Bottom line: An unforgettable experience, excellent guides, friendly and helpful staff, nice rooms and acceptable food. Free wifi in the main building but not in the rooms.
Giovanni our guide was second to none. We stayed for 1 night meaning we packed in as much as possible. We were picked up in San Jose on a very comfortable coach and driven through the Braulio Carrillo National Park with stunning views of the mountains and a stop to watch a banana plantation at work. After a stop for breakfast we headed to the boats which took us to the resort. There is no way to get there other than by the water which was so much fun, riding on the canal with the wind and water - we even stopped at several points to see some wildlife that Giovanni had spotted.
After we arrived at the resort and ate lunch we went on the tour of Tortuguero village, while not the highlight of the trip it was made interesting by Giovanni. As we were staying one day, we asked specifically if we could fit in canapé, and they arranged for the two of us to be picked up by boat and taken there. While not the bear knuckle experience you would get in other parts of the country it was certainly fun, made even more so by the two guys who took us up and through the jungle.
That evening we got to see the turtles! It was a strange experience initially as you are basically running through paths in the jungle to get to the area that the park guides have instructed your group to go. If you are very unfit or have bad asthma I'd recommend thinking twice. We had one woman in our group who struggled to keep up, despite Giovanni making stops for us to rest. After one false start (the turtles can be picky about where they lay their eggs), and waiting on the beach while the turtle made her nest (we fell asleep on the beach), we got to see her laying eggs. To say it was magical is an understatement. Especially as you aren't allowed any lights and are seeing everything by moonlight!
After we returned from the beach we expected to sit at the bar for a few drinks as we had been told it was open until midnight. The barman had decided to shut shop early and we caught him closing. We got a couple of beers though and sat facing the canal. It was so peaceful and the perfect end to the day.
In the morning you have a very early start (5am) which is ok as you get woken up by the howler monkeys anyway at 4:30. It is well worth getting up as it is for a canal wildlife tour. While we didn't see tons of wildlife there were some very special moments when we saw a family of monkeys leaping through the trees (my personal favourite) and some reptiles and birds. Just the experience of riding on a boat through the jungle was enough for me though.
After the tour we had breakfast and then on the boat to the coach to go back to San Jose.
My only grip with the place was the food which was perfectly acceptable but not excellent but the staff were super helpful and friendly. All in all i'd recommend this experience to anyone.
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- Also Known As:
- Pachira Hotel Tortuguero
- Pachira Lodge Costa Rica/Tortuguero