Tortuga Lodge

On Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, nestled between the Tortuguero River and gorgeous plantation-style gardens, Tortuga Lodge & Gardens is the only hotel in the area with its own private nature reserve, offering high end, beautifully designed accommodation with an array of adventures and activities. Each of the 29 rooms, including the spectacular, very private Miss Florentina Villa, feature sweeping views of the river.

Tortuguero is a nature and wildlife lover’s paradise. Daily nature walks and boat trips are led by the lodge’s experienced naturalist guides, who also lead tours to turtle nesting sites in season, and kayak trips up the Tortuguero River, twilight nature hikes and more. At 51,870 protected acres, this is one of the last large areas of tropical rainforest in Central America. Three species of monkeys (Spider, Howler, and White-faced), Three toed Sloths, and river otters are frequently seen along the natural inland waterways and canals. Caiman, iguanas, river turtles, Basilisk Lizards, and Poison Dart Frogs (Dendrobates) inhabit the area, along with more than 320 species of birds including the Great Green Macaw, all six species of kingfishers found in the new world, three species of toucans, eight species of parrots, and other neotropical species such as the Slaty-tailed Trogon, White-collared Manakin and the Purple-throated Fruitcrow.

Tortuguero (“place of turtles”) is most famous for the thousands of sea turtles that come ashore between July and September to lay their eggs on the beach and bury them in a ritual millions of years old. Nighttime excursions to watch nesting, and later hatching, turtles is the area’s most popular adventure, along with boat tours of the huge network of canals.

Warm smiles, bright colours and a glistening pool greet me on arrival to Tortuga Lodge in Tortuguero. After landing on a particularly humid day at the small land strip, I was taken on my 30 second boat ride across the lagoon to the hotel – set exactly opposite the ‘airport’ which receives 2 small Sansa flights a day. It was a beautiful relief to be welcomed into the hotel with a fresh fruit juice, introduced to the staff (many of whom are related to or descendants of the Tortuguero greats who the room categories are named after) and guided through the grounds. But an extra level of calmness set in when I was taken to my room - a wonderfully airy space, facing the lagoon with a sumptuous swimming chair on the balcony, and inside the bright décor and expertly fitted lighting produced an incredibly relaxing atmosphere. I was then suddenly keen and excited to get to know what the lagoon, the hidden channels and deep thick forest had to offer and start planning my itinerary with the staff, who were more than willing to help put in place for me.

Nicola Gude - Senderos

Getting there

by road


A 3 hour journey from San Jose to Caño Blanco, followed by a 1 hour 30 minute boat transfer to the lodge (departing at 08:30am) (changed from La Pavona July 2023)

by air


A short 30 minute flight from San Jose to Tortuguero’s landing strip, 5 minutes from the lodge