A great map of Tortuguero
Tortuguero is a difficult place to get lost in unless you wander through the neighborhoods off the main streets. No shops were selling this map in Tortuguero although many of them had them tacked onto walls for your reference.
Not the brilliant aqua blues normally associated with the Caribbean Sea. The beaches and the surf along the northwest Caribbean shore in Costa Rica are wild. The beach at Tortuguero was deserted--not a single soul in sight. The water was much too rough for swimming.
However, these beaches do attract a lot of attention those few nights a year that the green turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. The green turtles live their lives swimming throughout the Caribbean reaching as far north as Florida coastal waters, but the females all come back to the Tortuguero area to lay their eggs. For centuries turtles and their eggs were ravaged by sailing ships and the local people. However, a marine biologist, Archie Carr, began studying the green turtles in the 1950s and was able to prevail upon the Costa Rican government to grant the turtles protected status. In present times the local people and the Costa Rican government understand the conservation issues and the turtles are now zealously guarded from would be poachers.
Reptiles: Lizards and Cayman
When we were in Costa Rica in 1997, the reptiles we saw included alligator, iguana (photo 5), river turtles (photo 3) and cayman (photo 4). This time we saw mostly Jesus Christ lizards.
That is the common name for the basilisk lizard which has webbed hind feet and can run upright over the surface of the water for a short distance. Smaller basilisks can run about 10-20 meters on the water surface without sinking, and the young can usually run farther than older basilisks. We saw them do their running across the water trick in 1996 from a canoe when we were in Drakes Bay (on the Pacific coast). Basilisk is a corruption of the word for 'little king' which probably comes from the fact that their heads are adorned with both a crest and a coloured dewlap. We saw them in Tortuguero in 2008 - although only sitting on branches - not running around.
There are no cars in Tortuguero at all. The only way to get around is by boat or foot. Some days it is as busy as a freeway & other days like a country road. At night there is a fair bit of "traffic" as residents go up & down the canal visiting.
Every dog deserves a napping spot. The hounds seemed to have free run of the village, but none seemed aggressive or threatening in any way. I imagine they help keep vermin under control and of course, they provide useful services as play companions for the villages children.