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Featured in National Geographic Tours of a Lifetime, 2012

Where is Tortuga Lodge & Gardens?

Tortuga Lodge is located on the north east coast of Costa Rica, 47.5 KM or 29.5 miles from the Nicaraguan border, as the crow flies.

See Tortuga Lodge in a bigger map

You cannot drive to Tortuguero because there are no roads; the only way to get there is by a combination of bus and boat or domestic flight.

The Tortuguero region covers a total of 190,000 square kilometers or 73,350 square miles. The lodge sits on the river bank directly across from the airstrip and 2 KMS or 1 mile from the mouth of the Tortuguero River.

Complete Package

By far the easiest way to get to Tortuguero is to buy a complete package that includes round trip transportation, lodging, excursions and meals, if you are interested in booking a complete package, please click here, Complete Packages.

If you do not want to buy a complete package, we offer the following transportation options:

Domestic Flight
We offer seats on charter aircraft to/from Tortuguero subject to availability. Seats are limited and often not available. Please check with us for availability and pricing.

Private Bus Transportation to La Pavona or Caño Blanco is by min-van and Spanish speaking driver. Your van will have an ice chest with water for each member of group. Although our drivers do not always speak English, they are experienced professional drivers that are adept at communicating basics with guests. English speaking guides are available on request. Check with us for availability and pricing.

Shared transportation is for no more than 16 guests with Spanish speaking driver and English speaking guide. Your van will have an ice chest with water for each member of group. Transfers are included to/from hotels in the Metropolitan Area; there is a surcharge for hotels outside of this radius. Check with us for availability and pricing.

Private Boat Transportation from La Pavona or Caño Blanco to Tortuga Lodge & Gardens we offer private boat transportation with a Tortuga Lodge Boat Captain on a limited basis. The price for this service is $178 total for the boat. Please contact us, as this service must be confirmed ahead of time.

Rental Vehicle If you choose to rent for at least the driven portion of this route, be aware that driving conditions in Costa Rica are challenging. There are potholes, very few road signs, and drivers passing on blind curves - sometimes all at once. While you don´t need to be scared, do be aware that thieves and traffic cops looking for bribes routinely target rented cars. Road signs are scarce, maps are approximate, giving precise directions is not one of Costa Rica´s national strengths, and, most important, the unwritten rules of the road are very different from what you are used to.

The Unwritten road rules of Costa Rica

BE SURE you have spoken to us on the phone the day before you drive to Caño Blanco or La Pavona. This is because which dock we are using can and does change on a daily basis, depending on water levels.

Important Telephones

Office hours (5:30am ~ 8:00pm)
Tel. (+506) 2257-0766
Tel. (+506) 2521-6099
After hours, Operations Staff
Mob. (+506) 8707-5212
Director of Operations & Lodges, Diego Blanco
Mob. (+506) 8879-3821

If you are driving on your own to one of the docks en route to Tortuguero, driving instructions are found below. Even with these directions, there is a good chance you will get lost if you do not have a GPS. By far the best is EZ Find. There are no addresses in Costa Rica. The GPS operates by points of interest. Go to the Points of Interest on the menu and put in where you want to go. For example, "Caño Blanco".

Driving Instructions

Unless the water level is very low, we use the dock at La Pavona. However, as we mentioned earlier, this is dependent on water level, and the only way to be absolutely certain we get it right is for you to call us the day before you drive.

If you plan to meet the boat at La Pavona, Click Here

If you plan to meet the boat at Caño Blanco, Click Here

If you're not renting a car through us and plan on bringing a Garmin GPS, we recommend purchasing the navigation software through the button below (a 10 day version is $49). EzFind uses up to date points of interest to navigate Costa Rica, as the street addresses you're probably accustomed to simply aren't used here. Keep in mind that it takes 36 hours after purchasing to receive the EzFind software, which only works with Garmin GPS devices.

Purchase Ez Find online

Taking the Public Boat

While you may choose to make the trip own your own and with a rental car, you will not be able to drive all the way to Tortuguero. This is simply because there are no roads; the only way to get there is by a combination of car (or bus) and boat or domestic flight.

If you are up for a public transportation adventure while you are in Costa Rica and are planning on driving your rental car as far as the road will take you, the public boat schedules from the La Pavona dock to Tortuguero are below. Keep in mind that this will take you to the town of Tortuguero, which is roughly ten minutes upriver from our lodge.

We recommend that you arrive 30 minutes before the boats scheduled departure time and buy your ticket at the counter in the restaurant; your receipt is your ticket. At La Pavona you will find a restaurant, bathrooms and a small shop where you can buy snacks and beverages.

Please understand that these boats do not have insurance and do not follow any rules with regard to carrying capacity of the boat, safe boat captaining or comfort.

If you decide to use this form of transportation, you do so at your own risk.

There is no public boat from Caño Blanco, if because of water levels La Pavona is off limits, you will have to arrange transportation with us.

07:30 am
11:00 am
1:30 pm
4:30 pm

05:45 am
09:00 am
11:00 am
2:30 pm

*It will take you approximately 1 hour to drive from Cariari to La Pavona, if you are not going to make it to La Pavona by 2:30pm DO NOT drive all that way. You will miss the last boat at 3pm and not make it to Tortuguero. There is no place to stay in La Pavona, you will have to drive all the way back to Cariari.

The ticket for the boat at the time of writing was $5 per person.

You can leave your car at La Pavona. They have parking spaces with roofs that are guarded day and night. Even with this in mind:


The fee for parking is $10 per day; again, this was at the time of writing.

Getting from Tortuguero Village to Tortuga Lodge

Our staff boats arrive at the public boat landing in Tortuguero (where your boat from La Pavona will have dropped you off) at approximately the following times: AM 5:25, 9:40, and PM: 1:40, 3:10 and 5:10. Look for a green launch with Tortuga Lodge written along the side in black letters, driven by a captain in a tan Tortuga Lodge & Gardens shirt.

If your arrival at Tortuguero does not coincide with one of our boats, you can get a water taxi from the public landing. They will know the Lodge, but their prices vary. Some will charge between 10 and 15 dollars for the trip, while others will ask for $10 per person. A final option is to contact the Lodge using the telephone in the guide’s association, and we will send a boat, outside of the regular hours mentioned above we do charge of the boat, and the costs are as follows (total cost, not per person): 1-4 guests $10, 7-10 guests $15, 11-15 guests $20.

A note: We encourage you to wait until you arrive at the Lodge before booking any tours. This is to allow us to explain some of the trade-offs between the tours we offer from the Lodge and some of the options you will be offered by people approaching you when at the boat landing, while using the guide associations’ phone, or perhaps even during the ride from La Pavona to the town of Tortuguero. On the surface these offers may appear to be a much better deal but upon digging often include much less than what you need to do the tour properly (such as park entrance fees, quiet four stroke motor to take you deep inside the park, English speaking guide). Tours offered in town range from excellent to simply unsafe, and if after listening to our description of our tours and what is included in the price, you are still more interested in booking in town, our receptionists are happy to provide you with phone numbers and recommendations.

Additional Services
Have you finished making all the reservations and planning for your vacation in Costa Rica? Tortuga Lodge owned and operated by Costa Rica Expeditions; we are a full service company and can take care of all of your planning and reservations.

Go to the following link and simply click on your interests. One of our Travel Planners will personally custom design up to 3 itineraries – Free!
Custom Designed Vacations

Monteverde Lodge & Gardens
If you are planning to visit the Cloud Forest on this vacation to Costa Rica, Monteverde Lodge & Gardens is rated #1 on Trip Advisor.

Forest View Balcony Rooms
"...the most outstanding hotel and also a good bargain." Costa Rica Handbook, Moon Publications.

Located just 15 minutes from the famous Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Monteverde Lodge offers second floor Forest View Balcony Rooms with two double beds (king beds are available on a limited basis on request), your private balcony with a Cloud Forest View has two wooden chairs and a coffee table. Your room also has glass enclosed showers, solar heated hot water, in-room safe, coffee maker, alarm clock, ceiling fan, reading lamps, hair dryer and laundry bag. Ask us about our Forest View Standard Rooms

Monteverde Lodge & Gardens
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Tortuga Lodge & Gardens
Lodge : 011 (+506) 2709-8136
Office: 011 (+506) 2257-0766
Fax: 011 (+506) 2257-1665

Across from the airstrip 1 mile north of the Town of Tortuguero, Tortuguero, Costa Rica.
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no smoking

Smokers Be Aware!
Costa Rica has recently passed one of the strictest smoking regulations in the world; hotels are 100% SMOKE FREE.
If you are a guest at the hotel, and want to smoke, by law you are required to leave the property. This means that you have to be taken by boat across the river to the beach. Boats are available most of the time but not all the time, you may have to wait (10 minutes – 2 hours) for a boat to return to the lodge before you can be taken across.
Boats are NOT available to take you to a place where you can smoke at night. We realize that this is very inconvenient, but it’s the law. There is an $800 fine for breaking this law.

Read more about us: Monteverde Lodge & Gardens on trip advisor Fodor's logo Frommers logo