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“Animal lover's dream” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Tortuga Lodge & Gardens

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Tortuga Lodge & Gardens
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Across from the airstrip | 1 mile north of the Town of Tortuguero, Tortuguero 6941, Costa Rica   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 9 Hotels in Tortuguero
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Seattle, Washington
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Animal lover's dream”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2013

Tortuga lodge is definitely in a remote location. Be aware that it costs $5 each way to get to town if you leave tortuga lodge. Something to think about when they have set lunch meals of $24 and dinner is $29 (3 courses though). With that being said, Tortuga lodge is gorgeous and if you want to see animals, this is the place to come. There is a trail around the hotel property that is free and we saw howler monkeys, poison dart frogs, tons of huge iguanas and lots of toucans. We did many tours through tortuga like the boat tour (saw sloths, ant eater, spider monkeys, howlers, and caimons), did the private turtle nesting tour (saw 5 mothers is various stages of the egg laying process!), and did the turtle hatching tour (saw about 10 babies!!!). Our guides were very knowledgeable, patient and it helped that they could also speak English. My husband and I highly enjoyed all the tours- not only seeing the animals, but learning all about them too, something you can only get from having a guide. Tortuga lodge doesn't deserve 5 stars from just being in a lucky location though. They earned it from their helpful staff at the reception desk. My husband and I was traveling through Costa RIca with a tour and they told us to get to a certain town at a specific time but didnt organize transportation for us. Eduard (assistant manager) spent a lot of his time helping us figure out the best form of transportation to get to that town. He ended up booking a private taxi for us, haggling a price, making sure we were well taken care of. He was very patient and incredibly kind and I thank him and his team for making sure we had a nice time in tortuguero but also making sure we got to where we needed to be on time and safely.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Natalie E, Guest Relations Manager at Tortuga Lodge & Gardens, responded to this review, September 23, 2013
Dear katie c,

Thank you for your generous and descriptive review. It was great to read about all the animals you saw around the property.

I was thrilled to see that you enjoyed your guides. I wasn't however, too surprised. I don't know who specifically you toured with, but all of our guides are the best and most experienced in the area. We work only with experienced naturalists, all of whom have spent years in and know intimately the rainforests of Tortuguero. Watching them pick every type and size of animal out of the vibrant and thick Coastal Rainforest is something that never ceases to amaze me, or our guests.

If you're curious to learn more about the guide (or guides) you toured with, you can find all of their biographies under the "Your Guides" tab on the Tortuga Lodge’s website.

Thanks for your great review; we hope you come back and visit again.

Sincerely,

Natalie Ewing
Chief Marketing & Guest Satisfaction Officer
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545 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (141)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Chilliwack, Canada
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2013

We stayed for 2 nights and 3 days at the Tortuga Lodge and Gardens recently. I cant speak highly enough of all the staff. It started with my emails with Douglas arranging our trip, He was most helpful and never tired of any of my questions. Our pick up at our San Jose hotel was flawless, Abalardo (sorry if I get some of these names incorrect) warmly greeted and transported us to the airport. The staff at the resort were all so friendly and helpful as well, Juan our guide for a private turtle tour was wonderful as were Enrique, Ayala and the rest of the wait staff. And finally Eduardo the asst manager made sure things went smoothly for us. We cant speak highly enough of this resort....first class all the way. They made us feel welcome from our first minute until our last. Thank you!!

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Natalie E, Guest Relations Manager at Tortuga Lodge & Gardens, responded to this review, September 18, 2013
Dear wader,

I was so glad to read that the staff were able to make you feel welcome, and that you were able to connect with so many of them, ranging from Doug and Abelardo (so close! we just call him Lalo) to Eduardo and his team at the Lodge. Our staff at Tortuga Lodge is an interesting mix of people from all different backgrounds. Some are transplants from San Jose and the populated Central Valley, many others were born and raised in Tortuguero.

I don’t know if it’s the out of the way nature of the lodge, or the tranquil nature of life on the Caribbean coast, but they have formed a tight group that feels more like family than coworkers. I love how that feeling can often get transferred to our guests.

We appreciate you taking the time to give us your review.

Sincerely,

Natalie Ewing
Chief Marketing & Guest Satisfaction Officer
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hartford, Connecticut
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2013

Our family loved staying at the Tortuga Lodge. It is in a beautiful location and the rooms are very comfortable and clean with one side facing the river and the other the jungle. The screen only windows let us hear all the sounds of the area, especially the monkeys in the morning! The lodge provides all inclusive service and the food is wonderful. The excursions are very well done. We had a very informative boat trip on the river and saw a good deal of wildlife. We took part in the evening expedition to see the green sea turtles nesting on the beach, an amzing experience and so glad to see the precautions that go into protecting the habitats of these beautiful creatures. Everyone we encountered was extremely helpful and genuinely nice. We had a chance to take part in a short excursion to a local school to help teach English to the children, and it turns out that we learned a great deal from them!. This was one of my childrens favorite experiences of the trip.

Room Tip: We stayed in a balcony room and had a view of the river - very nice.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Natalie E, Guest Relations Manager at Tortuga Lodge & Gardens, responded to this review, September 12, 2013
Dear Susan M,

It made me very happy to read your review and see how much you enjoyed the different aspects of the lodge, including the wildlife, your excursions and our on site restaurant.

To avoid any confusion with someone considering a visit to Tortuga Lodge, I wanted to clarify that we do not provide all inclusive service. What we do offer is a meal plan that includes an a la carte breakfast, family style lunch and reduced a la carte dinner. This meal plan can be included ahead of time, or purchased upon your arrival at the hotel.

I was thrilled to read how much you enjoyed the turtle nesting expedition. Tortuguero has always been defined by the cycle of the sea turtles. At first that relationship was exploitative: there is evidence that native people visited Tortuguero during the 5 month nesting season to hunt turtles since way before Europeans arrived in the Western Hemisphere. And by the mid 1800’s there was thriving trade in turtle meat, oil and shells, much of which was exported to the United States and Europe.

Then in 1954 Dr. Archie Carr, a zoologist from the University of Florida, Gainesville arrived in Tortuguero to study sea turtles and the town was on its way to a big change.

In 1975 Dr. Carr and prominent Costa Rican conservationists convinced the Costa Rican Government to create Tortuguero National Park. The coming of the park deprived the towns’ inhabitants of their traditional sources of sustenance; turtles and cutting timber.

Beginning in the early 80’s attracted by the beauty of the park and its highly diverse and abundant wild-life vanguard travelers began to discover Tortuguero. Enchanted by what they found those early travelers spread the word. Now Tortuguero, still only accessible by boat or light air-craft, is a mecca for nature travelers.

Now the town recognizes the value in protecting the town's critical role in the turtles' life cycle. With the help of the Costa Rican National Park service a careful and well structured system for sharing the nesting experience with visitors. I am thrilled you enjoyed it.

Sincerely,

Natalie Ewing
Chief Marketing & Guest Satisfaction Officer
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2013 via mobile

We had an amazing time at the tortuga lodge - the staff is amazing & very friendly - always doing the best to make you happy. Our guide Norton was also very nice and very knowledgeable - we had great fun on every tour we took with him. The rooms are very nice and very unique - as there are only nets on the windows you can hear the entire jungle at night - really incredible! The food was also great! And for last - the turtle nesting tour which we took with Angelo was simply amazing - if you made the effort to get to tortuguero don't miss this tour!

Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Natalie E, Guest Relations Manager at Tortuga Lodge & Gardens, responded to this review, September 12, 2013
Dear Tzooki,

Thank you for taking the time to review Tortuga Lodge & Gardens. We are thrilled you enjoyed your stay, and the service of your naturalist guide Norton.

You may already know this, Norton Sinclair, better known as “Putut,” was born on March 10, 1964, in Rio Maíz, Nicaragua. At the age of 9 he and his family walked from Nicaragua to Costa Rica in search of a safer place to live. Norton began working as a guide in 2005, of his life before guiding he says:

“I'm sometimes ashamed to admit that I contributed to destroying the forests and worked at a plywood factory,” says Norton, “but at least I learned and am now dedicated to conservation. There are people that still hunt and cut down forests in this region today. They have still not understood the damage that is caused.”

We hope that you will have the opportunity to return to Costa Rica in the not too distant future, knowing Norton as I do I’m sure that he would be very happy to see you again!

Sincerely,

Natalie Ewing
Chief Marketing & Guest Satisfaction Officer
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montclair, New Jersey
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2013

We had a wonderful time at the Tortuga Lodge - extremely comfortable rooms, excellent food, a wonderful staff and excellent activities. Norton and Fernando were excellent guides, and the wildlife we saw with them was extraordinary. We also enjoyed the Words Adventure Program. We would highly recommend a visit to this area of Costa Rica - a bit off the beaten path but well worth it, and a stay at the Tortuga Lodge a definite must.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

An experience unlike any other. Chased howler monkeys in the rain forest, hired a local villager who took us out in his dug out canoe through the rivers at moonlight looking for crocodiles and boas. Saw amazing wildlife like the "Jesus Christ" lizard (walks on water!), poison arrow dart frog, amazingly beautiful exotic birds, spiders bigger than my hand. Turtles on the beach. If you are in Costa Rica you should schedule at least a couple days in Torteguero. And Tortuga Lodge is the best one in that locale.

Room Tip: You might want to ask which rooms the monkey's don't howl in front of if you don't want...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Natalie E, Guest Relations Manager at Tortuga Lodge & Gardens, responded to this review, September 6, 2013
Dear Ron Y,

Thank you very much for taking the time to share your experiences on Trip Advisor.

Your description of what you experienced at Tortuga Lodge made me smile. You mentioned that you enjoyed the abundant wildlife and I thought it would be worth describing the area that you had the opportunity to observe during your boat rides through the creeks of Tortuguero National Park.

Tortuguero National Park was originally intended to protect a major nesting beach of the Atlantic Green Sea Turtle, the Park now protects 51,870 acres, one of the last large areas of tropical rainforest in Central America.

Eleven habitats are found in the park. Three species of monkeys (Spider, Howler, and White-faced), Three-toed Sloths, and river otter are frequently seen along the natural inland waterways and canals. Caiman, iguanas, river turtles, Basilisk Lizards, and Poison Dart Frogs (Dendrobates) inhabit the area, along with more than 320 species of birds including all six species of kingfishers found in the new world, three species of toucans, eight species of parrots, and other neotropical species such as the Slaty-tailed Trogon, White-collared Manakin and Purple-throated Fruitcrow.

One of the really great things about the park is that you have access to these wildlife sightings from motorized boats or sit on top kayaks. This makes it particularly easy to explore.

Please come and see us again!

Natalie Ewing
Chief Marketing & Guest Satisfaction Officer
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Chicago, IL
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2013

My family of 10 stayed at the Tortuga Lodge on August 10-12. Our ages ranged from 7-91 years-old. It was one of 4 resorts we stayed at during our trip to Costa Rica and it stands out for its complete uniqueness and natural setting.

We loved traveling by boat to get to the resort. The surrounding jungles and mangroves are just breathtaking! When we pulled up to the dock there were 5 members of the staff greeting us with waves, smiles and a cold juice beverage.

The rooms were beautiful and clean. The beds were very comfortable. I loved how the buildings had little impact on the look and feel of the natural surroundings. It felt like they belonged there. (Just a note…we seemed to be sharing our room with a gecko or two that left behind little…presents. Not a big deal to our family who have a few geckos at home.)

The sunrise and sunsets were amazing. It was lovely sitting on the balcony and taking in the views and constant sounds of nature around us. It was easy to get lost in a meditative state for a while. Even the air felt fresh and clean.

We were on a package and everything was cared for (except bottled water and pop). There was a table for our group of 10 that was ours for the duration of our stay. The food was really, really good. They even accommodated the special requests of my 91 year-old uncle whose diet is restrictive and simple.

The staff was very friendly and our group just loved our tour guide Norton. He could really spot the wildlife with ease.

The highlights were being woken up each morning at 4:55am (very precise) by the howler monkeys (what a cool alarm clock) and the excursion to see the turtles nesting on the beach. What an amazing experience and it happened to be during a meteor shower. It couldn’t have been better!

Our only complaint was that we were charged for pop and bottled water. Our thought is that if the guests are on a package they should not have to pay for these things. Water is a necessity…it is the rainforest.

Otherwise a truly memorable stay and one we have been bragging about to anyone who will listen since we returned. When we departed they waved as we pulled away from the dock and traveled across the river to the air strip. The plane was ready for us and we took off to our next destination while taking in the views of the rivers and Caribbean Sea below us…it was like leaving Fantasy Island.

Room Tip: For a family of 5...spring for the Penthouse. It was like sleeping in an upscale tree-house!
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Natalie E, Guest Relations Manager at Tortuga Lodge & Gardens, responded to this review, August 28, 2013
Dear Thebizinfo,

Thank you for taking the time to write such a generous and detailed review, it was a pleasure to read. I am thrilled to see that you and your family had an enjoyable stay at Tortuga Lodge. I especially loved your description of the lodge: "the buildings had little impact on the look and feel of the natural surroundings. It felt like they belonged there," and of the time you spent sitting on your balcony and enjoying the Caribbean air, it is definitely one of the most important activities to engage in during a stay with us.

That's great luck about the meteor shower, while the primary objective of a turtle nesting expedition is watching the turtle, getting a starry Carribean night is definitely a real bonus, and having one with a meteor shower must have been truly special.

You are right that our packages do not include bottled water, and that we do charge for it. The reason is that the financial and environmental cost of bringing even locally bottled water to Tortuguero is so high we want to encourage people to drink tap water. We have installed, and are constantly checking, an excellent water purification system at Tortuga Lodge, and we hope to encourage our guests to make use of that as opposed to generating plastic waste (which is also costly to remove). We talk about the water system in the orientation briefing, and it is mentioned in the welcome brochure left in your rooms. If you weren’t aware that the on-site water was potable, please let us know, as that is a communication fault we want to be sure and correct.

It certainly is true that water is a necessity in the rainforest. Not only that, but ideally guests should be drinking much more of it than they normally do, given the humid climate. This is why we thought it important to create a low impact on site filtering system, as opposed to promoting a high impact water importing system. However, to make sure everyone stays hydrated, we also provide a complimentary cooler of bottled water on all our tours and boat transfers.

Thank you again for taking the time to write this wonderful review. I hope you and your family come back to Tortuga Lodge some day in the future.

Sincerely,

Natalie Ewing
Chief Marketing & Guest Satisfaction Officer
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tortuga Lodge & Gardens

Address: Across from the airstrip | 1 mile north of the Town of Tortuguero, Tortuguero 6941, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Limon > Tortuguero
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 9 Hotels in Tortuguero
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Tortuga Lodge & Gardens 3.5*
Number of rooms: 27
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
11 River View Downstairs Terrace Rooms. 12 Upstairs River View Balcony Rooms. (A little more expensive, but worth it. See what reviewers have said by clicking on "room tips") 2 River View Downstairs Junior Suites, with connecting door. 1 River View Upstairs Penthouse Suite with 2 baths. 1 of the Downstairs Rooms is Wheelchair Accessible with 2 baths • Beds: 4 Downstairs Rooms and 5 Upstairs Rooms have 1 King Bed. 6 Downstairs Rooms and 3 Upstairs Rooms have 2 Double Beds. 1 Downstairs Room and 2 Upstairs Rooms have 1 Queen and 1 Double Bed. 1 Downstairs Room has 1 King and 1Double Bed. 2 Upstairs Rooms have 1 Queen and 1 Double Bed. The 2 Junior suites have 1 King and 1 Double Bed • All rooms have: In-room safe, hot water, ceiling fans, reading lamps, hair dryer, free wireless internet and large screened windows so you experience the sounds of the rain forest. • All rooms don't have: TV, AC, or mini-bar. • Service Style: Personalized, informal, caring. • Restaurant: Cuisine: What a Costa Rican Grandmother would cook if she was also a creative and contemporary professional chef. Caribbean themed cocktails, and no we don't mean pina coladas, although we'll make you one of those too. •Atmosphere: Quiet, laid back and with an emphasis on the natural surroundings - most buildings are open air. • No background music. • Suggested activities at hotel: Palm and Orchid Gardens. Plan on 1 or 2 hours. Award winning Riverside Pool. Plan on at least 1 hour per morning or afternoon per day. Hammocks everywhere. Plan on losing track of time in one. 2 computers with internet for guest use at no charge. Spend as little time as possible. You're on vacation. • Tortuguero can only be accessed by boat or by domestic or charter plane. • Tortuga Lodge offers complete packages including round trip transportation, lodging, meals and excursions. • Suggested stay: 3-5 nights. • Owned and Operated by Costa Rica Expeditions. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tortuga Lodge & Gardens Hotel Tortuguero
Tortuga Lodge And Gardens
Tortuga Hotel Tortuguero
Tortuga Hotel Gardens
Tortuga Lodge & Gardens Costa Rica/Tortuguero

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