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“Best wildlife viewing in Costa Rica.” 4 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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Free Wireless Internet
Ranked #1 of 9 Hotels in Tortuguero
Scotia, New York
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Best wildlife viewing in Costa Rica.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2014

Tortuga Lodge and Gardens offered the best location for wildlife viewing that we experienced in Costa Rica. My husband and I took a private boat tour with our own guide. It was reasonably priced and provided the most sightings of birds and mammals as compared to other lodges we visited in CR. While it did not have the feeling of "wilderness", it nonetheless met our modest expectations and we obtained some wonderful photos. The guide was knowledgeable and helpful as well. A visit to the town of Tortuguero was worth a visit but really didn't offer much by way of activities. There were a variety of small restaurants and shops but many appeared to be of low quality.

The rooms at the lodge needed updating but were quiet except for the wonderful sound of the waves of Caribbean Sea just beyond the lagoon where the lodge is located. We faced the lagoon and docks which didn't offer a great view and some might prefer the garden view rooms which face the jungle. The food was also very good as was the service in both the restaurant and bar. During our visit there was only one well behaved child but this might be an issue if visiting during holidays and school vacations.

Overall, the Tortuga Lodge and Gardens is a good choice for anyone wishing to observe more abundant wildlife and good service.

Room Tip: Upstairs rooms are more quiet. Request rooms not located near families with children.
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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, March 18, 2014
Dear DoreenReviews,

Thank you for taking the time to review Tortuga Lodge & Gardens, I am thrilled to see that you had such good wildlife sightings, and a chance to get some good photography, while exploring the canals with your private guide. I am also glad that you found the food and service to be good.

The town of Tortuguero is worth visiting as you mention, but mostly to experience a very unique place and culture. The town’s Caribbean roots are very evident and make it a colorful, interesting place to take a walk, especially when accompanied by a guide who can provide you with local lore, and even give you the chance to meet town residents, including students at the local high school.

I was sorry to read you weren’t thrilled with the view from your room. All rooms at the Lodge have a view out to the river, and also into the garden. However, while all rooms have windows facing both directions, two of the six room modules do not offer terraces or balconys facing the garden, and only offer seating facing the river. Although we really like the garden facing terraces, we find that our guests rarely use them. Two of the modules look out over the pier where the boats dock.

Thank you again for taking the time to review Tortuga Lodge & Gardens, we hope to have you back someday. More wildlife awaits!

Sincerely,

Natalie Ewing
Director Marketing & Guest Satisfaction
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450 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 (112)
Date | Rating
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English first
Plano, Texas
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2014

It started already with an adventurous flight from San Jose to Tortuguero, the beginning of a beautiful 10-day trip, so very well organized by Costa Rica Expeditions. Upon arrival in Tortuguero we were welcomed by the sound of birds, the river and the very friendly staff of Tortuga Lodge. We were treated to a healthy and very tasteful breakfast with local fruits among them papaya, pineapple and banana’s. The fruits taste a lot better than at home as they are picked when ripe. Every day a different lunch was served by the very friendly and attentive staff. The kitchen used local ingredients and fruits to prepare the most delicious meals. Dinners were so romantic in the restaurant right on the river and every course was a new, delightful surprise. The staff was exceptional and treated us like family.
Our large and very comfortable room was idyllic and very enjoyable. The room staff did such a nice job surprising us with creative creatures made of towels. We were happy not to have air-conditioning; it was not necessary and the well screened room brought all the smells and the sounds into our room starting with the early morning sounds from the birds followed by the howler monkeys. We started our days with a morning walk in the garden where Juan showed us the early comings and goings of birds we would not see later in the day. We also enjoyed the butterflies and humming birds circling beautiful flowers. These early mornings were tranquil and beautiful in the early morning light with the sound of the river and staff arriving by boat.
We did the National Park Tour and the City Tour with our very knowledgeable tour guides Fernando and Juan. We especially enjoyed the city tour with Juan; he represented his city so well and its history was very interesting. His knowledge of the turtles who come ashore every year to lay their eggs was remarkable and very enjoyable. We had a drink at Buddha’s café with a beautiful view of the river and the entrance of Tortuguero National Park. We also walked all the way back from Tortuguero to the airstrip. It is handy to know that there is a path right next to the beach that leads you all the way back; the sand on the beach is very soft and not easy to walk on for such a long distance.
Our stay was spectacular, thank you all staff at Tortuga Lodge! We will be back for sure!

Room Tip: All rooms are spectacular!
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 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
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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, March 10, 2014
Dear mvl18,

Wow! What a vivid review. I loved reading all the great details about your stay at Tortuga Lodge & Gardens; from the fresh fruits we served you for breakfast to the details of your room to the warm service of our staff.

I was glad to see you took advantage of the free guided bird-walk through the gardens, which we offer every morning at 6 am from the lobby. It´s a chance to walk the grounds and bird watch with an expert naturalist guide like Juan, during the most active hour of the day for wildlife, and as you say one of the most tranquil and beautiful on the grounds. Then you can sit down for breakfast on the river.

It was great also to see that you enjoyed your canal tour in the National Park with Fernando, as well as your Tortuguero Village Tour with Juan (I figure that’s what you meant when you said City Tour, as I’m sure you’ll agree that Tortuguero isn’t exactly a city, but instead a lively little Caribbean town!). I was glad to see you found the path on the way back from town as well, as you’re certainly right that doing the whole thing on the sand can be tiring. The path is better shaded and with packed ground beneath, but it still offers plenty of outlets to pop out and look at the beach.

Thanks again for the review; I know Juan, Fernando and the rest of the staff can’t wait to have you back!

Sincerely,

Natalie Ewing
Director Marketing & Guest Satisfaction
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
York, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2014

We booked a 2 night package with Costa Rica Expeditions on arrival in Costa Rica, a fantastic intro to the country!. We were picked up from the hotel in San Jose and the company went the extra mile to help us with our onward trip. The nature guides were fantastic and showed us so much we would never have spotted ourselves. The gardens are full of birds, frogs and other creatures, we had a visiting Iguana by the pool!
Lovely food and staff at the lodge- really enjoyed the hammocks too!

Room Tip: Liked the views over the river from the first floor rooms
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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, March 10, 2014
Dear Debra R,

We want to thank you for taking the time to write a review of Tortuga Lodge & Gardens, and especially for sharing that great picture. I love how green everything is! I think that of the many photos of the Lodge I have seen, this is one of those that best captures how vivid and alive the Lodge’s setting is.

It was great to see that you enjoyed the services of our staff, especially your local English-speaking Naturalist Guides.

I hope you can come back and visit us again someday. With your camera!

Sincerely,

Natalie Ewing
Director Marketing & Guest Satisfaction
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mount Horeb, Wisconsin
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2014

We spent two nights at Tortuga Lodge and loved it. Great place for serious birders and non-serious like us. Our shuttle boat was delayed due to a late bus (that we were not on) and the Lodge gave us a free outing. Terrific service and terrific food.

Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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, March 3, 2014
Dear Dmanl,

Thank you for taking the time to review Tortuga Lodge & Gardens, I am glad that you enjoyed your stay. I hope that exploring the canals and the rainforest with our naturalist guides made your birding experience an excellent one.

Sincerely,

Natalie Ewing
Director Marketing & Guest Satisfaction
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2014

My girlfriend and I stayed at this amazing lodge for three nights in mid-February. This was part of a 3-week trip in Costa Rica and was truly the highlight. I have travelled many places throughout the world and stayed in some of the finest hotels, but none have impressed me quite as much. What's special about Tortuga Lodge, apart from the wonderful accommodations, excellent food and service, and stunning location, is the way you are treated - like one of the family. Eduardo in particular always had a smile on his face like he was happy to see you and wanted to help make your day special. From the initial greeting to the send-off at the plane, we were so well taken care of. Thank you to everyone at Tortuga Lodge for making our stay a very memorable one! (Rita and Toni)

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • 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 3
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, March 3, 2014
Dear Seattle258,

Thank you for taking the time to write us this great review. I was very proud to read that your stay at the hotel impressed you, and that you were able to rank us up there with the hotels you have stayed in around the world.

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 our staff have formed a tight group that really does feel more like family than coworkers. I love how that feeling can often get transferred to our guests.

I made sure that Eduardo and his team read your review, and thanks again for sharing.

Sincerely,

Natalie Ewing
Director Marketing & Guest Satisfaction
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ontario
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2014

It's the small, simple things that made our stay here a delight - the staff waving to us upon arrival (and shaking our hands upon departure), the gracious service, the happy hour munchies in the evening, the coffee station, the thoughtful treats left in our room as a surprise on Valentine's day - it all adds up to making our stay wonderful and memorable. Add to that the uniqueness of the lodge itself - the screened windows so you can hear the wildlife, the large, comfortable rooms, the gorgeous gardens, the view of the river from our room and from the restaurant.
It is indeed rustic though - don't expect large pools with swim-up bar, buffets, entertainment, etc. - this is a place to relax and chill out in the peace and quiet.The pool is small but pretty - we were there in mid-Feb and there was always room at the pool. The food was excellent - you have choices for breakfast and dinner but lunch is family-style and a set menu - however, they bring extra servings if you have hungry people at the table. Normally I list pro's and con's in my reviews but I have no con's. Here are the pro's:
- service is excellent (including guides)
- great food
- great tours with very small groups (we did the river tour and village tour)
- gorgeous gardens/grounds
- comfortable rooms

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 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, February 24, 2014
Dear iphegenia,

Thank you for taking the time to write us a review, we were thrilled to see how much you enjoyed your stay at Tortuga Lodge & Gardens. I am proud to say that all those little details you enjoyed are the result of a manager with a great touch, and a staff that really goes the extra mile to provide excellent hospitality to their guests. I couldn’t be happier with our team at the hotel.

It was great to see that the hospitality was complemented by the Lodge’s unique setting. The pool is special because of its design more than its size; it is designed to blend in with the water of the river, and is also filtered using a unique salt system, and no chlorine. It is best used for relaxing during the heat of the day, and not so much for laps or exercise, but it can fit up to twenty five people very comfortably. With our hotel’s small size overcrowding in the pool is not an issue.

Thanks again for your great review and for touching on so many of the little details which although perhaps are not the most obvious, and are certainly more difficult to place on a typical list of hotel amenities, contribute so greatly to the quality of the experience.

Sincerely,

Natalie Ewing
Director Marketing & Guest Satisfaction
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2014

Our family spent time at this special lodge in December, as part of our journey around Costa Rica. The lodge is great and run by enthusiastic people, who make you feel welcome. The rooms are well appointed and comfortable. The excursions provided by the lodge are great fun. We all really enjoyed the kayaking down the river with a knowledgeable guide who pointed out the wild life as you glide down river. The food was excellent with every meal having great choices, the open coffee and tea station were welcomed, as we are early rises, and its great to be able to help yourself to a good cup of Costa Rican coffee. Our stay here was terrific and a wonderful start to our vacation.

  • Stayed December 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, February 19, 2014
Dear AnnieK2215,

I am very pleased to see you had such an enjoyable time at Tortuga Lodge & Gardens. Thank you for leaving us your review; it was an action packed one, and I hope that reflects your stay. I am glad you had good wildlife sightings during your kayak tour, good dining in the restaurant, and enjoyed your morning cups of Costa Rican coffee by the river in the mornings.
Early rising suits Tortuga Lodge and its environment, and so of course us having the coffee ready and waiting is essential.

I hope the rest of your travels through Costa Rica were just as enjoyable.

Sincerely,

Natalie Ewing
Director Marketing & Guest Satisfaction
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. •Atmosphere: Quiet, laid back and tranquil. No background music. • Suggested activities at hotel: Palm and Orchid Gardens. Plan on 1 or 2 hours. Award winning Riverside Pool. Plan on 1 hour to morning or afternoon per day. 3 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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