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Tortuga Lodge & Gardens
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Reviews (1,207)
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Reviewed June 15, 2006

This place is outstanding! Don't come here without knowing what you are getting into. It is remote, primitive, native, and ecologically sensitive. This is a unique lodge and unique environment. The lodge rooms are fully open with only screens over the windows. It is beastly hot and often humid. The food is some of the best I have eaten anywhere in the world, bar none. One memorable lunch ended in a superb passion fruit sorbet. The staff is abundant, helpful, informative, and overall excellent. One gardner who spoke little English went out of his way to show me a hummingbird nest in the garden (two babies inside), a bee hive that grows out of a tree, the strawberry poison dart frog, and I brushed a green snake in a palm as I walked by.

This is pure nature - don't expect contrived landscape or conditioned packaged rooms. If you are not here for adventure, to taste the remoteness, and soak in the naturall surroundings including the preserve it borders (really a jungle), don't go. Don't be an ugly American who won't take the time to listen to the locals speak - their English really is impeccable if you will listen to them and not focus on their accent. The local guides (whom you will surely interact with if only to go to the nearby village) have endless depths of knowledge about the local wildlife, flora and fauna.

The beds were comfortable and the rooms are cool enough at night; the bathroom was large and the lodge will loan you a hair dryer. The hot water is solar heated and if you are last to shower in the am you may not have hot water (don't worry, the howler monkeys and birds will wake you quite early). Each room has its own hammock, good for taking a siesta. The lagoon shaped mineral pool which parallels the river was a lifesaver, but it too got very warm. Local water is not potable so there are big water jugs everywhere so you can keep your own supply of bottled water.

Don't miss nearby Tortuguero and your visit will certainly include one or more river boat safaris where you will have ample opportunity to see caiman, monkeys, many birds and perhaps a river otter. We saw crocodiles closer to the park entrance. Most people come to the area to see the turtles nest in the safety of the preserved beach, but I was not there during turtle nesting season. Even so, there were many travelers at the hotel from all over the world. The owners of the Lodge have thought of everything you need while here. You don't have to stay long, but your stay will be memorable.

12  Thank queen of belize
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 28, 2006

Even though it rained for 1 1/2 days this was still a special place located between the ocean and an inland canal. The grounds are lovely. You'll see and hear lots of monkeys and birds everywhere. The place is very clean, the food is good...it's now buffet style..and the staff very helpful. The power may go off for short periods occasionally so bring a flashlight. Apparently the driest time on atlantic coast is late fall so if you go other times be prepared for rain. The hotel does have laundry service ...and supplies rain boots. My photos don't do it justice!!!

  • Stayed: February 2006
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2  Thank calie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 10, 2005

As much as I enjoyed it, I must admit, this trip is not for everyone. My wife want go back but I will, it is just the difference in people. I loved every minute of the trip and the stay.
If you leave from San Jose, it is almost a full days trip. You start on a mini van or bus, then travel by boat to the lodge, both were great. At least one stop for lunch, the food was GREAT and the boat trip was wonderful.
There are no roads to this part of Costa Rica, it is boat or plane.The lodge is on a beautiful lagoon and only a few hundred yards from the Carribean.
The lodge is very clean and spacious. The gardens are fabulous and it has one of the most beautiful swimming pools with a wonderful bar.
Everything is layed back and quite. You can lay in your hammock or by the pool, take trips on the lagoon and see all kinds of wild life, walk on the beach or at night, in season, see the great green sea turtles, lay eggs.
Your meals are served in a large dining room, in family style,(reminded me of boy scout camp), where you get to meet all of the other quest, and they are from all over the world. The food is great. I can't say enough about this wonderful experience.
My wife didn't like it because it was a little hot for her. Most of Costa Rica is around 70 degrees but this lodge is on the Carribean, in August, about 90.
I chartered her a plane and let her go back to San Jose. I got to take the boat back, it was great.
Mississippi Jay

  • Stayed: August 2000
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10  Thank Mississippijay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 11, 2005

I booked a three day/two night tour through Costa Rica Expeditions for Tortuga lodge. Costa Rica Expeditions charges a little more than other travel agencies which do similar trips (such as Ecole) but it was well worth it for the treatment we received at Tortuga Lodge.

We took a bus ride to a boat trip to get to Tortuga Lodge. On both trips we had very knowledgable guides. Our boat driver stopped several times for us to see wildlife in the trees and was very patient and friendly. On our arrival, we were were greeted with by the hotel manager with yummy blended fruit drinks.

The food at Tortuga lodge is served family style. This allowed us to meet many other travelers. The food was excellent as was the service. A typical meal included a salad, an appetizer (ceviche/pasta), a main course (beef/fish) and desert.

We took two tours at Tortuga Lodge. One was a boat tour where we saw toucans, monkeys, iguanas, and various wildlife. Our guide was very patient and seemed to love his job. The second tour was a night tour where we got to see turtles lay their eggs. It was absolutely amazing.

Several other guests (not in our party) complained during our trip about: 1) The time that the turtle tour happened. They can't determine in advance if the trip occurs at 8 PM or 10 PM. It is determined by a park service lottery. Some people felt that the 10 PM slot we received was too late so they did not go. That is not really the lodges fault 2) The weather - it rained a lot. Again, that is not really the lodges fault.

Overall Tortuga Lodge was an amazing and unforgettable experience. The lodge was clean, the service friendly and the food delicious. The tours provided by the lodge were professional and the guides seemed to really enjoy their work. I would recommend it to anybody who loves wildlife.

  • Stayed: August 2005
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12  Thank paloalto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 8, 2005

We just got back from 2 weeks in CR and found our stay at Tortuga Lodge in Tortuguero to be our favorite. The setting is incredible - no roads, just get there by bus/boat or plane. Our room was spacious enough for our fam of 4 ( 2adults/2 kids) with 2 D beds and 1 twin. It had a hammock and 2 chairs outside the door looking over the garden and river. Pathways run through the property to the dining room and pool. The meals were very good and group seating was fun as we always could converse with other guests to hear abt their activities of the day. We did the night tour to see the greenback turtles nesting. It was fun and exciting after the short boat ride to walk through town to the trail through the jungle to the beach all by flashlight to see the huge turtles make their way up the beach from the waves, over to patches of brush where they struggled and dug until a suitable nest was dug and then to watch them actually laying eggs - incredible nature right before our eyes and only a few feet away!! Our very nice guide, Robbberto took us out on our boat tour the next day was so great. We putted our way through the canals and could see lots of incredible birds, camens and monkeys playing and jumping over our heads through the trees - such fun! Coming back from our tour in time for lunch an a refreshing swim was the perfect end to the day where we spotted lots of large iguanas . The pool is a beautiful design - not too big, but designed to blend in to the look of the area, rock colored bottom and sides and it looks like it blends into the water of the river which is just over a bank right next to it. L:ots of big comfortable chaises around the pool and some hammocks too. Wespent 2 nights there and loved every minute. Booked it through Presilla at Costa Rica Expeditions who was extremely helpful too.

  • Stayed: July 2005
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15  Thank david m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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