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“Like Pirates of the Caribbean, but real!”

Las Tortugas Adventures
Ranked #4 of 9 things to do in Canovanas
Attraction details
Reviewed March 17, 2013

I was skeptical about kayaking through a mangrove in the pitch dark with about 150 other tourists to view the bioluminescent waters of the nature reserve's lagoon, but Las Tortugas Eco-Kayaking made it work! Nature reserve rules allow each of 5-6 separate companies to take 30 kayakers each (Las Tortugas is one of them) through the mangrove to the lagoon after dark. The companies have worked out a system where each attaches a dayglo plastic ring to your life jacket so you can avoid bumping into one another in the dark. "Jake," our Las Tortugas guide, had a wonderfully booming voice, reassuring manner, and was extremely knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and humorous! So were the rest of the Las Tortugas staff. I am a global traveller who is pretty jaded about tourist attractions, but I truly enjoyed this. It was fun, unique, and relaxing to glide slowly through the mangrove at night, winding up in a moonlit lagoon where we learned a bit about the organisms that light up when you splash the water with your oar while also taking in the Puerto Rican shoreline at night. Memorable! The only limitation is that you can only order tickets through a hotel chain, and not directly from Las Tortugas on their website.

1  Thank MUNTH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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42 - 46 of 70 reviews

Reviewed January 14, 2013

The guide seemed very knowledgeable to start but once we got to where we were going, he seemed to run away since there were no bio luminescence anything to be seen, right after he told us there were 1,000,000 organisms per liter of water. Well, nature is nature, but do you think for close to $100 per person he might have told us why we just got there soaked and a little scared trough the mangroves? And WHY there was absolutely nothing to see that particular night? And why did the the booking agent not tell us to bring a towel, as were soaked in our shorts for the hour plus bus right back home. Anyway, there is a better way to treat intelligent people that are looking to pay to do something interesting and this was not the way. We did however find it a little fun though since the ride through the mangroves was out of a horror movie in the dark. So we chalked our money and the experience up to something new and different but nothing due to the reason we went in the first place.
And lastly there was no availability to even buy a snack, they gave us a bottle of water but then allowed some giggly couple to run down the street and order food from a restaurant while the rest of us 15 people sat in the bus like idiots at the landing site freezing and hungry and downright miserably wet, waiting while contemplating the money we spent having not seen what we came to see. The giggly couple were rude, BUT the bus driver should have left them to find their own way back or at least told us 15 polite freezing customers that we should join the giggly couple at the restaurant if we were hungry, don't you think?
The bathroom facilities were those in a public park, somewhat clean but not all working and no toilet paper, so again, do you think that for all that money they could have offered us paper towels. NOPE not that either.

Thank OrlandoTraveler11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 24, 2012

Instead of booking ahead since it was Thanksgiving day (we couldn't contact any offices for any tour group since they were closed due to holiday), we showed up to the area and started asking some of the tour companies if they had available kayaks. Some were already booked, some were 50+ dollars, and some just looked questionable. Las Tortugas (I think the fellow's name was Jake that greeted us) said they only had 2 spots left (I figured it was a marketing scheme---say you only have 2 spots left when we, conveniently, only needed 2 spots---but it was legit, they were booked solid except for one kayak!), provided bug spray prior to the trip, gave us a cash discount, and had water/chips available after the trip.

Important side note: EVEN though the moon was fairly bright, the experience was still well worth the cost. I was super disappointed when we headed out towards the bay and the moon was out, but not to worry, we could still see the bioluminescence very clearly (if you gently move your hand/paddle, it will be pretty faint--have to really aggitate the little dinoflagellates to get them to shine bright lol).

All in all-highly suggested. Its not super intense, but lets be realistic. It isn't a walk in a park. There are bugs, there are fish, its wet. If you're coming from mainland USA, the area where you meet and get in the kayaks is sketchy and the bathrooms are less than adequate. Its an adventure. Live it up and expect that with 20 other people in kayaks that likely aren't experts that you're going to get bumped into. The experience is well worth it, and Las Tortugas did a great job.

Thank Mr R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 23, 2012

We did the bioluminescent kayaking trip, this was the highlight of our trip. Our guide was amazing, he knew all of the science behind the glowing plankton. I would highly recommend this group. They also had bug spray for those of us that forgot to bring it!

Thank M M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 16, 2012

The tour was awesome! Our guide was Jake, whose degree in biology was definitely a plus, because he could speak authoritatively about local wildlife. The tour involves paddling very stable sea kayaks across perhaps 200 yards of open water, through a channel lined with red mangroves, and into the bioluminescent lagoon--in the dark. The whole experience was magical!

The only negative aspect to the tour was the behavior of some of the other kayakers, whose perspective I suspect is represented in some of the other comments on Yelp. If your idea of fun is sitting on your butt while people bring stuff to you, then this tour is probably not for you. I go kayaking about once a year, and that was sufficient to make me an "expert" among our group, whose members spent much of their time ramming into one another. It was not because it was dark; it was because the two people in each boat were not communicating about what direction to go. If you have even nominal experience with a kayak or canoe, I recommend getting in front of the line. If you are going to whine and ram into things and yell at your spouse, I suggest you stay home.

I felt totally safe on the tour. Yes, it *is* dark, but most of the trip is through water that is only knee deep. Everyone is in a life jacket with a whistle. There were at least three guides in the column. There were lots of people in the group. All of these factors diminished the likelihood of anyone getting hurt or lost (no one did). They tell you exactly what to do if your kayak tips over: stand up. Providing lamps would disturb the wildlife and negatively impact the bioluminescent organisms, which is the whole point of the trip, so people need to suck it up and enjoy the night sky.

A suggestion for the tour guides: ask anyone without kayak experience to go into the water first, and have them practice for 5 minutes before they have to actually paddle in a straight line. Also, there was no toilet paper in the public restrooms. I recommend ladies bring their own, and it might be nice if Las Tortugas Adventures provided a spare roll. Other than that, I have no suggestions. Everything else was great!

Also, our driver was Javier. One of the guys in our group asked if he could get dropped off at a different hotel than where he was picked up, and Javier said it was no problem. Every staff member I dealt with was professional and helpful.

Regarding the price--I paid $99 for the tour, because I booked through the Caribe Hilton. To people complaining about the price: just what do you think you *should* pay for a 60-mile road trip, a kayak, safety equipment, and a skilled guide? I thought it was very reasonable and tipped on top of the set price because I was so pleased with how it went.

Thank Meredith L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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