Sansa operates flights from La Fortuna to Tortuguero. For prices and timetables please consult the home page www.airline-sansa.com. The airport in Tortuguero is about 10 minutes away from the center of the village. A taxi (boat) to the village costs about $10/person.

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BY SHUTTLE

Shuttles from La Fortuna to Tortuguero cost about $65 per person per way and it takes normally around 5-6 hours. The transfers include generally pick-up at the hotel (in the center of La Fortuna) and transfer by minibus and boat. For pickups from hotels outside of the city center there can be a supplement. If you need help with the reservation, please do not hesitate to contact us.

useful information

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