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“The real jungle experience” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Laguna Lodge Tortuguero

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Laguna Lodge Tortuguero
Certificate of Excellence
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
148 reviews
95 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
“The real jungle experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 29, 2007

This is your chance to “fly the ocean in a silver plane” to “see the jungle when it’s swept with rain.” They call the jungles and canals of Tortuguero National Park the “Amazon of Central America,” and indeed, it is a world-class adventure to spend time here. I spent two days in the Laguna Lodge on a Caravan Tour in January, 2007, and this place was the closest to true eco-touring that we did. The boat ride in was our initial experience, on which we saw our first large crocodile. Our two boat trips the next day provided us with “National Geographic” or “Animal Planet” experiences of the highest order. Nobody can ever promise anything in a wildlife viewing tour, but when you see the monkeys swinging from branch to branch across the canal right overhead, and witness a caiman grabbing a snake out of a branch just a few feet away from the boat, you know you have been fortunate far beyond your expectations.
The lodge is the perfect base for your boat explorations. The fanciful shape of the reception building, the thatched roof, round restaurant and bar structures overlooking the canal, and the rustic cabins, are a delightful home away from home.
If you have good hearing and don’t sleep too soundly in the early morningm you will be serenaded by howler monkeys, and you can enjoy the rocking chairs on the veranda in the evening. A young fellow there will be out with a flashlight finding the poison arrow frogs to show you. The rooms have only screens—no glass—and nice tropical hardwoods. There is a ceiling fan, but I never found it hot or stuffy at night, even without using the fan. There was a nice shower with lots of hot water, once somebody realized that the plumbing was backwards.
If you are looking for historic ruins, great cities, urban arts and entertainment, don’t look to Costa Rica, but for a real down-to-earth eco-holiday with exciting surprises every day, the Caribbean coast is a dream-come-true.

  • Liked — Rustic wilderness ambiance
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed January 2007
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Heikermeister
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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806 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (84)
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English first
Portland, Or
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 22, 2006

My wife and I visited Laguna Lodge in mid November 06. I couldn't say enough to describe our wonderful stay. The web pictures don't do it justice, its beautiful! From the time we were picked up in San Jose, our travels, excursions, meals and stay were enhanced by lodge personel. We stayed busy, not rushed, and even had time to enjoy the pool. The walks and numerous boat rides through the rain forest were enchanting and informative. The people of Costa Rica have a true treasure and Laguna Lodge is helping safeguard it. Jim & Margie Portland, Or

  • Liked — Everything
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed November 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank mjrock
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Cruz, CA
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 17, 2006

My sister and I stayed at the Laguna Lodge for 3 days and 2 nights in the month of November. We chose this lodge because it was a bit cheaper than other lodges in the area and because they offer a great student discount ($90 off the regular price).
The pros -
-Everything is included. From the time you are picked up from your hotel in San Jose to the time you are returned, comfortable transportation, entertainment and food are all covered. This was very nice as it was the first thing we did upon arriving in Costa Rica and it gave us a chance to adapt to the country in a very safe setting.
-Excellent tour guides. Our tour guide, Randy, was terrific. He was really friendly and extremely knowledgeable on a number of Costa Rica's ecological, political and social issues. We went on two amazing canal tours, where, thanks to Randy and our driver, Jeffrey, we saw many birds, caymen, monkeys, turtles, lizards, iguanas and sloths.
-Beautiful, well-kept grounds, including a great pool area and lots of hammocks (man, did we love the hammocks!)
-The drinks at the bar were totally reasonable (about $4 a cocktail) and delicious.
-Our room was simple but clean and comfortable. The bathroom was very nice and hot water was available (something we learned to value as we traveled to other places in Costa Rica)
-Through the lodge, we were able to arrange a canopy tour ($35 for 8 platforms)- just awesome!
-From what I understand, the Laguna Lodge is one of two that has easy beach access for viewing the baby tortoises. The water is too rough for swimming, but the beach is quiet and great for long walks.

The less-than-pros (but not really cons):
-While the open-air restaurant was beautiful, the food was so-so. The fresh juice and desserts were great, though, and when the excellent kitchen staff found out my sister was a vegetarian, they made special meals just for her, as most of the meals there are based around a main course of meat.
-The rooms are built to accommodate the heat, meaning that there isn't glass on any of the windows, only wooden shutters. This means that noise from outside and next door can be pretty bad. We wore earplugs and had no problem sleeping at night, though.
-No alarm clocks in the room, but our awesome tour guide went to the trouble of knocking on all of the doors of our group to wake us up at 5:30 for the 6:00 canal tour.
-For our age group (early 20's), the lodge wasn't as fun socially as it probably would have been if we were 20 or 30 years older. Many of the guests were there as part of larger tour groups (imagine groups of 30-50 middle to older-aged people who seem to always be moving en masse), which we found annoying, but we felt the stay at the lodge was great nonetheless.

The Con:
-The overhead light in our room didn't work when we arrived, but our two bedside table lamps did. We went to the reception desk to tell them, but, eventhough they sent someone at one point to look at it, the problem wasn't fixed the entire time we were there. That was a little disapointing.

  • Liked — It's all-inclusiveness and the canal and canopy tours.
  • Disliked — The lack of people my age.
  • Tips/Secrets — Bring an alarm clock, ear plugs, sunscreen and bug repellent. If you are a student, ask for the discount.
  • Stayed November 2006
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank JB1983
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bend, Oregon
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 14, 2006

Laguna Lodge, Tortuguero, Cost Rica - Fantastico!
Date: 11/15/2006
Joe and Joan, Bend, Oregon, USA
We stayed here 3 nights and 4 days and thoroughly enjoyed it. We went there with the expectations of being in the jungle and somewhat roughing it and that is how it was. The trip there by bus from San Jose and then the boat ride in went great. The lodge itself is a little rustic, the room nice and clean but have thin walls. The staff was outstanding, especially our tour guide, Randall. The food, buffett style, was excellent and plenty of it. The grounds are impeccable and the beach is nice and only about 100 yards from the rooms. The pool and bars were excellent. We saw lots of wildlife on tours and watched baby sea turtles hatch from their eggs on the beach. We went fishing (our own independently planned sidetrip) and did well. My wife caught about a 60 lb. Tarpon and I caught some snook. I highly recommend hiring Primo through Tortuguero Sport Fishing and the Jungle Shop for your fishing guide. Laguna Lodge can get you in contact.
We had a wonderful time and experience at this lodge and will return. I guarantee it!
Happy Trails!

  • Liked — The remoteness.
  • Disliked — beds
  • Tips/Secrets — Go with an open mind about the lements (rain, bugs, lizards, etc).
  • Stayed November 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank joenjoan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 27, 2006

This location was stunning! Wonderful boat journey along the river to get there and thats how you get around - by water only. Lovely gardens and pool, on one side of the hotel was the very wide river, walk through the gardens to the other side and there was the sea! This was not a swimming/sunbathing spot as it was very rough and the beach was littered with driftwood, but it had a desolate beauty. 45mins great walk to get to Tortuguero village - nothing much there, just a few little stores, nice coffee bar with homemade cakes. You can take the water taxis too.
The security problem wasn't as bad as we expected after reading trip advisor reviews. Our party had 4 rooms and they all had slatted shutters over the netted windows that we just kept locked when we weren't in the room and kept closed at night. The temperature was fine at that time of year and we had a ceiling fan. There was also a safe in the room. Pretty but simple wooden lodges, I do agree that the walls are thin - just don't go there on your honeymoon! Most people are asleep early because of next day trips. Reserve is huge so you really have to search for the wildlife, but we had a very knowledgeable guide. Also, on a night walk we saw the turtles laying their eggs.

Electrics were dodgy, 2 of us got shocks from the light switches, but the staff came first thing in the morning to fix it. No more probs.
The main restaurant was being renovated, so guests were a bit crammed into the small one. Food was basic but ok, could have been better. My older daughter was unwell when we arrived and the manager (Juri? not sure how to spell it) was excellent. He called a doctor and came with her to our room. He also made a local brew to help her and made us take the ingredients when we left, to continue the treatment.
It would be good to know if any of the money made here goes back into the reserve or to local amenities, as its obviously a thriving business. Just remember where you are, in the middle of nowhere - 3 star Costa Rica is 1 star to most of us spoilt travellers. Accept it for its beauty and simplicity and you won't be disappointed.

Stayed July 2006
Helpful?
5 Thank mydeb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 10, 2006

Anyone that hasn't been to Tortuguero needs to know it's off the beaten path. Just to get to the lodges in Tortuguero (unless you're flying in) is an involved process. After driving a rugged road my family boarded a boat that wended its way along the waters to Laguna Lodge. The scenery was otherworldly, green and lush, and there were exotic looking birds and turtles.

When we arrived at Laguna Lodge we were greeted by front desk staff carrying a fruit shake for all five of my family members. It was a great start to a nice stay.

The Lodge has two nice bars, a comfortable swimming pool, and a restaurant that serves buffet meals. The food wasn't great, but it was good and there was plenty of it.

The worst thing about the Lodge is the rooms. The accommodations are rather spartan, and the lighting is minimal. The mattresses are thin, and there is no air conditioning. On hot days it doesn't seem as if the fan is generating much air.

Because of all this, you don't want to spend much time in your room. There are plenty of alternatives, though. The grounds are lush, and you can loll around in a hammock and get a breeze from the water. There is also a waterfront bar where you can have a cold drink and enjoy the sights.

When I checked out I expected a horrendous bar bill, as my family had become quite addicted to the fruit shakes, but I found it to be very reasonable. They don't gouge for their drinks (including beer) even though it must be expensive to bring in the food and beverages.

The location of the Lodge is also hard to beat. On one side of the hotel you have the freshwater river, and on the other you have the Caribbean Sea. We were so busy with nature walks and boating expeditions we only saw the beach briefly, but it seemed to be a nice sandy area.

When you go to the Laguna Lodge it's best to have a mindset of expecting sub-Motel 6 accommodations in a Ritz Carlton type setting. For our family the adventure far offset the minimalist room offering.

  • Stayed June 2006
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
9 Thank openbook
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 20, 2006

Our journay to Laguna Lodge from San Jose was all part of the experience. A group of 16 of us were collected from various hotels and transported by mini bus and then open boat (in the rain) to the Lodge. The grounds were excellent with birds (toucans, tanagers, heron) in abundance. Food was good and accommodation basic but cabin walls somewhat thin. Very good pool area and butterfly garden.

On one side there is the ocean and on the other the lagoon and waterways. Boat trip with our excellent guide, Dino, was great. Monkeys, otters, river turtles, caiman, heron, egret and much more, oh and a wandering spider hitched a lift back to the Lodge! We also went for a walk in the rainforest and saw poison dart frogs and then went on a zip line through the canopy.

That was day 1. Day 2 more relaxed with another boat trip. 2 days and 3 nights was the right length of stay. Then it was a 3 minute boat trip to the airstrip and a flight back to San Jose on one of Costa Rica's very efficient internal air services.

  • Stayed April 2006
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
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: BARRA DE TORTUGUERO , CARIBE NORTE 173. | ZAPOTE Limon, Tortuguero 2015 , Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Limon > Tortuguero
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 35 Specialty Lodging in Tortuguero
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Laguna Lodge Tortuguero 3*
Number of rooms: 52
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Laguna Lodge Tortuguero Hotel Tortuguero
Laguna Lodge Tortuguero Costa Rica

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