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Tortuga Lodge and Gardens

3.5 out of 5.0

Recent guest reviews

A wholly unexpected surprise- in the midst of secluded Tortugero a relative oasis. Lovely spacious rooms,beautifully sited by the river,a welcoming staff that goes out of their way, and excellent food in a lovely setting.exploring the grounds and the surrounding areas gives one enough to do for two to three days. This place is a gem

We stayed in a large cabin room on the second floor facing the river. There was no air conditioning but a ceiling fan and floor fan were sufficient to keep us comfortable. Good size bathroom with a large shower. The Lodge has a very nice pool and an open-sided dining hall. Food was excellent. There is a walking path along the river and around the back of the Lodge buildings with howler monkeys, toucans, sloths, and a variety of birds, tree frogs, and small and large lizards and iguanas. There are hiking paths but you need bug repellent and rubber boots (supplied by the Lodge).

This is one of the best--if not the best-combinations of nature, comfort and service in all of Central America. They not only do all of the big things right--very comfortable rooms, great food, etc--but also a lot of little things that you wouldn't even think of, let alone expect. As an example, after slogging through the mud on a night hike, we thought it was a wonderful touch to have beer, soda and snacks waiting for us when we returned to change out of our rubber boots and ease back into vacation mode. The guides were excellent, helping us spot all kinds of hard-to-see birds, snakes, and reptiles. The location itself is absolutely gorgeous, with views up and down the lagoon, the rooms are indeed both rustic and elegant, with surprisingly comfortable mattresses for this part of the country, a gorgeous swimming pool, and gourmet food available 3 meals a day. The tours and guides themselves are top notch, and it really is worth it to go out on their boating tours at all three times offered--sunrise, regular morning, and afternoon. And, yes, while it does rain here, they do everything possible to make sure it doesn't soak you, or your plans. This is a rare place that I'd recommend to someone coming to Costa Rica for their first time, or their 20th.

What an amazing place! Getting there is an experience- a great one. An interesting drive to the dock through small villages and banana plantations (plus a hold up for road construction!) a fabulous boat trip to the hotel jetty where you are greeted by staff and a fresh glass of juice. The setting is truly wonderful. All rooms , restaurant etc front the wide spectacular river which buzzes (nicely) with boats. The ocean roars constantly from the other side of the narrow land strip across the river. The gardens are beautiful and full of wildlife. During one of the free garden tours we saw sloth, spider monkeys, howlers with babies, a Jesus Christ, poison red frogs, the ever present and huge iguanas, a toucan and various other native birds. Our room was nice-clean and with comfortable bed and great shower. Hammocks to loll in and chairs to sit in are everywhere affording great views of the river. The pool is wonderful- especially for the hot sunny weather we enjoyed. Food was good and restaurant setting lovely. All staff were great but especially bar staff and waiters. Did the natural history tour which was excellent. Walked along the beach to the village early one morning which seems to be the best time to be there if you want to avoid the tourist crowds. Tortuguero is simply amazing and well worth the trek to get there. For us, the tranquility of tortuga lodge, a 10 minute fast boat ride or 1.5 ish hours walk (includes bird spotting time) from the hubbub if the village was the perfect choice.

We visited Tortuga Lodge for 2 nights at the end of February, and it was the last part of our travels around Costa Rica. And it was our favourite!! We stayed in room #27 which was beautiful - the pool and restaurant were great too, but the local wildlife steal the show. In the gardens we saw sloth, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, toucans, green macaw, red poison dart frogs - and all of this within a 2 minute walk of our room. And on the trails from the hotel we saw lots more interesting insects. The tour of Tortuguero National Park as well as the private dawn tour were also excellent. All of the guides (Priscilla, Willis and Elvis) helped us lots with the wildlife spotting, and a special shout out to the chef and the kitchen/bar staff who took great care of us too. A good example of the level of service was when I asked if I could buy a couple of the beer jars as I thought they would be great back home for stocking up the memories of our stay - they weren’t for sale, but the next morning the head chef gave me two packaged up to bring home. Awesome place to stay!!!!

Many of the people we met on our trip started, like us, at Tortuguero and, without exception , everyone loved it. Tortuga Lodge impressed us from the moment we stepped off the tiny plane and got a glimpse of some of its buildings across the river. This was followed by a warm, personal welcome and fruit drink. Our room had a view across the river and was comfortable, attractive and practical, with plenty of charging points. From our balcony we saw a sloth and iguanas and could see and hear all kinds of colourful birds, including toucans. It was a pleasure to be in the restaurant, situated at the water's edge, where all meals were served by very pleasant waiters. This had the slight disadvantage of taking longer than a self-service arrangement which could be a problem at breakfast.There was a wide choice of menu and we enjoyed all the meals. It was possible to see many forms of wildlife in the grounds of the Lodge. We did two guided walks which were very interesting and one longer boat trip during which we saw sloths, a crocodile, lizards, caimans, river turtles and lovely birds, with the help of an excellent guide. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this Lodge. As I suspected as we left, other hotels found it difficult to live up to its excellent characteristics.

Words will continue to escape me when trying to describe this magical place. Rustic chic? Luxury without pretension? Understated class? will have to come here and decide for yourself. Tortuga Lodge and Gardens is owned by Costa Rica Expeditions, the biggest travel and tourism company in Costa Rica, and I can see why they are considered the best in the business, but I will save that for another review. This lodge is...magical. Here’s the thing: it’s on the river of Tortuguero. Right on the river. So you are in your room and listening to boats go by and listening to the ebb and flow of the river, and after a day or so, you will get in tune with the river and will find it peaceful and relaxing. The staff here, and I mean ALL of the staff, are amazing and fantastic and friendly and greet you like you are family, responding to your “gracias” with “con gusto”, which means with pleasure. All of the staff here that I encountered spoke English, but I wanted to try my terrible Spanish with them and they were oh so patient with me as I stumbled through the words. The food here at the restaurant was underrated in other reviews I saw. The food is incredible and featured local dishes and flavors native to this region and to CR and every dish was perfect and delicious. They also have a full bar and make a seriously delicious Cosmo and Mojito. Also, DO NOT SKIP THE COFFEE which is available pretty much all the time here. Omg the coffee was the best I’ve ever had in my life! Their restaurant is outdoor so you get the full experience of dining while watching the incredible sunset. We had turndown service and on our last night here, my travel partner came down with some kind of bronchitis and when we informed our travel agent of this and asked her (Elena) to ask our driver who will come to pick us up from the airport and drive us to our next destination (Arenal) to take us to a pharmacy, she informed the front desk to tell us that she will arrange everything and the front desk staffer (Jose) came and found us having drinks and asked us if we needed anything, offered to get us help now if needed (we didn’t need it at the moment) and that everything was arranged for the next day to get us to a pharmacy. Like wow, who does that???? This place does, this travel agency does, and the people of this country do. They take care of their own and their guests. I wish our country would have that same attitude. They also left us some shots of a delicious liquor in our room set up on a platter with some tea light candles and snacks, in hopes the alcohol would help the coughing (it didn’t but what a lovely gesture). The beds were very comfortable and amenities such as body wash, shampoo and conditioner are in abundance in the shower. Now, things you should know before coming here: there is no air conditioning in the room. There is a ceiling fan and a regular stand up fan. I’m an air conditioning snob, so I wasn’t sure about this, but it cools off slightly at night so I was okay, but if you are someone who has trouble sleeping if it’s not a meat locker in your bedroom, this might not bode well for you. Second: there are no glass coverings on the windows. Screens only. I think they do this to help the guests get in touch with nature. And boy oh boy do you get in touch with nature fast. The birds do an amazing job of waking you up starting around 5am. Then the howler monkeys start their banter around 5:45. It’s basically a very awake zoo at around 6am. The resort provides ear plugs in the room. If you’re a light sleeper, I suggest you use them. They work. You can also hear your neighbors have conversations and do all sorts of bodily functions, so keep that in mind (and they can hear you too). Also, the mosquitoes are RELENTLESS. They have bug repellent and sunblock at the front desk and I highly suggest you slather both on and keep slathering for any exposed skin. If possible, wear clothing that is treated with mosquito repellent and bring one long sleeved shirt for the rainforest hikes. I have about 20 bites on my legs, hands and even one on my forehead because I didn’t use enough bug spray. Bring your own spray and use the spray at the front desk. Anytime you go outside your room, you should have spray on. Don’t make the same mistake I did. Trust me on this. You could also wear a beekeepers outfit, but people might look at you funny, plus it’s hot and very humid here, so that might be slightly uncomfortable. Oh, the tap water is 100% potable. It is filtered and totally drinkable and free, so take advantage of it! Bring your own empty bottle and fill up all you want. The bartender will put ice in your bottle if you want ice cold water. Your room might have some interesting critters in it, so be aware. It’s a rainforest so with that comes critters. I showered with a gecko. It didn’t bother me and I didn’t bother the gecko. There were lizards and a couple of spiders in the room. If you’re an arachnophobe, this is NOT the vacation destination for you. Take advantage of all the tours and activities this lodge has to offer. We did the three hour boat tour and saw all kinds of animals, from sloths to monkeys to vultures to lizards to caimans to many varieties of birds. Our tour guide Pricilla was incredible and has an amazing and keen eye for spotting animals and showed all of us where the animals were. I never would have been able to see all of those animals on my own without her because they are masters of camouflage. They also have kayaking, hikes, fishing...just a ton of things to do here. They have trails behind the lodge where you can go walking without a guide and they give you Wellington boots to go there because the mud is intense. Def go with someone if you are going to do that because it’s not fun trying to get yourself out of the mud. This is a rainforest so it’s gorgeous but can be dangerous so whatever advice is given by the staff here, follow it to a T. If you don’t, you could get very hurt. But it’s beautiful here and so try to do a few activities that will show you how amazing the rainforest is. One of the coolest things about this place is the plane ride in and the landing. The pilots are incredible and land on this tiny runway in the middle of the rainforest. It’s a wow and something that you will always remember. So all in all, I would give this place 10 stars if I could. I’m leaving with a lot of itchy skin from the mosquito bites (my fault) but with beautiful memories of this magical place. Oh, one more thing, if you have a good camera, bring it, preferably one with a zoom lens. I only had my iPhone and I regret not bringing a better camera, but we were limited to 30 pounds of luggage. But make some room in your luggage for a good camera. It’s worth it. I highly recommend Tortuga Lodge and Gardens and Costa Rica Expeditions for a travel agent. They are simply amazing, especially Elena!

The trip was everything I imagined from the journey in by boat to the trip out by plane. The food was 5-star and the staff were so friendly and accommodating. We stayed 3 nights and did the kayaking and the boat tour. Every guide we dealt with was very knowledgeable and seemed to enjoy sharing their knowledge of this beautiful country. I would highly recommend Tortuga Lodge and Costa Rica Expeditions.

We had an excellent time in this lodge. All rooms have a view on the gardens, we saw monkeys in the trees from our bed. In the gardens we saw many birds, toucans, kingfishers, colibris and also a few iguanas. In the trails behind the lodge, you can see frogs, monkeys and we even spotted a three toed sloth. The personnel is very friendly and helpful. The bar serves great fruit juices that can be sipped next to the swimming pool. The windows have mosquito nets but no glass so you are immersed in the jungle. It was not a problem for us, but if you are bothered by noise, they provide ear plugs. Boats take you for free to Tortuguero at regular times.

We were there primarily for the birding, my wife being an ardent birder. Our 5 night stay at Tortuga Lodge from 1/20-24/2018 was great. The river view room was clean and well appointed. No need for A/C, TV or a phone. Food in the restaurant was very good and the staff was extremely friendly and helpful. Willis, our private guide on two boat tours, was exceptional. If we go back to Costa Rica we will definitely stay here again even though it is pretty remote.

Across the river Tortuguero Limon

Hotel highlights

  • Free WiFi in rooms and public areas
  • Onsite dining
  • Outdoor pool

Within a short distance of Tortuga Lodge and Gardens are Sea Turtle Conservancy and Cuatro Esquinas Island. This 26-room, 3.5-star resort has a restaurant along with conveniences like an outdoor pool and free in-room WiFi. It's on a river and also close to Tortuguero National Park Office.


Sit down for a leisurely bite to eat at the onsite family restaurant, or enjoy a drink at the bar/lounge. Start each morning off right with cooked-to-order breakfast served for a fee.


Tortuga Lodge and Gardens's 26 rooms provide furnished balconies, ceiling fans, and laptop-compatible safes. Guests can expect to find free WiFi. Hair dryers are also available.

Property features

Tortuga Lodge and Gardens features an outdoor pool, free WiFi in public areas, and coffee in a common area. Front-desk staff can help with tours or tickets, and provide local restaurant recommendations. This resort also has a computer station.

Room options

River View Upstairs Balcony Room

Full 2 | Sleeps 4

River View Downstairs Junior Suite

Full 1 | King 1 | Sleeps 5

Reviews from Trip Advisor

Trip Advisor aggregated rating

95.0% of guests recommend this hotel

Total of 1174 reviews