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Tortuga Lodge & Gardens
Ranked #1 of 9 Hotels in Tortuguero
Certificate of Excellence
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“A sure thing.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 May 2010

I've stayed at a number of places throughout Costa Rica and this is probably the one I'm most likely to return to. If the manicured beauty of the gardens isn't rough enough for you, they'll provide you with boots and other gear to venture into the swampy (but safe) rain forest that surrounds the main grounds. If you know where to look, you can find all manner of wildlife, as well as some not-so-wild iguanas that seem to call the Tortuga Lodge their home.

The rooms are very open with more screen than hard walls. They're very well screened and although some rooms are more private than others, privacy curtains and a good ceiling fan make for a pretty comfortable nights sleep. We experienced very little "bug leakage" despite being up late with a reading light on - even the geckos stayed outside.

The meals are on a time schedule so they don't have a restaurant as you might find in a regular hotel. But the food is good, there's a nice bar, and they keep you pretty well fed throughout the day. The staff was friendly, courteous, and eager to share with us the beauty of their surroundings.

You cannot go wrong by staying here.

  • Stayed May 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Ken_from_SF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
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Ladner, Canada
Level Contributor
34 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 May 2010

As did many of the reviews in this list, our Canadian travel agency engaged Costa Rican Expeditions to plan most of our 10 day vacation. We arrived in San Jose after a full day of travel and were pleased to be greeted by a smiling man who whisked us off to our first hotel in the city. The following morning another guide collected us along with four other travelers for an adventure drive through the mountains, a tour of a banana plantation, and an exhilarating boat trip along the river to Tortuga Lodge.

Fernando, our boat captain (and later our river nature guide) was great fun. Along the way to the lodge we had the chance to see several species of birds, as well as our first close up view of the infamous howler monkey! It was lightly sprinkling with rain when we arrived at the lodge, and all the staff were out to greet us on the dock with umbrellas and cheerful smiles.

We were immediately relieved of our baggage and taken to lunch. Our first order of business was to drink as much Costa Rican coffee as we could, and after a huge lunch, our second order of business was to head directly into the jungle in pursuit of frogs!

They couldn't have made it easier for us. The hotel provides rain boots and plastic capes to protect you from the wet. It was wet! However, even the water was accommodated for via the provision of wooden stepping stones through the jungle trails. Feeling adventurous, I strayed from the steps and decided to walk in the almost foot deep water, but very quickly discovered that this was a bad idea when I started to sink almost to the top of my knee high boots!

I do recommend good bug spray - there are clouds of mosquitoes in the jungle - and they loved me!! But it didn't matter one squat because every step I took along the trail I was watching adorable little Blue Jeans Poison Dart Frogs hopping about the trails! If only the forest canopy had let in more light, I would have had even better photographs, but it was amazing.

Please don't think that you will have to bath in bug repellent in order to stay here. The mosquitoes are only in the deeper part of the jungle, and truly, the minute you get through the transition zone between deep jungle and the hotel gardens, they simply disappear! It was bizarre - but wonderful!

We loved our room, the screens were a fabulous way to commune with the jungle that was all around us. We had a fantastic thunder storm in the first night, with torrential rain, and felt snug and cozy in bed listening to it all around us. In the morning we awoke to the haunting call of the howler monkeys in the trees around the resort. I have been home a month and I still miss that sound.

We hit the canals right after an amazing breakfast (what ever you want you get, just ask for it!). The weather was temperamental, and so we kept our rubber boots on and added the plastic capes. The great thing was that the gals in the reception of the hotel gave us heavy duty zip lock bags to keep our cameras in. Fernando, our guide was amazing, with a great sense of humour. He had hawk eyes, and could find the tiniest lizard from across the river. I accused him of simply finding us a plastic planted lizard, until it leaped from the branch on which it was posing for pictures and took off in the leafy undergrowth.

The canals were amazing, and even though it rained on and off, it was such an authentic experience. We felt safe, well educated, and happy in the boat. Every Costa Rican Expeditions trip we went on always provided us with cold water and juice. You also don't need to worry about bugs in the canals, there weren't any.

Back at the lodge, we met the resident iguana, Charlie, who is known by guides across the country and was so docile that I could likely have run my finger down his back - except that he looked way too scary.

The pool was lovely, and because the lodge is small there were never throngs of people in the public areas. The food was great, the bar will let you take a bottle of wine to your room which we did and enjoyed on our deck with a view of the sun set over the river.

All the staff were amazing, even the gardener, who didn't speak English made a point of finding us when he found a small boa constrictor lazing on a back sidewalk. It was beautiful and sat for 5 minutes in my hands wrapped around my arms.

Our last morning, the receptionist (Sylvia?) took us across to the ocean on the other side of the river where we walked along the Caribbean Sea! We left this jungle paradise in a 5 seater airplane, with just the two of us as passengers, and flew on to our next stop - Mount Arenal.

I would highly recommend Tortuga Lodge, it was one of the best stops of the four hotels we stayed in while in Costa Rica.

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Sandy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vancouver, BC
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 May 2010

Stayed here 2 nights on their package and service was the best we have ever had! A wonderful jungle experience with knowledgeable guides, Rooms were very romantic - they even light the candles while you are having dinner~! The food was excellent and abundant, the pool was great - right at the water's edge. Truly an experience we will always remember.

  • Stayed May 2010, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank KyaVancouver_BC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Connecticut
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 April 2010

We used Costa Rica Expeditions to arrange our entire stay in CR. They also own Tortuga Lodge. The picked us up at our hotel in San Jose and took us to a local airport where we boarded a charter plane to Tortuguero. It was a beautiful sunny day and the first experience for my 11 year old daughter and me to be on board a small prop plane (it was just our family). We could see pineapple and banana plantations along the way. When we landed the hotel manager and boat captain were waiting for us on the landing strip. They welcomed us and took us over to the Lodge. Crossing the lagoon I noticed that the whole staff was out in front waving to greet us! They then ushered us to a wonderful breakfast on the deck. We walked in their jungle gardens, swam in a fresh water pool, took a nature tour and drank coconut water that night from coconuts they had just picked from the trees. It was a simple, comfortable room, a great environment and a memorable time.

  • Stayed March 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank WhitetailConnecticut
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GLOUCESTER
Level Contributor
70 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 March 2010

Tortuga Lodge & Gardens, like everything else connected with Costa Rica Expeditions , is warm and inviting. Staff and service is impeccable, with everyone going above and beyond to please. Our room was comfortable and screened, so no major concerns about the wildlife coming in for a visit. There was a momentary lack of hot water in the early morning; something about switching from solar to another source. After a short wait, we were back in business. I think this issue probably goes with the territory since the area is so remote. That being said, the Lodge does a splendid job of making it look easy to cater to all of our creature comforts. Our included three hour boat tour was great, good fun. The waterways are like something from Jurassic Park and we saw all of the expected wildlife, plus snakes, spiders, and even a hummingbird nest two inches from my hand. (I've always wanted to see one. It even had an egg in it) We spent a few hours exploring the little village of Tortuguero. It's definately worth it if you have the time. It's very quaint and the people are charming, as most Costa Ricans seem to be. Tortuguero is definately worth going out of your way to see, and Tortuga Lodge is definately where we will stay when we go back.

  • Stayed March 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank KeepgoingVirginia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Calgary
Level Contributor
14 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 March 2010

We stayed 3 nights at Tortuga Lodge and enjoyed every minute. The staff were all very friendly and attentive, and the guides very knowledgeable. The lodge has just the right amount of jungle ambience to be absolutely charming but very comfortable. The dining room is open air and situated right on the canal. Every meal was delicious. We saw lots of wildlife on the grounds and on the boat tours.
This place runs like a well oiled machine.

Stayed January 2010, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Globeseer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nashville,Tn
Level Contributor
50 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 March 2010

We just returned from three days at Tortuga Lodge and loved it! We truly wanted to feel like we were in the middle of a rain forest, and this lodge was perfect. The staff was very friendly and helpful, and the food was the best we had during our visit to Costa Rica. We saw lots of animals during our stay, including 5 iguanas around the pool. The boat ride through the canals was wonderful. The lush gardens around the lodge are beautiful.

This place is not the Hilton, nor is it supposed to be. But If you want a comfortable eco-lodge with great service in the middle of a rain forest, this is the place to be. I would love to go back! Highly recommended!

  • Stayed March 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank DocAdvil
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

Property: 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 9 Hotels in Tortuguero
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
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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