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“Idyllic”

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Tortuga Lodge & Gardens
Ranked #1 of 8 Hotels in Tortuguero
Certificate of Excellence
Lititz
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Idyllic”
Reviewed April 3, 2013

We stayed at Tortuga Lodge as part of the Quest for Pura Vida tour offered by Costa Rica Expeditions. The setting is beautiful -- at the water's edge and all rooms have views. Rooms are spacious and comfortable with screens and ceiling fans. Wonderful open air restaurant with excellent food. Service is outstanding; staff is welcoming and helpful. Trails in the rain forest at the back of the hotel -- use galoshes provided compliments of the hotel. Exploring the channels in Tortuguero National Park by boat is one of the "must dos" in Costa Rica. A superb experience!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Elizabeth L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Cambridge, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
37 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed March 29, 2013

My friend and I stayed at TL&G for 3 nights in room 3. We were looking for somewhere self-contained, isolated and close to the jungle so we could explore by ourselves. TL&G was exactly that and more... with quite challenging (and muddy) private trails. To be more detailed, I've broken down my review into different areas and included one negative:

Facilities:
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TL&G is quite a large 'resort'. I call it a resort because of the flashy pool, bar and riverside restaurant. Although it lacks some of the rustic charm of many Costa Rican hotels it is still a lovely site... but definitely aimed at more 'up-market' travellers. It has all the facilities you need to get by without leaving the site: laundry room, restaurant, bar, pool, tours, coffee-station, umbrellas, Wi-Fi, welly station, boats in/out (at a cost) etc.

Location:
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Tortuguero itself is quite difficult to reach due to the only access being boats/planes... but there's a reason for that. Thankfully, though there is obviously heavy tourism in the area, the rainforest is still primary and pristine. TL&G is a further boat journey of about 1km up-river from Tortuguero village, in a beautiful and secluded spot just down from the estuary. The resort sits within its own private reserve which is crawling with wildlife (including the most persistent mosquitos in the country, so bring DEET). At the front of the property is the relaxing view of the river. At the rear are the many private - and quite challenging - trails. Plenty to keep you busy for 3-4 days.

Rooms:
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We stayed in an upstairs river view room, which - compared to other places - was quite small but well decorated. Inside fit one king-size bed, tables, lamps a safe and an ensuite bathroom. You could sleep 3 people at a push. Unfortunately we never had hot water our entire stay, but the bed was really comfy and the balcony surrounded the room; giving elevated 180 views of the river and rainforest. Every window had a layer of bug netting, which was great. We never saw mosquitos near the buildings, just on the trails. Outside we had a semi-private balcony with hammock and chairs. My only criticism is that the balcony wasn't private. It would be a 5min job to make it so.

Staff/service:
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Every member of staff was friendly, courteous and dedicated. Unlike a lot of places we've stayed in Costa Rica, there was a tangible divide between staff and guests. I know that sounds like a silly observation - probably to do with the place being more 'up-market' - but the atmosphere was more 'hotel-like' if that makes sense. Still, I can't fault the service or the staff, they did a fine job! As is standard in Costa Rica, all tour guides were great at wildlife-spotting, knowledgeable and patient.

Food:
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Food is not included with the rooms at TL&G. Instead you pay for a food 'package'. E.g. the region of $40 will get you breakfast and dinner for a day or $60 will get you breakfast, lunch and dinner. Alcohol is extra. Unless you're doing a day-trip, there is no easy way of going for food elsewhere... so you have to eat at the lodge.

Initially, I thought the food was overpriced. However reflecting on it, the food is 3 courses of nearly-gourmet quality stuff... really fantastic. Less 'rice-and-beans' and more 'ginger beef on sugar cane sticks'. Meat was tough, but that's common in Costa Rica. The negative is that there wasn't a shop to buy snacks or bottled water in.


Tours:
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TL&G offers a great range of tours, mostly executed by the lodge and staff. Booking a tour was as easy as telling reception and getting your name put on a board. We did a night tour, morning boat tour and afternoon kayaking tour... all of which were absolutely amazing and unlike anything we'd done in other parts of Costa Rica. We saw loads of wildlife (including the rare Green Macaw) and managed to avoid most of the tourists.

Unfortunately, one of our tours was disrupted by a young child. I'm not going to go into whether I think taking a child the rainforest at night is good parenting... but within 5mins of the 1.5hr tour the child was wandering into the vegetation, picking berries, asking to eat all manner of plants, poking animals (including a snake!), wanting to go back and generally being noisy. Even with this going on the guide managed to keep a level head and find some interesting creatures. He didn't cut the tour short either - hats off to him!

Price:
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I won't lie, TL&G is quite an expensive place to visit. However, it is a very different environment to anywhere else in Costa Rica. The diversity of the landscape and wildlife is really pretty special, and TL&G was a brilliant - and comfortable - base from which to do tours, hike the trails and relax with great food of an evening. Worth it!

Room Tip: Upstairs river room (3) is right on the end and furthest away from the main buildings
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
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2 Thank PeteLightning
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed March 29, 2013

Our room at his lodge had 3 large windows with good screens but no glass, which gave it the feel of being in a tent with all the comforts of home. We enjoyed the lodge very much, the staff was great and the food was good. The dining room is right on the river with good scenery. The pool is large and very nice. We were there for 2 nights and were reluctant to leave.

We were traveling with Costa Rican Expeditions (excellent) and were scheduled for a 3 -4 hour boat trip trough the waterways of the park, but my husband also arranged for me to do a 2 hour early morning birding trip with our guide. Six hours in a boat in the rain forest may sound like a lot but it was great and I would go back for more. Our whole experience was very positive.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Linda S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Williamsburg, Virginia
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed March 19, 2013

After spending five days in the Lake Arenal area, my husband and I wanted to experience another part of Costa Rica. Our tip to Tortuguero was a wonderful experience. Costa Rica Expedtions took care of everything: flights, meals, nature guides and its Tortuga Lodge was wonderful. The staff and guides were knowledgeable and helpful in every way. don't miss it

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Ava Marie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rhinelander, Wisconsin
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed March 17, 2013

Tortuga Lodge is a special place. It requires an effort to get there -- by small prop plane or by boat is the only way, and once you're there, you had better enjoy looking at nature and walking the sometimes difficult trails surrounding the lodge, because there's really not much else to do.

But if you like that sort of thing, Tortuga Lodge will meet your expectations and more. The rooms are large, comfortable, and clean; the grounds are a paradise of tropical plants and wildlife, perfect for a morning stroll; the dining room opens to the canal on three sides and you feel like you are dining on water. The food is carefully prepared with an eye to how it looks on the plate, and represents what I came to think of as the best of typical Costa Rican cuisine (which is fairly bland). It's a family-friendly resort, with a swimming pool and a "club hut" next to it, strung with hammocks.

We were rained for most of one day, but didn't mind spending some down-time in our room because it was so comfortable, with screen windows on three sides and a large fan to keep us cool. The staff is friendly and helpful. I really have nothing bad to say about Tortuga Lodge! I hope to visit there again.

Room Tip: We chose an upstairs room to catch the breezes, but the downstairs rooms looked just as breezy.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Samsarah714
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Basildon,United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed March 16, 2013

We stayed here as part of a trip around Costa Rica with Journey Latin America and it was idyllic .We arrived at Tortuga Lodge after a private car and boat transfer and thanks to our fantastic guides we spotted sloths , howler monkeys, spider monkeys and caiman on the journey to the lodge.
We were greeted on arrival with a welcome cocktail and whisked off to lunch. After a very pleasant 3 course lunch overlooking the river we were met by the manager Julian Fallas who decided to upgrade us to the suite . This was a wonderful room with 3 bedroom areas , two bath rooms and a front balcony overlooking the river with seats and a hammock and back balcony overlooking the forest. It was stunning!
Julian asked if there was anything we didn't like to eat and I mentioned I was allergic to mushrooms and throughout our stay I was given special meals made without mushrooms. If this was a sharing dish we got two separate portions !
We had a really great boat excursion with our excellent guide Juan , and managed to spot virtually every animal and bird in by guide book!
If the manager at Tortuga Lodge asks you if there is anything you would change about the place - I dare you to find anything!

Room Tip: You cannot beat room 31 the suite !
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank murgartroyd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durham,NC
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed March 14, 2013

Our beautiful screened, second floor room let us feel breezes at night and hear howler monkeys at dawn. We enjoyed the riverfront setting of the dining room, pool and bar; a variety of delicious meals; foot trails on the lodge property; and excellent wildlife filled guided trips into the byways and canals of Tortuguero National Park. The staff was warm, welcoming and solicitous.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Geraldine L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tortuga Lodge & Gardens

Property: 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 8 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. Caribbean themed cocktails, and no we don't mean pina coladas, although we'll make you one of those too. •Atmosphere: Quiet, laid back and with an emphasis on the natural surroundings - most buildings are open air. • No background music. • Suggested activities at hotel: Palm and Orchid Gardens. Plan on 1 or 2 hours. Award winning Riverside Pool. Plan on at least 1 hour per morning or afternoon per day. Hammocks everywhere. Plan on losing track of time in one. 2 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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