Great alternative for Tortuguero in Costa Rica - Edventure Travel

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Tortuguero or a non-touristic alternative?

Many Costa Rica travelers have Tortuguero at the top of their wishlist. And with good reason. The lavish rainforest, rich wildlife and vibrant waters make this a top destination. Tortuguero has become one of the most famous national parks in the country for a reason.

We also love it! But, we wouldn’t be Edventure Travel if we didn’t like to look a bit further than the tourist hotspots, no matter how beautiful they are. In this blog we would like to tell you about a fantastic alternative to Tortuguero; Barra Pacuare. We share the ins and outs of both destinations so you can choose what suits you best!



Tortuguero is a famous destination on the northern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Here you are completely surrounded by rainforest and water, lots of water! Tortuguero is located both on the shorte of the Caribbean Sea and in a large system of natural freshwater canals. All this water, the lush nature and the wide variety of wildlife in this area make this destination very impressive. Tortuguero is not called the Little Amazon of Costa Rica for no reason. The area is popular and many tourists head off to discover this beautiful destination.

On your Tortuguero trip you will explore the area from a small motorboat or canoe. The rainforest is home to monkeys, iguanas, sloths, caimans, crocodiles, wild cats and hundreds of species of birds. It will amaze you how much wildlife you can see. You can also spot no fewer than four species of sea turtles. This is very unique, because there are ‘only’ seven species of sea turtles in the world. In Tortuguero, the leatherback turtle, the hawksbill sea turtle, the loggerhead sea turtle and the green sea turtle nest. The breeding season is from July to the end of September and the eggs hatch between the end of September and the beginning of December.

About 1300 people live in the village of Tortuguero, almost all of whom live from tourism. You will find several hotels, lodges and B&Bs around the village. The lodges Edventure Travel works with offer all-inclusive packages. Accommodation, meals, transportation (to/from San Jose), and guided excursions are all included. That is very practical, because Tortuguero is car-free and can only be reached by boat or plane. It is all well organized and with a swimming pool, cocktail bar and other luxuries also very pleasant. All this makes it a very relaxing start of your trip!

Barra Pacuare

Barra Pacuare

In the same canal system, about 40 kilometers south of Tortuguero, is Barra Pacuare. Only a handful of families live in this lush area. They are mostly self-sufficient and live from fishing and growing their own fruit and vegetables. They don’t see tourists very often. This makes sense, because in this unspoilt environment you will only find one ecolodge. This charming accommodation is comfortable and fully equipped, but you can forget about a swimming pool, cocktail bar or wifi. There are also no other facilities in the area.

In Barra Pacuare, nature sets the rhythm. In the morning you are awakened by the howler monkeys and in the evening the crickets lull you to sleep. The lodge’s enthusiastic guides will take you out for an early boat trip through the canals or a hike through the Pacuare Nature Reserve. You will find the same lush animal life here as in Tortuguero. You will almost certainly spot monkeys, sloths, iguanas, snakes and numerous birds and butterflies. And if you travel in the right season you can spot nesting turtles here too; a wonderful spectacle! In your free time, you can grab a canoe for a relaxing trip on the canals, or take a nap in your hammock.

In Barra Pacuare you are far away from everything. There is no telephone coverage and you will not encounter many other people. Accessible by boat only, the lodge offers an all-inclusive package that includes accommodation, meals, transportation and tours. You are really dependent on the lodge because there are no restaurants or other facilities in the area. We think it’s ultimate enjoyment and a real Edventure Travel destination!

Both destinations compared:


🌿National park Tortuguero
🐢Turtles and wildlife
👨‍👩‍👧‍👦Touristic hotspot
👙Luxurious lodge with pool
📲Wifi available
🍹Comfortable start of your trip


🌿Nature reserve Pacuare
🐢Turtles and wildlife
🧍Hardly any tourists
🛏️Simple, but comfortable lodge
📵No wifi or phone signal
🥾Adventurous start of your trip

Customized Costa Rica itineraries

And, which destination has your preference?
If you can’t choose, just forward this blog to your travel buddies. Together you will find out what suits you best. We are also happy to advise you about it.

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