Tortuguero National Park is one of the most varied within the National Parks System, with 11 ecological habitats, from high rainforest to herbaceous marsh communities. Fronting the sea is the seemingly endless expanse of beach.
Tortuguero National Park shelters a fabulous array of wildlife, including more than 309 bird species, among them the great green macaw; 57 species of amphibians, 111 species of reptiles, 3 species of marine turtles, 30 species of fresh water fish, including the Gar, considered to be a living fossil, 60 mammal species, including 13 of Costa Rica's 16 endangered species, manatees, jaguars, tapirs, ocelots, cougars and river otters. Commonly seen birds include toucans, aricaris, oropendolas, swallow-tailed hawks, several species of herons, kingfishers, anhingas, parrots, and jacanas.
There is a narrow lagoon behind the lodge which is connected to the sea at one end and fed by a river at the other and which parallels the beach for its full 35-km length. Behind the lagoon there is a coastal rainforest threaded by a maze of serpentine channels and streams which are fed by rivers flowing from the central mountain ranges and by the rains that nourish the area. On the periphery of the forest lies a complex of swamps.