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“Tortugal, Rio Dulce”

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Tortugal River Lodge
Reviewed June 18, 2014

I really enjoyed my stay at Tortugal a couple of weeks ago. I stayed in the Casita Elegante and it was a very beautiful room, with a wrap around porch, quiet and peaceful. During my 4 night stay, a local orange and white tabby kitten "adopted" me. I was told he was from the finca above the hotel and his name was Gandolph. Years ago, I had a cat with the same name and the same coloring...quite a coincidence! I had to go to the store in town to buy the little guy some cat food. I wanted to take him back to California with me!

I loved the location - not too far from the town, but far enough to enjoy the beauty of the river. The food at the hotel is wonderful and I am a foodie. I tried something different at every meal and never had anything that wasn't excellent. The staff are friendly and helpful.

Thanks to Manuel, Vale and the rest of the crew for making my first trip to Guatemala such a great adventure! I loved the country and will be back! When you see Gandolph, please give him a big hug for me!

  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled solo
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Thank Sacramento_CALaurie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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106 - 112 of 268 reviews

Reviewed May 24, 2014 via mobile

We stayed here two nights whilst on a tour. We stayed in cuarto 1 which was well equipped with two bedrooms and bathroom. It was very clean and the use of mesh for the top part of the walls instead of timber allowed a breeze to cool us and good natural light. From the moment we arrived we fell in love with this site and the beautiful staff. They were always ready to listen and play charades with my poor grasp of espanol. The area at the front was refreshing for a swim with a pontoon to swim out up and relax in the sun. Meals were delicious and inexpensive . Loved movie night and popcorn. We used the kayaks to explore El Castillo but didn't see any manatee:-(. I would highly recommend this place and would go there again. I had read about creatures such as tarantulas but I didn't encounter any thank goodness . Great wifi in the restaurant area with access to a computer as well. Free coffee each morning is also appreciated . Thanks to the kitchen staff who cooked perfected boiled eggs for us and special mention to Heffy the dog who is adorable and Vale- staff who was also available to answer questions and assist - and carry heavy bags- sorry! Only issue i would suggest is improved lighting in the room. Also really loved the reminder from housekeeping about tips- they are so often forgotten about and can really make a stay so much better. Rio Dulce really is a sweet river.

Stayed: May 2014
Thank Snombat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 25, 2014

Stayed at this location with a tour group. Arrived by boat and immediately loved the look of this place with its natural feel. The place is very popular with yachts and other boats from around the world, which are moored at this location, as it is right on the river. Walking down the wooden boardwalk style paths gives you an idea of the numerous nationalities who visit here.

All the girls from the group were housed in the same lodgings which was located at the end of one of the boardwalks. It is two stories with two single rooms and one room which had two beds downstairs and the remaining beds upstairs, there are two bathrooms, a communal area, outdoor entertainment area and a private 'jetty'.

The accommodation is very rustic, akin to a treehouse, with lots of wood and traditional thatching for the roof. My room was enclosed in mesh which was great to keep out the insects. My room had a ceiling fan. The bed was quite firm but I had no issue sleeping, though had to do make some adjustments at night to block out the security lights as the room did not have any privacy or curtains etc to keep out the light. No in room safes.

We ended up calling our place the 'hen house'.

The accommodation and bathrooms were clean and well sized. Initially we had trouble with the padlocks but soon learnt how to lock the doors, which are sliding bamboo gates.

Each of the lodgings are different, the couples in our group were housed in cabins closer to the reception/restaurant.

The restaurant/bar serves great food at a good price, tried various meals throughout my stay and had no issues. There is an upstairs common area which has tv's, books and a pool table. There is free wifi and this worked best if you remained near the restaurant. There is a nice deck you can relax on, away from the eating area.

There are kayaks for those wishing to get adventurous and there is a pontoon you can swim out to and sun bathe on. Transport is generally a boat ride into town if you require anything from there.

Though there were some day trips to partake in, I spent my time reading and relaxing on the grounds.

Staff were always available to assist and were always pleasant. There are armed guards at night, so this added to the feeling of security in the place.

We didn't have any issues with mosquitoes despite being located over water, however one night we had a huge tarantula in one of the bedrooms. A yachtsman who had been befriended by some of our group was kind enough to relocate it. So expect a possible visit by some local animals.

Enjoyed my time at this place and would recommend it.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Kawm2003
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iingua, Owner at Tortugal River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded April 28, 2014

Thank you for a very comprehensive review of The Nature House which is Guatemallan Oriental in style overlooking the Rio Dulce. An elevated deck allows views of the Rio Dulce although the property is well set back and very private. As the review states, the rooms are screened in areas that sleep one, two or three persons and up to nine persons can sleep here. There are two full bathrooms with showers and hot water. The Nature House is a perfect setting for a family reunion or a small group. Thank you for your review. .

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Reviewed April 20, 2014

Some friends and I were on our way to Petén but wanted to stay one night around Río Dulce at an affordable hotel-hostal as we had our budget used in an all inclusive hotel around Tikal. We stayed at "El Ranchito" room that is not a real room but as the Tortugal site states it is an open air accommodation. The room has 4 beds with mosquito nets and reading lamps. The beds and room were clean and looked comfy. You must know that you can hear all of the noises from the river and surrounding boats as El Ranchito is literally built on top of the river.

The sunrise woke us up as there are no walls but the view was amazing (see photos)!

The available bathrooms are across a wood bridge and they are not very private but again, they are good for what you pay! I'm sure the other rooms have much better facilities.

We had dinner and breakfast at the restaurant. The food was good enough for what you pay, it is not an expensive place but is not cheap either but the atmosphere of the restaurant is well worth it. The breakfast was good, maybe a little too small.

I'm giving 4 stars only because the common area downstairs from where we slept was very dirty. Apparently it is used by some other tourists from the near docks to cook and drink and they leave the place a bit dirty. Also when we requested the boat to go back to the parking lot they said we had to pay Q60.00 which was not part of the original deal. At the end they did take us back for free as we were expecting and as it was arranged from the beginning so everything cool.

So if you are looking for a cheap option inside a more expensive hotel this is the place! I CANNOT tell about the other rooms but for what we got in El Ranchito I'm sure the other rooms are very nice.

Anyway I do recommend it!

Room Tip: El Ranchito gives no privacy and a girl from our group couldn't sleep much as she was very nervo...
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  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled with friends
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Thank rhobbc
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iingua, Manager at Tortugal River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded April 28, 2014

The Ranchito experience is one of sleeping in your grandparents attic (if you had that opportunity as a child....I did!) Breezes flow through this setting overlooking the Rio Dulce. The prices are very reasonable...within reach of most backpackers.
Thank you for writing about your experience in The Ranchito and I wish you continued journeys.

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Reviewed April 1, 2014

This place is so nice, clean, amazing staff, GREAT food, exceptional place. The Casita Elegante was really nice cozy and you can really you are in the jungle..... if you visit this awesome place dont forget to have a taste of their famous honey barbecue chicken pizza.. WOOOWW!!!

Room Tip: all the rooms are clean and very confortable
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  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank Lettynu
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Reviewed March 26, 2014

Spotlessly clean thatched-roof bamboo cabins, a fun on-river restaurant and shallow swimming areas on the banks of the river. We loved our stay here, and our kids were delighted with the "treehouse in the jungle" feel of our bungalows.

Hot water (at night, not so much in the mornings), kayaks for use of patrons, friendly and helpful staff (one even rescued our son's shoe with the boat when it *accidentally* dropped out of the second floor window into the river below) and good food in the restaurant.

The only thing I would recommend would be earplugs if you are a light sleeper--the windows are mosquito netting rather than glass, and while that is part of the charm (we're sleeping in the jungle!) it also is hard on the sleep of parents. Many of the bird calls sound remarkably similar to human babies . . .

Highly recommended.

Room Tip: We stayed in bungalows 1,2,and 3, all were excellent. Each sleeps 3, with a double bed and a twin.
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  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with family
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Thank 80diapers
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iingua, Owner at Tortugal River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded March 30, 2014

Thank you for your lovely review. So happy you enjoyed the Bungalows, which have a full on bath tub, by the way. Not too many places offer this and it can be a welcome feature.

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Reviewed March 18, 2014

This place is so peaceful, the staff very friendly and professional. I keep accidentally dropping my sunglasses in the river and Ricardo twice dove in to retrieve it. I offered to pay him but he refused my money. Manuel, who speaks excellent english is full of information from hotels in the city to dependable taxi drivers. You can ask him anything and he knows exactly the answers. The whole staff is very honest. My husband and I had their special pizza night (yummy) and I forgot my purse with my wallet and money in it. After watching a movie, I remembered where I left my purse and there it was, the restaurant had it and gave it back to me. With no money missing. I already miss everyone there - Daphne, Hefe, Manuel and the rest of the staff, thank lyou for the wonderful stay and we'll see you again. Love from Marie, Angel and Steve

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
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Thank rose h
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iingua, Owner at Tortugal River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded March 21, 2014

What a lovely surprise! Most reviews rarely mention the individuals who work here and who are so fantastic. Not much is written about Guatemallans and they deserve to be written about. They are the hardest working people I have ever had the privilege to know and to work with. They humble me. The morality is incredible. Thank you so much for recognizing this. we send you our collective love and thanks! again for taking the time to write.

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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 20 Specialty Lodging in Rio Dulce
Price Range: $48 - $85 (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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