Biotopo Monterrico-Hawaii information
Sometimes called the Reserva Natural Monterrico, Biotopo Monterrico-Hawaii is administered by Cecon (Centro de Estudios Conservacionistas de la Universidad de San Carlos), and is Monterrico's biggest attraction. This 20km-long nature reserve of coast and coastal mangrove swamps is bursting with avian and aquatic life.
The reserve's most famous denizens are the endangered leatherback and ridley turtles, who lay their eggs on the beach in many places along the coast. The mangrove swamps are a network of 25 lagoons, all connected by mangrove canals.
Boat tours of the reserve, passing through the mangrove swamps and visiting several lagoons, take around 1½ to two hours and cost Q75 for one person, Q50 for each additional person. It's best to go just on sunrise, when you're likely to see the most wildlife. If you have binoculars, bring them along for bird-watching; January and February are the best months. Locals will approach you on the street (some with very impressive-looking ID cards), offering tours, but if you want to support the Tortugario (who incidentally has the most environmentally knowledgeable guides), arrange a tour directly through the Tortugario Monterrico .
Some travelers have griped about the use of motorboats (as opposed to the paddled varieties), because the sound of the motor scares off the wildlife. If you're under no time pressure, ask about arranging a paddled tour of the canal.