Hiking Guide for Gavilan Trail in Tortuguero National Park

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Tortuguero National Park is a sanctuary brimming with diverse ecosystems, wildlife, and awe-inspiring natural marvels. The Gavilan Trail is a true treasure in the park, a must-visit location for thrill-seekers and wildlife enthusiasts who are ready to take in the beautiful scenery. 

This guide will provide information on the Gavilan Trail, including its length, travel options to get there, packing tips, and any associated costs, so you can make the most of your trip to Tortuguero National Park.

Location and How to Get There

An aerial view of a narrow, winding river surrounded by dense, vibrant green forest. A lone kayaker in a red kayak paddles down the center of the river, creating gentle ripples in the water. The lush foliage along the riverbanks adds to the scene's serene and picturesque quality.
Tortuguero National Park can be reached by direct flight, private transfer with a boat ride, shared shuttle with a boat ride, or car rental with a water taxi, each offering unique benefits for travelers.

Tortuguero National Park is located in the province of Limon, along the northeastern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.

There are 4 available options to reach this beautiful park:


Direct Flight

This is the most convenient method of traveling to Tortuguero National Park from San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. The thirty-minute flight is not much more expensive than using a shared shuttle, and it will certainly save you valuable vacation time while letting you take in the countryside.


Private Transfer Plus a Boat Ride

Private transfers offer exclusive use of a car with an English-speaking driver for larger parties, providing complete control over schedules and convenience. Package offers organize boat and vehicle journeys, saving time and trouble. One highlight is the boat ride through picturesque rivers and canals renowned for animal sightings. The approximate total time is around 6 hours.


Shared Shuttle Plus Boat Ride

Shared shuttles are quick and less expensive than private transfers, and can be reserved separately or as a package. They drop off at La Pavona dock and take a stunning boat journey to Tortuguero, stopping frequently for animal viewing. Six hours or so is the approximate overall time.


Car Rental Plus Water Taxi

Last but not least, you can rent a car and drive from San Jose to La Pavona in 2.5 hours, drop off at a guarded lot, and take a public water taxi to Tortuguero. We recommend you exchange dollars for colones and carry coins for tolls.

Note: The boat departs La Pavona at 7:30 am, 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 4:30 pm, costing $3 per person and taking 45minutes-2 hours, with an additional $2 for each bag brought on board.

Once in Tortuguero, you may arrange guided tours or get a lift to the park gate, which is where the Gavilan Trail begins. As an alternative, guests staying in Tortuguero lodges or eco-resorts might be able to access the route right from their lodging.

Cost of Admission to Tortuguero National Park and Schedule

A view from a small boat navigating through a narrow, winding waterway in a dense tropical forest. The water is calm and surrounded by lush greenery, with large leaves and thick vegetation hanging over the water. In the foreground, the back of a person wearing a blue shirt with a red and white patch is visible.
The park is open year-round, including holidays.

The entrance fee for adults is $17, and for kids up to 12 years old is $5.

The park remains open all year round, including on holidays, from 6:00 am to 12:00 p.m. and from 1:00 pm until 4:00 pm.

Exploring the Gavilan Trail

A hiker with a backpack is walking along a rocky trail in a mountainous area with lush vegetation. The path is surrounded by large boulders, banana plants, and various tropical trees. The hillside in the background is covered in green foliage and shrubs, under a partly cloudy sky, creating a sense of adventure and exploration in a vibrant natural setting.
The Gavilan Trail is a relatively flat path ranging from 1.8 to 3.1 miles round trip, suitable for all ability levels, including families with children.

Hiking enthusiasts have the rare chance to get up close and personal with the rich biodiversity of the region along the picturesque Gavilan Trail, which meanders through the center of Tortuguero National Park.

The trail’s length might vary based on the exact path traveled, but it usually covers 1.8 to 3.1 miles (3 to 5 kilometers) total round trip. Families with kids can hike this route since it is excellent for hikers of all ability levels due to its relatively flat terrain and low elevation increase.

Essentials to Bring With You

A young hiker wearing a wide-brimmed hat and a black long-sleeve shirt is carrying a large yellow backpack. He looks back with a smile at a fellow hiker, whose back and hat are visible in the foreground.
For a comfortable and enjoyable hike on the Gavilan Trail, bring water, snacks, bug repellant, sunscreen, lightweight clothes, and good hiking shoes.

We recommend you bring necessities like water, snacks, bug repellant, sunscreen, lightweight clothes, and good hiking shoes. A comfortable and pleasurable trip requires wearing breathable clothing and carrying enough water because the terrain can get hot and muggy.

Keep Your Eyes Open to Spot Beautiful Wildlife

A black howler monkey resting on a tree branch high in the canopy, surrounded by dense green foliage. The monkey gazes outward with a calm expression, blending seamlessly with the natural environment.
Hikers on the Gavilan Trail in can expect to see diverse plants and animals, including large trees, vibrant flowers, herons, toucans, parrots, howler monkeys, sloths, otters, and caiman.

Hikers will have the chance to see a wide variety of plants and animals along the Gavilan trail, including enormous trees, vivid flowers, and unusual bird species like herons, toucans, parrots, and more. Amidst the thick vegetation and along the banks of the park’s streams, keep an eye open for elusive animals like howler monkeys, three-toed sloths, river otters, and caimans, among many others.

Pack your bags and come to explore the virgin rainforests, diverse animals, and stunning scenery of Tortuguero National Park along the mesmerizing Gavilan Trail, which provides an enthralling tour through the park’s natural beauties. Nature enthusiasts of all ages are guaranteed a wonderful time on this picturesque path that will never be forgotten.

Learn more about a range of other hiking trips and adventure tours to take in the country’s stunning scenery. Also, discover the ideal holiday rentals tucked away in this tropical paradise’s most breathtaking nooks and crannies.

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