Costa Rica on a Shoestring - Day 2: Tortuguero
Tortuguero Travel Blog› entry 23 of 31 › view all entries
July 22nd, 2009 – by: daisywho
When we reached the canal channels we switched over a small 15 seat boat. The water was pretty murky, making it difficult to spot water snakes and alligators. It was fun riding through the canals. The boat ride took about an hour before we reached Tortuguero. We docked and walked over to the Princesa Hotel where we were staying. We checked in and had some lunch at the hotel.
After lunch, we headed into town to check out the Turtle Conservation Center. We each paid $1 (donation) to go into the small center and learn about the turtles that mate along the beaches of Tortuguero. The lady at the center showed us skulls of the different types of turtles that mate here. Then she showed up a few preserved baby turtles in jars.
After exploring the Turtle Center, we walked back into town. On the way there was a coconut shack that was selling Coco Loco, which were fresh coconuts with a bit of alcohol. The guy selling the coconuts cut them open with a machete and filled it with a bit of liquor, it was delicious. It was a nice refreshing drink to have in the hot Caribbean sun. Then I walked around town for a little bit, exploring the souvenir shops.
Our hotel was literally within steps of the beach. We all relaxed on the beach before meeting for happy hour and dinner. After dinner, we met our guide for turtle watching. Each group consisted of one guide and 10 people. Then each group is assigned to a different section of the beach. We were group 1 in section 3. They use to let groups walk along the beach in search of turtles laying eggs, but this scared the turtles away. Now they set up pavillions away from the beach and have groups wait there until the spotters see a turtle. You sit in the dark and wait patiently for the spotters to radio in a sighting to the guides. The spotters wait until the female turtle starts to dig the egg chamber.
We were all getting pretty anxious because we weren't sure how long we would have to wait or if we would even be able to see a turtle tonight. We waited in the dark pavilion for about 30 minutes before we received the good news. There was a turtle laying her eggs between section 29 and 30. I was so excited that we were lucky enough to get a chance to see a turtle lay her eggs. We headed onto the beach and waited for the turtle to finish digging the egg chamber. While we were waiting, our guide showed us the turtle tracks along the sand. They looked like tracker wheel prints. He also went over some turtle mating facts and statistics. Apparently, only about 10% of the baby turtles actually make it to maturity.
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