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“Very relaxing”

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Tortugal River Lodge
Reviewed January 14, 2013

I recently travel to Rio Dulce and stayed at Tortugal. The room was well priced and clean. When finding things to do, they staff helped us find what we needed. They recommended a wonderful restaurant for dinner. The food was pretty good. I highly recommend the breakfast burrito. The kitchen closes at 8pm, and the bar at 9pm, so not a late night party place. It was quite with great scenery and friendly guest. Overall, the staff was wonderful. There was one waitress that I hope was new. They only take visa but they allowed me to pay for my room via paypal, since I only had a MasterCard with me.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Penny B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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154 - 160 of 276 reviews

Reviewed January 4, 2013

I always base my reviews on the top 5 important things (in my opinion) and thats how I come up with the # of stars.

1. Rooms
2. Prices
3. Atmosphere
4. Location
5. Customer service
Extra

1. Rooms-My fiance and I stayed in the LOS CUARTOS DE ARRIBA. I didn't see the other rooms but I recommend these. We were just 2 people but there were 2 more single beds (obviously for a family) but didn't mind the extra space. the bathroom walls were made from bamboo and even though I don't like open bathrooms so everyone can hear you, this was actually super cute. bathroom was clean. There was also a mini balcony. I saw the location of the other buildings and besides the dorms, the cuartos were in the best locations. ( I highly suggest room 3. corner is better) Towels were provided. Our friends stayed in the open dorms and absolutely loved it.

2. Prices-the prices were a bit expensive. For Guatemala, $40 for these rooms were a bit much. Although compared to the other locations-it was worth the price.

3. Atmosphere-food was ok. It wasn't fantastic and their Nachos were just chips and cheese. which I hadn't spent the money. But they had a good salad. Bit pricey. They have a really cool upstairs with pool table, library, etc. great hang out spot!

4. Location-The spot was good. It was right next to the castle so kayaking there was perfect! Also the hotel is right on the water and has a great view.

5. Customer service-fantastic. I recommend booking a place in advance (even same day). For guests with reservations, they have a free pick up from the dock. There was a very helpful guy who spoke very good english that helped us. (although he was the only english speaker so brush up on some spanish in case he's not there) They also booked us pick up transport from the hotel to livingston. Although, we were put on the tourist boat who stopped along the way and conveniently next to little kids in boats trying to sell us things. but since i have no idea what the other options might have been, we didnt mind too much.

Extra-free kayak. BIG plus!

Room Tip: Cuarto 3-corner room w/balcony
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Dtourtravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 31, 2012

We really enjoyed our time here, I don't think you could be more "on the water" if you tried to. The waterside grounds are very charming and the fact that the hotel can only be accessed by boat is great. We opted for the what you could call their suites and we simply couldn't believe the elegance and comfort of the room. There are complimentary boat rides to town at various specific times and they can also arrange your boat ride up and down to Livingston. The restaurant is unfortunately where things aren't up to scratch. Everything you order comes out of a deep freezer, even the fish, especially absurd after you've visited the town's fish market literally a 5 minute boat ride away. Everything we ate, Mexican or "international" was disappointing.

Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
Thank djopm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 20, 2012

We have stayed at El Tortugal on several occasions, both on our sailboat at the dock and in a bungalow ashore - and we will keep going back! The staff - Daphne, Manuel, Rhum and others never fail to make us feel welcome and offer assistance when needed. They pick us up in record time at the Rio Bravo Pizza dock when we get off the bus, they assist with lines when we pull in from the river. The food is always delicious, and the open air restaurant is a happy place to share coffee in the morning and drinks in the evening. On site laundry delivers fresh clean clothes, showers are hot and the water is plentiful. Bungalows are rustic but spacious, docks are sturdy and grounds are lovely. A massage from Blanca is the absolute best! A walk through the jungle takes us to the main road - turn left for an early morning hike to Lago Izabel or right to walk to town. There is no pool, but because El Tortugal is located upriver from the town, we felt comfortable swimming in the river.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank svMadcap
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 8, 2012

We can't stop telling our friends and family how fantastic our trip to Tortugal was. We are sailors who flew down to explore for future. We will definitely return! The beauty of the jungle , sounds and birds greeted us every morning. We had no problem with Mosquitos. The staff was friendly and helpful. The food was great!

We loved Casita Elegante with it's huge patio. We didn't want to leave!

Room Tip: Casita elegante peaceful and beautifully decorated. There is a luxury hotel in Livingston , Villa...
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Willow123LaJolla_
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 27, 2012

I stayed at Tortugal with my husband for a long weekend. We booked a bungalow for 3 nights.

Tortugal is basically as beautiful as the website makes it look - the rooms are not quite as "fancy" as they appear online but the location is great. The restaurant and common areas overlook the rivers. Shared restrooms are very clean, as is the sundeck and other seating areas. Rio Dulce as a location met my expectations, and Tortugal was a good place to stay while there.

Room:

The bed was comfortable, a huge plus for Guatemala! We had plenty of room in the bungalows, there were shelves to keep our bags and also an extra bed plus the queen where we slept. The bathroom was also plenty big. Hot water did not work consistently, I took two cold showers. My husband was smart enough to go and use the "dorm" bathroom, where he had a hot shower, so I'm disappointed that for the extra money on a bungalow we didn't have consistent hot water.

The walls between the bungalows are also EXTREMELY THIN. From Bungalow 2, our neighbor's toilet must have been exactly opposite our bed's headboard. This meant we woke up in the middle of the night for unpleasant toilet sounds. :-\ I know they are using local materials to build the rooms, but I would think they could at least mitigate toilet sounds from crossing into the next room.

Service:

Everyone at Tortugal was super friendly, they recommended a boat driver we should use and he was also friendly. No complaints there - I did neglect to tell them about the hot water because I don't like being a pain, but I realize I should have told them, their response would help me to evaluate the service.

Atmosphere:

As mentioned above, the place is beautiful. It does have a mix of boaters and general travellers, and everyone was very friendly. There are a few free boats every day and the boat drivers were punctual and friendly as well!

Food:

Food was decent. Mostly we ate breakfasts in the restaurant, plus one dinner. It felt a bit more expensive than most places in Guatemala are, but then again it is a touristy spot. You could save some money and eat better by walking into Fronteras and eating/drinking at Sundog.

I was tempted to give this place 3 stars based on our room situation (TOILET!!) but the property itself is 4 stars. If you stay in a bungalow, choose number 3 -- I think it is the only one where the bedroom doesn't connect to a bathroom. We could hear our neighbors from Bungalow 1 snoring in the middle of the night so we might have been their nosy bathroom neighbors!

Room Tip: The bedrooms in Bungalows 1 and 2 have a toilet near your head!
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank danicwa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 15, 2012

My wife and I were able to spend four nights here in early November. We found all of the staff to be outstanding people and it seemed that they were working all of the time to insure that our questions on things to do were answered and to serve us in whatever way we asked. This hotel's clientele seems to be a mix of adventure sailors who are stopping here for a while ( or keeping their boats here as second homes) and the overland travelers, like us, looking for a good place to relax while exploring this area of Guatemala. Even the big, pit-bull cross, dog and the resident cats are friendly. The drinks are cold and the simple food from the restaurant is fresh and good. The language heard mostly is English but is was being spoken by people from the US, Canada, Germany, Scotland, Holland, Brazil, and certainly, Guatemala. There were plenty of traveler stories to be heard and there are a few interesting side trips available if one desires to arrange them. There are trips up to Tikal and over to Copan and Quirigua' ruins, and to a local hot water falls, and to a local scenic canyon, plus a chance to walk, ride or paddle a kayak or canoe to the restored old Spanish-anti pirate-fort nearby. We particularly
enjoyed the day trip down to the coastal town of Livingston since it provided us an opportunity to see a little bit of the Rio Dulce and its famous canyon. The birds are flying everywhere, the mosquitoes were almost non-existent at this time and the night rains were really great sounding on our bungalow.

Room Tip: We enjoyed our bungalow and really never saw any of the other accomodations
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank RonJ7540
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
daphnetortugal, Owner at Tortugal River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded November 16, 2012

I really appreciate your taking the time to write such a comprehensive review and for sharing your impressions of Tortugal. Thank you for being our guest. Daphne (owner)

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 Tortugal River Lodge

Address: Casilla Unica Fronteras | Between the Bridge and Castillo San Felipe, Rio Dulce, Guatemala
Phone Number:
Location: Guatemala > Izabal Department > Rio Dulce
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 22 Specialty Lodging in Rio Dulce
Price Range: $53 - $88 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Tortugal is an oasis of tranquillity, hospitality and unparalleled nature on the largest river and lake system in Guatemala, 22 miles inland from Livingston and the Caribbean Ocean. If you have been travelling to or from Guatemala to Tikal or Belize, Tortugal is a great stopping place for a day or so to rest and relax as though you were at home. Trips to Livingston or the soothing and therapeutic hot waterfalls at Finca Paraiso, excellent massage service can be arranged. Rooms at Tortugal are said to be the most beautiful in this region and are furnished and decorated with your comfort and relaxation in mind. Several options in accomodations include a private lodge for up to 9 persons to elegantly decorated private rooms and bungalows for one to four persons. You will arrive by water to Tortugal's welcoming restaurant built over the river to offer panoramic views of what is happening on the river from sunrise over San Gil to Castillo San Felipe. Homemade food includes many vegetarian choices, steaks, seafood, Mexican, Asian cuisine, homemade with love. The Rio Dulce region is part of La Ruta Maya, the ancient Mayan road. You can dive and swim in the clean water of Rio Dulce here. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tortugal River Lodge Guatemala/Rio Dulce

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