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. The Lodge sits on the river bank directly across from an airstrip. It is 1 mile from the mouth of the Tortuguero River and about a ten minute boat ride down from the town.
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.
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.
Transportation options outside Complete Packageview
Domestic Flight: We offer seats on charter aircraft to/from Tortuguero subject to availability. Seats are limited and at times not available. Please check with us for availability and pricing.
Private Transportation 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.
Following the bus you’ll board a private boat with a Tortuga Lodge Boat Captain for the ride from the dock to the Lodge.
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.
If you choose to rent for 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. Which dock we are using can and does change on a daily basis, depending on water levels.
|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, driving instructions are found below.
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
From La Pavona to San José
From La Fortuna to La Pavona
From La Pavona to La Fortuna
From Puerto Viejo to La Pavona
From La Pavona to Puerto Viejo
If you plan to meet the boat at Caño Blanco, Click Here
From Caño Blanco to San Jose
From Fortuna (Arenal) to Caño Blanco
From Caño Blanco to Fortuna (Arenal)
From Puerto Viejo to Caño Blanco
From Caño Blanco to Puerto Viejo
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
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, 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.
*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 3:00 pm DO NOT drive all that way. You may miss the last boat, which is scheduled for 4:30 pm but may leave beforehand if it fills up, 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:
DO NOT LEAVE ANYTHING YOU DON’T WANT STOLEN IN YOUR CAR
The fee for parking is $10 per day; again, this was at the time of writing.
4:30 pm (in the high season this last boat will leave when it fills up, which could be earlier)
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.
Getting back and forth between Tortuguero Village and the 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 $10 to $15 for the trip, while others will ask for $10 per person. You can also contact the Lodge using the telephone in the guide’s association, and we will send a boat, outside of the times above we do charge for 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.
Once at the Lodge, our receptionists will explain how to get back and forth between town and lodge. Basically however options include the staff boats mentioned above, booking a Lodge boat or water taxi, and getting us to run you, free of charge, across the river to the airstrip. From the airstrip you can walk to town, either via a trail, or along the beach.
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 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.