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Tortuga Lodge & Gardens
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Reviewed June 27, 2009

We genuinely enjoyed Tortuga Lodge. The grounds are beautiful, the room was clean and comfortable, the fresh water pool was pure and refreshing, and the food was exceptional. On our 11-day trip in Costa Rica we also stayed at Grano de Oro, Monteverde Lodge and at La Paloma Lodge and Tortuga Lodge definitely had the best food. We could view quite a bit of nature just on the resort grounds: toucans (too many birds to list), bats, lizards, iguanas, toads, frogs, monkeys, and leaf-cutter ants.

We had Costa Rica Expeditions (CRE) make the arrangements (resort and transport) for us. They do a fantastic job, but, unfortunately, we are now spoiled for life … what a wonderful way to travel. They picked us up at our hotel in San Jose, then we had a 4-hour van ride, then an hour or two boat ride, before we finally arrived at Tortuga Lodge.

Traveling to Tortuga Lodge we had a CRE transfer guide to inform us of interesting facts about Costa Rica, answer questions, and point out wildlife and plants. We also stopped at a banana processing plant and it was quite interesting. It was a long drive but we learned much along the way.

We had a standard room with comfortable beds, a nice bathroom with a large shower with a soap, shampoo, and conditioner dispenser. You can cut down on your luggage weight and size by not bringing those items. We had to keep our entire luggage to 25 pounds or less.

We highly recommend the canal boat tour. We saw so much wildlife, to name a few: crocodiles, caimans, iguanas, turtles, howler monkeys, birds, snakes, blue morpho butterflies, sloth, squirrel monkeys, Jesus lizards (basilisk lizards) …

One thing we would like to emphasize is to take the guided tours, we would not have seen nearly as much on our own. The guides are knowledgeable and are experts at finding wildlife. Unfortunately, the national park was closed because of storm damage so we could not take that tour.

Poison dart frogs are found along the nature trail in the back of the resort … behind and around the laundry building. They are unexpectedly tiny and rather stunning. A pair of toucans would perch in a tree behind the reception building.

We had sunny and mostly dry weather our first full day at Tortuga Lodge. After that it rained. We have never seen it rain so hard for so long. We were supposed to fly back from Tortuga Lodge to San Jose. But the plane couldn’t land because of the clouds. So, we had to take the boat and van back to San Jose. It was an unfortunate glitch. But, weather happens. And Costa Rica Expeditions went out of their way to rearrange our itinerary so we would not lose a day.

Our CRE transfer guides said that September and October are the least rainy months at Tortuga Lodge. They joked that Tortuguero has two seasons the rainy season and the wet season! Even with the rain we are so glad we went to Tortuguero, it is an enchanting place. And, yes we would like to return someday.

If I can answer any questions please feel free to send me a message.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Sue W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 18, 2009

Since Tortuga Lodge does not have its own website, its easy to get overlooked but its really an amazing lodge. You'll have to book through a tour company like Costa Rica Expeditions and they will ensure that your time in Tortuguero is memorable.

The lodge has recently been renovated and its beautiful with comfortable large rooms to lovely garden areas. The pool area looks out to the river. The bar and restaurant is decorated tastefully. At night, they light candles everywhere and the space quickly becomes sultry exotic and romantic. The food was wonderful and plentiful. The staff was courteous and extremely accommodating.

On top of all this, you find yourself in one of the most remote locations in Costa Rica with amazing wildlife at your finger tips. Their guides are extremely knowledgeable and friendly.

Staying at Tortuga Lodge was a very memorable experience for us and by far, one of the highlights of our trip.

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank CMC29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 14, 2009

We stayed three nights at Tortuga Lodge as part of a trip we booked through Costa Rica Expeditions. It is a wonderful place for enjoying nature, good food and good wine. Make sure you ask for the Tico breakfast of rice and beans w/ tortillas. It is not on their daily menu, but they will make it for you if you ask. You can only get there by air or boat which is cool. There is no TV and no A/C, but trust me, you won't miss it. You can take a boat over to the sea side and watch baby sea turtles hatching or stay on the canal side to see all sorts of exotic wildlife. One of the best trips I have ever been on!

  • Stayed: November 2006, traveled with friends
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1  Thank malteseheart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 16, 2009

Tortuguero is an area that you must visit when you come to Costa Rica. There are more animals, birds, reptiles and monkeys than you can shake your camera at, but basically that is all there is to do. You spend at least three hours a day (and maybe twice a day) on a small boat, meandering with a guide through the canals and jungle areas, seeing all kinds of organisms living virtually undisturbed. I personally loved the experience, but I would not need to go back again. A very authentic nature experience. This is the kind of experience that once you do it, you can check it off your "life list" and move on.

The lodge itself is definitely a "lodge," and not a true hotel. The place is hot, humid, and there is NO air conditioning (and the fans barely work), and of course no TV's or phones. There are bugs, loud monkeys, and iguanas running everywhere. At night, we were literally swarmed by mosquitoes, despite every possible spray known to man. The beds were not very comfortable, and the bathroom -- understanding this is a lodge -- still needed an upgrade; it was very basic. The rooms face the river, which is truly the lifeblood of the area, and also provides for a pleasant view from the rooms (and the front porch, complete with hammock). Frankly, if the rooms had actual windows and air conditioning, it would be a much better place.

The grounds are landscaped with a natural feel, and we saw toucans and other beautiful birds (and monkeys!) right there. The staff was very helpful, even setting up a private lunch under an umbrella, right near the river and their "gardens."

As a suggestion, try to book a PRIVATE boat trip, without any other families. You will be happy you did!

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled with family
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4  Thank Foodmaster68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 28, 2009

We stayed here Feb 22 and 23 and it was wonderful. The airstrip was repaired so we flew in there and took the boat to Limon and then a van to our next location. The service was over the top - the entire staff could not have been more welcoming and accomodating. Julian and Harry in particular were just wonderful. The food is fantastic - as good as I have had in some of Chicago's best restraurants. While they say family style, it is all served to your table and my husband and I were seated at a table by oursleves. Presentation was awesome and I want to get some of the recipes!!! We met some other really nice people and if you wanted you could sit with others. The dining area is beautiful- over looking the canal and thus the view was tremendous. The grounds are lovely and we took a walk in their rain forest. The pool was lovely as well. Our room and bathroom were huge. It did rain every night but it was a very pleasant sound to fall asleep to. We took the kayak trip and highly recommend that side trip. We saw tons of birds and monkeys, including watching a troop of white faced monkeys jump over the river we were kayaking on - I referred to it as the "high show". If you are looking at some of the resorts that are on the Caribbean side, skip them. The beach there is full of garbage, the water is brown and one can not swim or even wade in it because it is so rough. It is not the type of beach where one would hang out. Overall this place is fabuous and I want to go back during turtle season.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Illinimeg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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