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Tortugal River Lodge
Asheville, North Carolina
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
“Very helpful”
Reviewed January 5, 2014

The staff at Tortugal - especially Vale - went above and beyond the call of duty and were very helpful! Even when we weren't guests at the time (while staying in El Estor at the head of the lake), Vale helped arrange transport for our family on New Year's Day when bus reliability was questionable. Thank you again!

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Dave S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
iingua, Owner at Tortugal River Lodge, responded to this review, January 9, 2014
Glad Vale was able to help with transportation needs, he is a very nice young man. thank you for your kind words and I hope you will return.
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258 reviews from our community

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English first
Queensland, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
234 reviews
101 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 196 helpful votes
Reviewed December 19, 2013

We stayed for two nights with our tour group overall it was a great experience very nice bungalow. Was nice to have hot water, large rooms, mosquito net. Nice quiet area, boats a/v to go back to town. Only complaints food options limited and not great food. And the language barrier with staff was obvious one young lad was amazing another who just sat behind the counter just managing accounts useless, numerous times forgetting our orders, and trying to pay bills and not room charge was a struggle. Nice experience just a few small things.

Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Katherine P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
iingua, Owner at Tortugal River Lodge, responded to this review, January 9, 2014
Thanks for taking the time to write such a positive as well as helpful review. It helps a lot to know how we appeared to you, your opinion is valued and will help in our staff training.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
starbuck
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed December 14, 2013

My wife and I decided at the last minute to take the water taxi from Belize up the Rio Dulce. Poor planning on our part as we speak NO Spanish and did not have a dictionary with us. Oh well that's what makes it an adventure! Gorgeous boat ride from Belize to the dock in Rio Dulce. On the dock we had no clue where to go when a young man came up to us. He carried 8x11 info sheets with pic's on 1 side and English descriptions on the other. We made contact with Tortugal and they picked us up in 5 minutes at the dock with their water taxi. Great little bungalow, good food, great prices, awesome views and friendly staff and the ever present cute dog- hefe. Overall great experience for us. We scheduled a trip through them to a hot springs waterfall that was amazing, but that's another story! Several staff spoke very good English and even gave us some Spanish lessons, my accent stinks! Thanks for a great time.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank jim m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
iingua, Owner at Tortugal River Lodge, responded to this review, January 9, 2014
Thanks for taking the time to write such a positive as well as helpful review. It helps a lot to know how we appeared to you, your opinion is valued and will help in our staff training.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed November 25, 2013 via mobile

The location is okay, though feels more like a port than a jungle getaway. It's a bit of a stretch to call it "remote"; you can basically see the port from the hotel.

There was only one English speaking staff member, who seemed to be the head staff member, and without fail it felt like any question or request (including when we were trying to check out and pay our bill) was a huge bother. I think we talked to him maybe four times during our two days there, for maybe 2-3 minutes each, and each time he would try to walk away mid-sentence, or just stop paying attention.

The owner was around the property, and seemed very friendly - if you own a yacht. Otherwise, felt more like we were being tolerated on the property than were treated as guests. Most of the rest of the staff was okay, one lady was very nice, which made us feel at least a bit more welcome.

The food options were limited and the food was alright at best. When it's your only option (if you don't want to pay for shuttle back to the dock) it would be nice if it was better for the prices.

The building itself is very nice, a fine get away from the busy streets, but honestly I think you could find a better spot a little further down the river for the same price, with more amenities. They have a lounging area but most of the lights were burned out so after dark it became pretty difficult to use.

Overall, I guess if you aren't coming in on a 40' boat, I would say you may be better off elsewhere.

Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
Helpful?
1 Thank TheAaronPDX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
iingua, Owner at Tortugal River Lodge, responded to this review, November 29, 2013
We are a somewhat upscale ecological lodge on the definitely jungled shore of the longest and largest river in Guatemala. We do offer services to guests no matter whether they are land or sea travellers and advertise this homogeny on our website. We are not and never have been, a port, nor do we advertise ourselves as being in a remote location, although Rio Dulce is close to the Caribbean, away from the commercial centers.

We think we have a very good selection of food, including homemade soups, salads, and desserts, homemade ice cream and homemade bread, Bulgarian yoghurt.
The menu is extensive and inexpensive for a river based lodge anywhere. Seafood, Mexican food, Chinese fried rice, filet mignon, ceviche, hamburgers, spaghetti, fettuchini Alfredo, nice breakfasts, homemade sausage, sauces.

2 of the 4 English speaking persons who work here attended you while you were here. You could have walked out of the property at any time through a beautiful hardwood plantation to go either to town or to the Castillo San Felipe and eat somewhere else. There is a free shuttle from Tortugal four times a day. If our schedule is not convenient we pick up and there is a small charge, standard anywhere.

Our hope is that visitors will want to eat in our restaurant and most of them do. Eating in the restaurant helps support employment which is sorely needed in Guatemala and everywhere.

There are stresses in travelling with language and cultural limitations and fears. But those are the very reasons we travel, are they not? To reach beyond ourselves, to reach out to others.

We thought you were relaxed and felt supported. We were disappointed that this was not the case. Thank you for pointing out to us what you felt were inconsiderations.

It was busy here during the time you were here. And, you were seeking to communicate with folks who admit they were a bit distracted during your visit. This is a very special small hotel. We all wear many hats. But we did not mean to ignore you or make you feel as though you were not important to us. Because you are.

We will check the lighting in the pool table room so that when you return, and we hope you will, your experience will be more as it should be.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, CA
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed November 21, 2013

My stay at Tortugal was supposed to be in a dorm room, but a large group had booked the open dorm and instead paid for me to have a private room. Although, I really wanted to meet people, this was really nice as I was recovering from severe stomach flu from the deep jungle for several days prior to arrival, and barely eating solid foods.

Manuel personally met me at the dock in Rio Dulce and provided me with lots of advice on things to see and how to get places. He even offered to get me medicine from town. All the staff were very caring and definitely made my stay wonderful. The food was delicious, although I wasn't able to finish most of it. The bread pudding was amazing, with lots of rum flavor.

I definitely felt at home at Tortugal. Manuel was so kind to walk me to the bus stop after the water taxi to town and send me off to make sure that I was safe. ( I am a petite woman traveling alone) This goes beyond great service and makes me feel that the staff truely care about their guests!

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Lemyn216
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
iingua, Owner at Tortugal River Lodge, responded to this review, November 24, 2013
It is a wonderful feeling to know you were so well taken care of by Manuel and the staff and that you were able to recuperate a bit. Hope the rest of your travels went well and that we will see you again one day.
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Denver, Colorado
1 review
Reviewed November 10, 2013

A friend of mine described her experience at Tortugal as delicious. I think this about sums it up. From Manuel and the crew to the beautiful accommodations (go for casita elegante...trust me), to Jeffe the dog, this ranch/resort has the hospitality "X factor" down perfectly...deliciously. It is a perfect blend of professional, clean, quiet, every-need-met, solitude with a feng-shui-esque, communal space where you are inspired to tell your travel (life) story over a drink- family and friends atmosphere for sure. From traveling backpackers to yacht-owners looking to dock and repair, Tortugal somehow does manage to be all things to all travelers. It is clean, the food is good, the layout of residences spans the range of communal to private, free kayaks, cheap drinks, well sourced advice on what else to do with your time in Rio Dulce (they know everybody).There are many places one could stay and have the basics expected of a hotel/ranch/resort. There is something about la gente and the general secluded atmosphere that Tortugal creates that makes it...delicious. Come see for yourself. You will not be disappointed. You'll be quite happy in point of fact. Thank you Manuel and company.

Room Tip: Go for the higher level rooms as the river swells after rain season (Ends in Oct). La casita elegan...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Moveswith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
iingua, Owner at Tortugal River Lodge, responded to this review, November 24, 2013
Thank you for your spectacular review. I especially like fengshuiesque ness when it can be found. thanks again for coming here.
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Katoomba, Australia
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed November 3, 2013

We had been non-stop tours, chicken buses, wandering around town for a week or so, we were ready for some relaxation and we sure got it! A beautifully designed hotel right on the water with a very 'jungle lodge' feel. We were in the guest house that accommodated 8 of the ladies from my tour group, the house itself was lovely and out of the way from the main bar/restaurant and was nice and clean rooms and beds. Some of our other tour members were in the couples rooms which looked very comfortable as well!

The main area of the hotel was very easy to chill out at, with an entertainment room containing books, tv, pool table it was a nice social area. The food and drinks were great (awesome cocktails and the fajitas were some of the best I've had!) It was also nice to take the kayaks out one day and check out the place from the water, there is an old fort to the right of the hotel, about 15 minutes paddling, made a great morning activity. Overall the hotel was lovely and was great for a much needed break in our tour!

Room Tip: They have all different style rooms, if going with friends I recommend one of the larger guest house...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank TheBlondeNomad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
iingua, Owner at Tortugal River Lodge, responded to this review, November 29, 2013
Glad you found Tortugal to be the relaxing kind of place one hopes to find while travelling and that you liked the Nature House, found it to be clean, beautiful and accomodating. And that you took the kayaks out for a spin to the Castillo.

Sounds like a great combination of things, adventure and some much needed rest.

Appreciate your mentioning the food and drinks and how much you enjoyed them, our staff will be thrilled when I pass along your compliments. All the best and hope to see you back one day.
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Additional Information about Tortugal River Lodge

Property: 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 #3 of 18 Specialty Lodging in Rio Dulce
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
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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