With a prime location on the beach, steps away from Playa Grande's famous surf break, this place is perfect for surfers, nature lovers, and sun worshippers. The name, which means "The Turtles," is no accident; this hotel was designed with turtles in mind. Owner/conservationist Louis Wilson made sure, for instance, that room and restaurant lights don't shine on the beach, because light disorients the turtles. Rooms are spacious, with good beds, stone floors, terraces, new
balconies, and colorful tile bathrooms. Las Tortugas accommodates all budgets, with rooms ranging from spacious suites to economical dorm-style rooms in an annex that Louis built for student groups and volunteers. They also offer an array of apartments up the hill, some with kitchenettes, that rent by the night, week, or month. All of this adds up to the best value in Playa Grande, and one of the best deals on the Pacific coast. The main surf break is just to the south of the hotel, and turtle tours start at the ranger station next door. Rip currents are a danger on the beach here, which is why many guests prefer the pool shaped like a leatherback turtle (the turtle's head is the kiddie pool). A palm-lined entrance and lush gardens slung with hammocks round out the grounds' appeal. The restaurant ($$$) serves a good selection of fresh seafood and grilled meat dishes; a beach snack bar has Caribbean-style food and tacos.
Entrance to Las Baulas Marine National Park, 33 km/20 mi north of Tamarindo, Playa Grande, Costa Rica