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“Deluxe Accommodations in the Middle of the Jungle”

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Tortuga Lodge & Gardens
Ranked #1 of 8 Hotels in Tortuguero
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 1, 2010

Fantastic lodge in the middle of the jungle. What amazed me most of all was the attention to detail and friendliness by the staff. We were only there for 24 hours but in that time several of the staff got to know our names, and was always there with a smile and assistance whenever we had the slightest request. The quality of the food was particularly astounding, especially given how far away the location is from anything resembling a major city. The one small issue I would mention is that the rooms only have screen windows with drapes making it difficult to completely isolate yourself from the sounds of nature. I liked that aspect, but my wife had a little trouble sleeping with the noises all about. The tours were fantastic. The guides were quite knowledgeable and very good at finding wildlife even in the middle of torrential downpours. We definitely enjoyed our stay.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank ShakyLadder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 17, 2010

My partner and I traveled with Costa Rica Expeditions (CRE) from December 16 through the 25th, 2009. We stayed 3 nights at Tortuga Lodge adjacent to Tortuguero National Park. This isolated gem is accessible by taking a shuttle boat from literally the end of the road at Caño Blanco, or by small plane to the airstrip across the canal. (The Caribbean is on the other side of the airstrip.) Traveling from place to place throughout Costa Rica with CRE is by way of clean, comfortable, air conditioned vans through mostly mountain roads with stunning views. Safety is their first concern. The drivers are excellent guides, teachers and ambassadors. We were with Mauricio for five days, and he contributed in a big way to making our trip memorable. There was only one other fellow in our tour group, so we felt privileged to have Mauricio to ourselves.

The Lodge, owned by CRE, is lovely and is constructed of polished almond wood and stone. Everything on the main floor is open to the air, and the occasional rain forest breeze was welcome. The rooms are basic and colorful with no A/C, phone or TV. Our large shower had solar-heated hot water with surprisingly strong water pressure. Lighting throughout the property is compact fluorescent.

Ceilings fans keep the air moving everywhere, but be prepared for some heat. After all....you're in the rain forest a few degrees above the equator. Torches and candles at night gave the entire place a warm glow. There is a small, well-maintained pool lined with smooth river rocks. The moonless night sky was inky black with countless stars.
The open-air bar and dining room are comfortable with fresh flowers all around.

Delicious meals were prepared with the freshest ingredients. The papaya, watermelon and pineapple were the best we'd ever tasted. CRE asked about dietary preferences when we booked the trip. I don't eat red meat or chicken, so the kitchen prepared fish and shrimp for me. Desserts were decadent and the coffee, locally grown, was excellent. Thanks, Oscar, for your attentive and kind service. We certainly ate too much.

There were daily excursions on small skiffs into the canals of the National Park. We saw scads of birds including blue macaw, blue heron, parrots, oropendula, summer tanager, northern jacana, collared aracari, kingfishers, snowy egret, anhinga, blue-collared mankin, prothonotary warbler and many others. Also black river turtle, sliding turtle, speckled caiman, green iguana, Jesus Christ lizard (Spanish: Largartija Jesucristo), sloth, crocs, tiny "rain frogs", blue morpho butterflies, boa constrictor, orb weaver spider, and other critters. Primates too! Howler monkeys (who make an incredible roar), white-faced monkeys, capuchins and a spider monkey with a baby on her back.

Heraldo, who lives in Tortuguero village, was an excellent guide who believes in protecting the environment with all of his heart. Ask for him. At other times of the year, green sea turtles lay their eggs in the sand on the Caribbean beach. Thousands of hatchlings then head for the sea. No one is allowed on the beach at night without a guide.

Even with the still air, mosquitoes weren't bad. Take some 30% DEET repellent with you just in case. We've used Ultrathon will reasonable success. A pair of binoculars, SPF 30+ sunscreen, wide-brimmed hat and camera with zoom lens is a must.
As we were leaving to fly back to San José, the manager (Sylvia), some kitchen staff and a gardener wished us farewell at the dock. That was a very nice touch.

If you're looking for a comfortable retreat full of natural wonder, where the staff treats you like gold, we highly recommend CRE and Tortuga Lodge. National Geographic Magazine is right. CRE is one of the best outfitters on earth.

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank MrManMD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 1, 2010

Loved staying at Tortuga Lodge. We had stayed at Monteverde Lodge and Gardens last year; so we expected that Tortuga, which is owned by the same company, would be very nice. But it was even more delightful than we hoped. The room was very comfortable--roomy, great bed, ceiling fan to give just the right amount of breeze through the screens. Although it rained one morning, the weather was otherwise very pleasant and not too warm or humid. The staff were incredibly friendly and helpful, and we loved the boat trips we took. The pool and grounds were delightful--hammocks in the garden and by the beautiful pool; lots of animals and lovely butterflies and birds on the grounds, including a crocodile, iguanas, herons, and aracaris in a hole in a tree in the garden. The food was terrific--delicious, varied, and plentiful--and we ate on the deck overlooking the water. Hope to go back again when the turtles are nesting!

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank ElleChicago
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 29, 2009

We LOVED this lodge! The lodge is very contemporary but still maintains a tropical ambiance. Pottery Barn could go there for a lesson in decoration. The food was the best we had in Costa Rica. The bar was quite "hip" and again comfortable. The grounds were gorgeous and brimming with wildlife. We loved the howler monkey alarm clock. Our guide Norton was the best we had in Costa Rica, he spotted everything we hoped to see. Everyday when you come back from a tour they give you the most delicious and refreshing cocktail and a different one each day. The staff is extremely friendly and it has a real family feel. It truly is a wonderful lodge in a beautiful place.

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank JaneiroSF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 21, 2009

This was the best experience of our 10 day trip to Costa Rica. The rooms have a true lodge feel, very comfortable and well maintained. The grounds were beautiful and the food excellent. The staff were eager to make our stay as enjoyable as possible. The swimming pool was great - big enough to swim for exercise. The wildlife viewing was excellent, highlighted by our viewing of turtle hatchlings scrambling into the ocean during an early morning downpour. Interesting and extremely relaxing at the same time - highly recommended.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank ClimbnRide
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 20, 2009

Tortuga Lodge was one of the first places we stayed during our two week trip in Costa Rica and we would definitely recommend it. It is by no means the cheapest of the many lodges in Tortuguero but it offer good value if you include meals in advance. The rooms are basic but comfortable and nicely designed with insect screens instead of windows so you get the feel of camping in the rainforest without having scorpions crawling up your leg. We heard howler monkeys in the distance every morning which was great! The staff were very friendly, the bar was reasonably well-stocked and we thought the food was very good. I'd recommend sticking to beer rather than wine though as the selection isn't great and is a little overpriced... Imperial beer all the way! The pool didn't seem to get much use but we found it nice and refreshing in the sticky afternoons. The gardens are well-kept and we had a few surprise encounters with toucans and iguanas. The trails in the rainforest at the back of the lodge are interesting and you get to see a lot of poison arrow frogs, but be prepared to get devoured by mosquitoes. We wore full-length 'Nesquito' clothing, boots, hats, and doused ourselves in DEET and we still got bitten. They are some kind of superbreed of bloodsucker.

As for tours, we did the 3 hour morning boat tour of the Tortuguero National Park and found it really enjoyable. We saw more wildlife on that trip than on any of the other rainforest excursions in Costa Rica (Monteverde, Arenal, Manuel Antonio, Pacuare). Our guide, Norton, was great at spotting the wildlife.

The two night package with CRE is probably the best bet since it includes road transfer there (4 hrs), the boat tour, all meals and a flight back to San Jose (20 mins!). Overall it seems to be the best deal.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank Alex_Hunt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 10, 2009

Tortuga Lodge was one of the nicest places I've stayed. It's about a five minute boat ride from Tortuguero, a small villiage of charming people. The Lodge is right on the canal, and set right in the jungle. You're as close as you can be to Nature. You wake up to the birds singing and the sounds of the rain forest.
I went with my Ecology class, and we stayed four nights. The staff was amazing, they were so kind, helpful, and friendly. Every meal was delicious, the rooms were beautiful, the whole place was great. There is a garden out back with more colorful and interesting flowers than you can imagine. There are a couple trails out back as well, right into the heart of the forest; beautiful walks to go on. The pool is set right next to the canal, with a hut of hammocks. Even when it's raining, it's nice and cozy.

I could go on, but you really just have to go see for yourself. I give it ten out of ten.

  • Stayed: November 2009
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Thank k2thec8738
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

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: $165 - $284 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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