The review:

Tortuga Lodge

Welcome to Central America’s answer to the Amazon. Clasped within the riverine rainforest of Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast, Tortuga lodge is a colourful and authentic lodge surrounded by a wealth of wildlife.

Our own Personal Travel Designer Stephanie recently visited and had this to say:

“Staying at Tortuga Lodge was a wonderful experience; I’d describe it as a sensory overload – the noises of nature are all around and animal spotting is abundant – on the short boat transfer to the lodge I was able to see a sloth, giant iguana and a caiman.”

Things to do

Set within its own private nature reserve and surrounded by water, interaction with nature forms the primary focus of your stay here. With riparian views banked by deep rainforest and the ocean, there are several different ecosystems at play, which allow you to see and hear a huge range of wildlife. Daily walks with on-site naturalist experts and night hikes will bring the world around you to life from the tiny dart frog and hatchling turtle to the vast sloth or noisy howler monkey. You might also explore by kayak, paddling down the river’s narrow channels, banked by dense rainforest which squawks and rustles as you silently drift past. You can also hike through jungle trails to get your bearings from a viewpoint overlooking a patchwork of greens or take a chocolate tour, which starts in the orchard. When you’re not out nature-spotting, relax at the hotel’s pool or enjoy the spa.


With a world of nature to explore outside you might find that you don’t spend long in your room. But when you do, you’ll find it to be spacious and comfortable, decorated in bright Caribbean hues with lush river views. Tortuga has six different room categories, including one villa set at the edge of the hotel property which comes with a private pool and large deck overlooking the river, an ideal spot for seclusion-seeking couples or families. We also like the upper-level suites which have a terrace and swinging day bed, dotted with tropical accents and soundtracked by nature.

Food & Drink

The food offering at Tortuga Lodge could be described as ‘local food done well’. This means when you’re here, you’ll try lots of interesting dishes made with seasonal ingredients. Rainbow-coloured tropical fruits are in abundance; you’ll question if you’ve really tasted pineapple before, such is its zingy flavour. Considering your remote location, the cuisine is surprisingly sophisticated – expect innovative starters such as banana ceviche followed by exquisitely cooked fish such as tuna, mahi-mahi or swordfish, plus a good assortment of plant-based dishes. Fruity cocktails made to order are a must here, and there’s a selection of international beer and wine too.

Stephanie Says

“I was genuinely wowed every day I spent at Tortuga. I felt like with each fresh day there was a new discovery, a new animal spot, jungle call or diversity of nature to be immersed in. I had the privilege experience of seeing turtles hatch on the beach one late afternoon and felt fortunate to watch this extraordinary spectacle of nature as the tiny hatchlings made their way to the sea. It’s not just about the animals here though – people are a huge part of your experience with the staff and expert guides an intrinsic element of this special place, bringing the animal world to life or simply stopping for a friendly chat.”

Best For

The hotel is very well set up for both families and couples alike and especially suits nature-lovers. We’d also recommend that you stay at Tortuga Lodge as part of a longer trip in Costa Rica, to really make the most of the country’s stunning diversity. For example, your itinerary could include time in the capital San Jose recuperating from your flight, followed by a tour of Arenal Volcano National Park enjoying hikes amid hot springs, lush forest and views of the crater. After staying at Tortuga Lodge, you could finish at tropical-luxe Agua Claras hotel, a boutique hideaway with a greenery-clasped pool and a Caribbean beach a short walk away.

The Verdict

Get ready for a sensory overload at Tortuga Lodge where the sights and sounds of this riparian rainforest retreat will surprise you with face-to-face encounters with monkeys, sloth, caiman, and a plethora of birdlife. Deep rainforest nature, but on your doorstep.

Have questions? Our knowledgeable team of experts are on-hand to take your call or if you prefer by Zoom. Talk to us about your holiday dreams or challenge us with your travel conundrums.

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