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“A Piece of Paradise”

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Laguna Lodge Tortuguero
Certificate of Excellence
Phoenix, Arizona
Level 6 Contributor
95 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“A Piece of Paradise”
Reviewed September 11, 2012

We had no idea what to expect. We arrived to the property by boat as this is the only way to access it. Located on luscious green ground along side of the river, it is truly a piece of paradise.

No air conditioning (you will not need it, there is a fan in the room), no phones, no TV, a true place of relaxation. The rooms are rustic but very clean and comfortable. There is wild life all around you and you will go to sleep to the sound of frogs and other small wild creatures. There is a wild life trail behind the lodge and you will enjoy discovering the flora. You will also find 2 clean large pools to relax to the sounds of the forest.

The Caribbean Sea is within walking distance. We were there during “Turtle hatching” season so it was interesting to discover the tracks to the turtle nests on the beach. The dining room is open and over the water. The food is very good and the staff is attentive.

In all our experience was very rewarding and would recommend this property for a true wild life discovery.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank pascalphx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Alajuela, Costa Rica
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed September 4, 2012

Nature, fauna, all over the place nice place to visit. I stayed with all my family and we did many tours, we love the caribean of Costa Rica. Just one thing remember here rains 13 months of the year soo... be prepare always

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
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2 Thank Kattia S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amherst, Massachusetts
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed September 1, 2012

Laguna Lodge is a very nice eco friendly hotel. The guides are very knowledgeable and the food is very good. It is a good hotel if you are Costa Rica to see animals and go on tours. It is not for one who just wants a luxury vacation. The hotel is typically a two night stay. We booked three nights and they were very accommodating, but it was obvious that it was not typical to stay for more than two nights. My only complaint was that the walls are very thin and it is easy to hear your neighbors coming back from a late night tour. Overall a very nice place.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Anon29510
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vernon, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
174 reviews
60 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
Reviewed August 17, 2012

We have just spent 3 nights at Laguna lodge, I stress the 3 nights as most spend only 2 here and whilst only one night more, it's still 50% more!!.
There are some misleading reviews I think. I read several just before we went and started to dread our visit , arrived really not sure what to expect but left loving it.
Firstly, this is not a 5 star resort, it is a lodge in the middle of a jungle! If you want luxury, don't come to Tortuguero!
There is no TV, internet/ cell phone coverage is patchy by the bar area only, drinks are expensive- it costs a lot to get them here!
But rooms are simple , clean and more than adequate.
There is a powerful ceiling fan which can almost be too good at night. There is somewhere to put luggage. Everything is NOT damp.
Lots of hot water- you do not need to ask to have it turned on- everyone has it!!
It is hot and humid, wet clothes take time to dry- if at all. But dry clothes remain dry.
There were no "bugs" on our bed
We did have a few cockroaches which needed evicting and we kept them out by using used pool towels at the door. The roaches were there because its a jungle not because the rooms were unclean.
Pools- big, warm, clean- 2 of them. Lots of clean, dry pool towels at each.
Grounds beautiful- lots of wildlife including monkeys, toucans and snakes!! Well one snake!
Frog garden- nice , frogs are hard to see but thats ok!
Staff- really nice- friendly, welcoming- I work on a smile and people will smile back principle!
Food was surprisingly good. Its not the same each day- its on a 2 day rota- so most people will not get the same food.
There is also section where either toasted sandwiches or fresh pasta is made to order- so you could have different every day.
The tours- that is why we are there-
Guides are amazing- we were a little different as we were there 3 nights and had experience of 3 guides, 2 of them- Marco and Randall are simply the best, knowledgable, fun, friendly. both have an amazing ability to speak both Spanish and English almost at the same time- well sentence by sentence. It meant no-one felt left out.
The other guide was more Spanish centred. There were some very noisy Spanish speakers on the boat ( great for spotting wildlife or enjoying jungle noises!) He mainly spoke to them even though it was at least 1/3 English speakers on the boat. His knowledge was good, maybe it was the other passengers that spoilt it. Interestingly, we had other trips with lots of kids of all nationalities on board- all behaved superbly compared to those adults.
But we saw amazing birds- lots of water based birds- herons, kingfishers, loads of monkeys, iguanas, lizards, some raptors, caiman, a crocodile, turtles. A highlight was some great green macaws flying over- 5 of only 200 in the area- felt very priviledged.
Turtles- simply beautiful- nothing more need be said.
Downsides- I didn't like the initially small "port" where you board your boat- crazy busy- 2 bathrooms for a couple hundred women- ugh!
Humidity- the only time I felt dry was in the pool or in the shower!!
Smokers- I do hate smoking- some people sit outside rooms and smoke- ok for them but our rooms would then stink of smoke as well- selfish people!
Would I go back- definitely- but maybe look at other lodges- just for variety!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
9 Thank lazigirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newton, New Jersey
Level 5 Contributor
67 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
Reviewed August 10, 2012

I was going to give Laguna Lodge 3 stars, not because it was bad, but I just couldn't give it more because of the type of place it was. It is a lodge, not a luxury hotel, but I gave it 4 stars because of the property OVERALL. You will see SO many beautiful plants, animals and birds here, more than you can imagine. Don't forget your camera and don't plan on sleeping much. It was truthfully exactly what my wife and I had hoped for and we had a great time for the two nights we stayed there. We had a two hour ride from San Jose on some pretty rough unpaved roads and then a little less than a 1 1/2 hour boat ride to get there. Some people complain about everything, and some people complained about the rough roads, as far as I'm concerned they only added to the fun of getting there. When we got to Laguna Lodge we were given a short briefing by our guide who was to be with us for the next 2 nights & 3 days. He was a very nice guy, but his English was a bit hard to understand. We got there around noon, had a quick lunch and went (with our guide) on a nature tour of the lodge @ 3 pm. That night we went for the turtle watch from 8 to 10. There were different groups, some actually went right on the beach at the lodge. Our group (8 people) went for a nighttime boat ride to the town of Tortuguero. We then walked thru ally ways along the back of peoples homes and finally onto a path in the National forest. (about a 1/2 hour walk) There was no light except for a couple flashlights. There are many groups waiting on the beach to see the turtles that have been spotted by the guides, each group gets several turns to watch the turtles for a while. We did get to see 1 turtle laying her eggs and then starting to cover them up, and we got to see another turtle heading back to the ocean. This is a once in a lifetime event and I would really encourage everyone to go. You MUST wear dark clothing for this tour. My wife and I only had light t-shirts, so we had to buy black shirts at the gift shop. The cost for this turtle watch was US $30.00 each. Remember that a lot of that money goes back to help study & protect the turtles. The next morning we were on a boat from 6:00-8:00 am cruising the canals looking for wildlife. Toucans, many other beautiful birds, turtles, lizards, caiman, monkeys, frogs, snakes, beautiful flowers etc. We went back to the hotel for breakfast, and then out again from 10:00-12 noon. In the afternoon we were taken to Tortuguero for a visit. Little town with one dirt street, and no motor vehicles of any kind, after all there are no other roads anywhere. The food at the lodge was nothing special, typical Costa Rican, but it was OK. The rooms were average sized and very clean, the bathroom was also nice and clean. We spent very little time in the room. At night no air and muggy, the overhead fan helped a lot. Everything was pretty much as we expected from reading others reviews. My wife found a cockroach on her pillow one night, we didn't kill it, I simply captured it and put it outside. Do not let this freak you out, it was not because of a dirty room, ( as stated the room was nice and clean) this is remote Costa Rica and a bug or two of this sort is part of the experience. We had a little lizard who lived in our room and he was supposed to take care of this sort of thing. We were very lucky being there right in the middle of the rainy season, we only had rain at night, and it was heavy rain. A lot of reviews talked about bugs so of course we brought bug spray but we never needed it. Ten days in Costa Rica and I was bit by one mosquito. All & all a wonderful experience that we will never forget.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank jad5d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco Bay Area
Level 4 Contributor
24 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 109 helpful votes
Reviewed August 9, 2012

My children (15/12) and I just returned from 10 days in amazing Costa Rica. After one night in San Jose, we took the long journey to Tortuguero and lodged for 2 nights at Laguna Lodge.

Laguna Lodge is situated on a very nice piece of land between the ocean and the main canal of Tortuguero. It is across the canal from Manatus Hotel and about 3/4 of a mile down from Mwamaba Lodge. The main town of Tortuguero is about a 20-25 minute walk away, just past Mwamba.

One of the things that attracted me to Laguna Lodge was that it was located between the ocean and the canal. In hindsight, this really didn't make much of a difference. The ocean was really rough and the beach is not particularly nice. With so many fabulous beaches in Costa Rica that you will likely visit on your trip, the beach at Tortuguero is not one you will recall with great fondness.

The rooms at Laguna Lodge are spartan but functional. The fan worked fine (even in July) - and my fears about no A/C in Tortuguero never materialized. We didn't experience any issues with bugs because it was raining for the majority of the time that we were there. The beds, again, are functional. There was hot water in the shower and, overall, the rooms look like the rooms in the pictures that others have posted here.

The dining area was quite nice and right on the water. While the main dish that was served in the dining room was usually pretty good, all of the accompanying food was pretty bland and not very appetizing. Moreover, they served mostly the exact same side dishes every night, including some sliced fruit that my kids and I said had the least flavor of any fruit on the planet. The service, other than Juan the bartender, was not particularly good and no one was particularly friendly.

The tour that we received, I suppose, would be like the tours you would get from any of the lodges. Once you get off the main canal, the jungle around Tortuguero is dense and beautiful. Although we didn't see tons of wildlife due to the weather, it was great to tour the canals. I don't think there are likely that many places on earth where you can have such relatively easy access to areas such as this...the Amazon, parts of Asia, maybe...but the boat trips were great, as was the ability to see the Green Turtles laying their eggs. Amazing.

We walked through Mwamba Lodge on the way into town. It was very similar in design to Laguna Lodge and my guess is that, if you are reading this, you are considering that lodge as well. Not knowing anything about staying there, if I were to go back I would consider Mwamba over Laguna, if only because I found their grounds to be a little bit nicer in overall appearance and they are only a short walk into the town.

Tortugero is in an extremely remote part of the world. That is part of the attraction and I can only imagine the logistics that go into feeding and taking care of so many people when there are no roads or cars to be found. That being said, I found Laguna Lodge to be a little *tired* and, for the price, was expecting a little more from the experience. It was fine for a few nights but that is about it.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Jon S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Freising, Germany
Level 6 Contributor
187 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed August 9, 2012

We all were surprised by how well can simlicity feel. The place is simple as such as the cabinas have nothing special but are clean, free of bugs and well done. The Pools are fantastic. The food is simple Costa Rician style but flexible and well prepared. The Pro for this hotel is that it has on one side the channel and on the other side the ocean beach - so no boat ride needed to reach the turtle beach. Also the small town of Tortuguero is within walking distance of 30min. on a small path along the beach or 60min directly on the beach. For families you have a soccer field, pools, and a volley ball campus.

I gave four stars only because it is not a luxury place. We have not found one single thing to complain in the 3 days we stayed. Price Performance has been good. we have been there in August 2012.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Alf1860
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Laguna Lodge Tortuguero

Property: Laguna Lodge Tortuguero
Address: | between the Caribbean Sea and Tortuguero Lagoon, Tortuguero 2015, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Limon > Tortuguero
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 34 Specialty Lodging in Tortuguero
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Laguna Lodge Tortuguero 3*
Number of rooms: 52
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Also Known As:
Laguna Lodge Tortuguero Hotel Tortuguero
Laguna Lodge Tortuguero Costa Rica

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