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Need information about Tortugueuro tour

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Sunnyvale, CA
posts: 196
reviews: 159
Need information about Tortugueuro tour

We (2 adults, 2 boys ages 8 and 12) are thinking about going to Costa Rica this summer and Tortuguero is on top of our list of things to see. We will be renting a car and driving on our own but since you need to take a bus/boat to Tortuguero we will probably rent the car after the tour so this would be the first thing we would do. After looking at the descriptions it seems like all the tours leave San Jose really early in the morning and you have a 25 pound per person luggage limit. This will be a problem since: we will be on California time and don't want to get up *too* early the first day, and we will be gone for over 2 weeks hence carrying a lot of luggage. Don't want to store the luggage in the hotel since we will not be staying in the same place after Tortugueuro. Is it possible to pay extra and be able to carry more luggage, and is there any other private company that can take you to the boat launch at a more civilized time during the day?

Destination Expert
for Barcelona
posts: 8,504
reviews: 18
1. Re: Need information about Tortugueuro tour


Anything is possible if you are prepared to pay for it, but the lodges at Tortuguero mostly run to a timetable that means that certain things happen at certain times. I don't recall a 25lbs weight limit when we went in 2003 so maybe this is new.

How much different is California time to CR time? We managed to fly from England to the CR (more than 20 hours travel, via Miami) eat an earlyevening meal when our bodies told us it was about midnight, get an early night and be up and about by 5:30 the next morning. Surely California to CR is a bit like England to most of Europe - only a couple of hours difference. Get to bed early and you'll be fine. Worth bearing in mind that lots of things happen in CR at sunrise, so for tortuguero at least, you might have to get used to the idea.

For a bit of info on our experiences, have a look at our trip report on www.avengerpenguins.com . It has a bird/wildlife bias, but hopefully some useful travel stuff as well.

I think you're doing the right thing going to Tortuguero first - makes sense with the hire car.

Alajuela, Costa Rica
posts: 5
reviews: 20
2. Re: Need information about Tortugueuro tour

Hi -

To my knowledge, ALL of the Tortuguero lodges leave San Jose early in the AM to get a good start on the day. If you are going by bus and boat, you won't get to Tortugeuro until around 1:00 PM at the earliest, depending on which Lodge you are with and where they stop along the way. You will have plenty of time to nap in Tortuguero to catch up on your sleep

: )

Plus, typically, if it is going to rain, it will start in early afternoon, and trust me - you do NOT want to be travelling either the roads or the canals in the rain if you don't have to.

As to your luggage, odds are you are going to have to go back to San Jose to rent a car anyway, most hotels will keep your luggage for a small fee, even if you have already checked out.

Hope that helps!

posts: 25
reviews: 7
3. Re: Need information about Tortugueuro tour

Just returned from Costa Rica (visited 2/11 - 2/21/06). I'm from California and understand your *too* early first day worries.

You're going to have to be like the natives on this one... The bus ride stops for breakfast after about 1 hour and then you continue your ride through banana plantations on a very bad road. You won't be able to get another company to pick you up later as the boats that pick up from the 'port' are on a schedule too. Basically they have one pick up for the lodge a day... Can't do the canels at night as it is not safe.

We stayed at Hotel Aranajuez in San Jose the first night and were picked up at 6:40 a.m. You'll get to the lodge (we stayed at Laguna Lodge... very nice) around 2:00 p.m. and have your first nature boat ride that afternoon.

Don't worry about the luggage... They say 25 lbs limit, but my boyfriend and I shared one suitcase that weighted over 50 lbs and we had no problems bringing it with us. Just remember you'll have to roll or carry it to the boat (think camping like terrain to haul your luggage over)...and transport it to the room (not bad).

We did two days in Tortuguero (loved it!!). On day two you'll have another early morning. You'll get on the boat around 6:30 - 7:00 a.m. to do a walk in the national park (wear the rubber boots the lodge offers because part of the walk is like walking in small ponds...) and then a boat tour of the canels (awesome!!!) You'll forget how early it is because the experience is unbelievable. Just pray for good weather... When we did the canels it was pouring rain (they supply rain gear) we were so wet I thought we would all start quacking like ducks... If you enjoy nature, you'll really love it here.

Pura Vida!