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“The most enjoyable 2 day stay”

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Tortuga Lodge & Gardens
Ranked #1 of 8 Hotels in Tortuguero
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 21 March 2010

Everything at this lodge was excellent! The staff could be nicer and more helpful. The food was outstanding. The guides were excellent. I can't say enough good things about this place.

  • Stayed: March 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank ccvr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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755 - 761 of 1,080 reviews

Reviewed 16 March 2010

Tortuga Lodge is obviously at the top (= most expensive) end of Tortuguera packages. It’s on a smaller more boutique scale than some of the others more favoured by big groups on package tours. When we were there, most of guests were couples, with just one smallish group in for one of the nights. We were subsequently a bit bothered by big groups rather dominating hotel restaurants during the remainder of our trip. The smaller scale of the place also made a big difference for the wildlife boat tour, which has to be the main reason for coming; our tour had just six of us, and the guide, Norton, was excellent. Other hotel boats looked a bit packed out in comparison. The lodge is on the mainland side of the main channel as opposed to the beach side (where the larger lodges are, even though it’s not a beach to swim from), and this probably makes it better for wildlife, and it’s further from the village too, which must also help. The gardens are full of birds and iguanas, and we had sloth and troops of howler monkeys within feet of our balcony in the mornings (though they do start their racket at the first glimmer of dawn!). The rooms are a good size, and excellent, but it’s worth trying to get one of those on the first floor, as this provides better views down into the gardens while in a hammock or comfy chair. The only issue we had with the room was the lack of light. It was wet (very) and overcast for our visit; and the combination of veranda overhang, thick insect screens and pathetically feeble light bulbs (saving the planet?) meant that it was extremely gloomy inside, almost too gloomy to read. Otherwise the facilities are fine; a small pool and an attractive riverside restaurant and bar, with good views of passing river otters and cayman. All the staff, especially on Reception were interested, friendly and helpful. The food was excellent, with the chef obviously trying hard to do international cuisine. No doubt in order to justify the high package prices, however, we did feel somewhat overwhelmed with food; both lunch and dinner (no choices – set menu) was soup, salad, main and dessert – all very generous proportions and somewhat heavy on the sauces; altogether more than we needed in the heat. We had three nights; most people seem to stay the standard two. We tried the trails behind the hotel, which were a bit disappointing: very muddy and lots of mosquitoes; but lots of poison-dart frogs to compensate. We also took the hotel’s on-demand boat across the channel to the end of the airstrip and walked into Tortuguera along the beach – about fifty minutes. If you have time, it’s certainly worth wandering through the village, which is self-evidently car-free, and has a nice laid-back West Indian feel to it. Rather than drive in and fly out, we got the hotel to drop us back at Siquirres to collect our rental car, which worked fine. Rental companies seem happy to drop cars for collection almost anywhere in the country for a fee (we paid $40 for this). We used Vamos, who seemed a cheap and cheerful outfit, who provided a slightly tired but serviceable Terios for very little money. We had a puncture on our second day, but we can’t blame Vamos for that.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank Michael424
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
hiketiludrop, Chief Marketing & Guest Satisfaction Officer at Tortuga Lodge & Gardens, responded to this reviewResponded 23 March 2010

Hi Michael,

Thank you for the great review. I wanted to add that while ground level rooms certainly make you feel like you are more immersed in the rainforest, the second level rooms give you longer views of the river and in some locations you can see the tops of the trees in the gardens where the birds are doing their early morning foraging. It all depends on each individuals taste, I'm really glad that you enjoyed the ground level rooms.

You're right about the environmentally friendly light bulbs that make it hard to read ! We are working on a better solution for this.

As far as the trail goes, you're right, it can get very wet back there, but I'm glad that you had a poison dart frog show to make up for it. We are slowly building an elevated walkway, but it will take some time before we get the entire trail done.

We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay and hope that you will visit us in Tortuguero again soon.

Sincerely,


Natalie Ewing
Chief Marketing & Guest Satisfaction Officer
Tortuga Lodge & Gardens

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 February 2010

We spent 3 January nights in #27 Tortuga Lodge, a spacious second-storey suite with attractive casual tropical decor, comfortable beds (one king & two queens), two bathrooms as well as a sitting area. It had several ceiling fans and was screened on all 4 sides so it was quite airy. The large wrap-around front porch overlooked the canal and the back balcony faced into the jungle. Toucans, hummingbirds, butterflies and iguanas visited daily and at night it felt like we were camping out with the sound of the rain on the roof, the howling monkeys and the chirping of other critters.
The property isn’t very large and the only way in and out is by boat so ,when we weren’t on excursions, it was easy to just sit back and relax alone on our porch or meet up with other guests in common areas such as the bar, the dining room, and the pool . The food, which is served family style during set meal times, was varied, fresh and delicious. Julian, the manager, as well as the rest of the staff like Herman and Oscar in the dining room and bar, were friendly, attentive and accommodating.
There were some sudden downpours and high humidity was a constant so we got wet, even with the readily-available rain ponchos, boots and umbrellas. Thankfully the Lodge also provided inexpensive laundry and free clothes- drying services.
We missed turtle season so our highlight in Tortuguero was the canal tour through the rain forest with Miguel as our guide. We saw many interesting plants, birds, and animals such as caiman, lizards and monkeys.
We arranged our private tour of the country through Costa Rica Expeditions (the owners of Tortuga Lodge) and would recommend them highly. Our CRE guides were excellent at identifying flora, locating elusive fauna and explaining sites and customs of significance. The vehicles were clean and comfortable and the drivers were competent and safety-conscious. ( After observing other local drivers and experiencing some of the narrow, heavily-rutted mud and gravel roads which wound up and down mountains, we were glad we had decided not to rent a car and drive ourselves. )

  • Stayed: January 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank ManitobaTourista
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 February 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, travelled as a couple
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Thank ShakyLadder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 January 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, travelled 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 1 January 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, travelled 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 29 December 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, travelled as a couple
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Thank JaneiroSF
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:
Region: 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: £110 - £204 (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

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