How to get There?
Where is the Tortuga Lodge & Gardens? Situated on the banks of the Tortuguero River directly across from an airstrip, we offer a unique and exclusive destination among Tortuguero, Costa Rica hotels. Our lodge is located on the northeast coast of Costa Rica, 47.5 KM (29.5 miles) from the Nicaraguan border. We are about one mile from the mouth of the Tortuguero River and about a ten-minute boat ride from town. You cannot drive to Tortuguero because there are no roads; the only way to get here is by a combination of bus and boat or domestic flight.
By far the easiest way to get to our Tortuguero Costa Rica hotel is to reserve a complete package that includes round trip transportation, lodging, excursions and meals, if you are interested in booking a complete package, please visit our Packages page.
Domestic Flight: We offer seats on charter aircraft to/from Tortuguero subject to availability. Seats are limited and at times not available. There is a maximum luggage allowance of 40lbs and 10lbs. carry on per person. Please check with us for availability and pricing.
Private Transportation is by van with a Spanish speaking driver. Your van will have an ice chest with water for each member of the 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. Upon arrival at the dock, you'll board a private boat with a Tortuga Lodge Boat Captain for the ride from to the Lodge. Click Here to contact us directly for availability and pricing.
Shared van transportation to/from San Jose to the Pavona or Caño Blanco dock with Spanish speaking driver and English speaking guide. Your van will have an ice chest with water for each member of the group. Transfers are included to/from hotels in the Metropolitan Area; there is a surcharge for hotels outside of this radius. There is a maximum luggage allowance of 30lbs per person. Price per person is $70. Check with us for availability. Important: We offer one daily transfer to one of the two docks, which dock will be used depends on the water level and is defined the day before.
Shared boat transportation to/from the designated dock to/from Tortuga Lodge with an English speaking Boat Captain. Our boat departs daily at 11:00 am, from either the La Pavona or Caño Blanco dock depending on the water level of the river. The dock that we will be using will be confirmed the day before via email or phone. Previous reservations are required. Price per person Caño Blanco – Tortuga Lodge $45. Price per person La Pavona – Tortuga Lodge $20. There is a maximum luggage allowance of 30lbs per person.
Shared bus and boat transportation to/from San Jose to Tortuga Lodge. We will pick you up to/from hotels in the Metropolitan Area; there is a surcharge for hotels outside of this radius. There is a maximum luggage allowance of 40lbs and 10lbs. carry on per person. The van 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 the group. Upon arrival at the dock, an English speaking Tortuga Lodge Boat Captain will be waiting to take you to Tortuga Lodge.
Transportation to/from your San Jose hotel, located in the Metropolitan Area; there is a surcharge for hotels outside of this radius, boat transportation from either the La Pavona or Caño Blanco dock to Tortuga Lodge.
Price per person San Jose – Tortuga Lodge $90
Click Here to contact us for availability and reservations.
The Unwritten of the Costa Rican Roads
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.
Three of the most important differences you should know:
- Just like in the US, rolling stops are illegal. However, in recorded history, no one has been cited for a rolling stop in Costa Rica. A rolling stop at a stop sign in the US means you may get a ticket. A full stop at a stop sign in Costa Rica means you may get rear-ended.
- In the US, passing on a blind curve is a sin. In Costa Rica not letting somebody in who passes on a blind curve may be a mortal sin. When you see a big slow truck in the oncoming lane, be ready for the guy behind him to be passing him -- and the woman behind you to be passing you.
- Understand that driving in the US and driving in Costa Rica stem from vastly different cultural traditions. Driving in the US is derived from the lore of the Old West. There may be a veneer of courtesy, but down deep it is the showdown at high noon. If you back down your very manhood has been compromised - womanhood too. Hence road rage.
Driving in Costa Rica is inspired by the ancient tradition of the bullfight. How close can you get without getting hurt? The driver who cuts you off in Costa Rica is not insulting you. He´s playing with you. Your role in the game is to not get cut off, as long as nobody gets hurt. Hence everybody tailgates.
The best way for you to handle this is the same as for newcomers to all games: play, but play by local rules; don’t play too intensely; and expect to lose. Defensive driving at all times is the key.
You must understand that the rules and policies regarding car rental in Costa Rica are even more in favor of the company than they are in the US. Before renting a car in Costa Rica, you should make yourself aware of the differences and be sure that they are acceptable to you.
Unless the water level is very low, we use the dock at La Pavona. However, as we mentioned earlier, this is dependent on the water level, and the only way to be 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
If you plan to buy a Costa Rican SIM card, you can also download the App, WAZE, this works with points of interest and works well for getting around in Costa Rica. You can adjust the settings so that it will speak to you in English and it will calculate distances in either miles or kilometers.
For directions to La Pavona, for example, you have two options that will get you there:
Puerto La Pavona – Tortuguero
Cariari, Limon, Costa Rica
Both options will take you from your location to the La Pavona dock.