Tortuguero Experience

Old Apr 11th, 2005, 01:23 PM
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Tortuguero Experience

We are planning our first we week trip to Costa Rica in May this year. We think we want to go to Tortuguero but we are finding the package deals pricey. As we only have 2 weeks we want to make the most of our trip so we want to know if a visit to Tortuguero is worth it? Has anyone done their own trip without the tour companies? We think 2 nights would be good but would like to fly in and out to save time as we have a full agenda already. There are B&B's there too...anyone stay in one?

A lot of the lodges advertise package deals - has anyone been to the Laguna Lodge Tortuguero? Mawamba?

Our itinerary thus far is:

May 8 - 9 Tortuguero (return flight to SJ)
May 10 - 11 Arenal
May 12 - 13 Monteverde
May 14 - 16 Tamarindo
May 17 - 19 Montezuma
May 20 - 23 Quepos (fly back to San Jose for flight home).

Is this overly ambitious? We are planning on taking public transport and leave the stress to the Ticos!

audea is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2005, 03:31 PM
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My first comment is about Tortuguero. Go! And fly out, but take the boat in. That is a good portion of the adventure. The package deals are not so pricey when you consider that they are all-inclusive. You literally will spend hardly a dime more. I recommended Mawamba Lodge's package deal.

My second comment is, yes, I do feel your itinerary is a bit ambitious. You will have to return home and go back to work in order to REST after this long haul. You are spending waaaay too much time on the road rather than stopping to smell the roses, see the monkeys, and watch the leafcutters. You cannot do it all in Costa Rica in one trip no matter how hard you try.

So my advice is, don't try. Pick three, max four destinations.

One other point: from Tamarindo to Montezuma - how do you intend to make this journey? The only roads making the connection require some serious river fording. No airport in Montezuma. It is a long, long journey no matter how it might look on the map. The same is true for most distances in Costa Rica.

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Old Apr 11th, 2005, 03:41 PM
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Actually, you can get from Tamarindo to Montezuma two ways without fording rivers. You can drive south from Nicoya to Paquera or you can cross the Friendship Bridge east of Nicoya, travel the Interamerican down to Puntarenas, then take the Puntarenas-Paquera ferry across. Travel time about the same--close to 6 hours.

I agree yu

I agree your itin. is a bit too much. Try to drop one of your beach locations at least. I'd suggest letting Tamarindo or Montezuma go--the two towns are very similar, IMO.

4 locations in 2 weeks is a good standard. Would you be interested in holding off on Tortuguero until you can go during turtle nesting time July-October? Just a thought. . .but do choose only 2 beach locations to maximize your enjoyment and cut back on all that getting to and from time! Enjoy!
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Old Apr 11th, 2005, 03:42 PM
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Sorry for the strange little partial sentence--of course, it was my computer acting up, not me! I just don't know what gets into this thing sometimes!
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Old Apr 11th, 2005, 06:47 PM
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Hi,
Tortugero is one of my favorite places. The lodges are wonderful and I agree with one post in that because they are inclusive with transportation, guided tours, all meals and bilingual guide, it is well worth it.

If you are adventursome, however, and flying in and out is what you want to do... there is lodging in the town of Tortugero. This could be a concrete block little cabin behind someone's house. Miriams is nice but she is often full. Miss June's dark but right there by the river.

Check out Ilan Ilan. It is a simple concrete place but the lodge is nice the guides are very good and it is cheaper.

The lodges will knock off a little if you go by plane... I think $10 each way.

I agree you need to cut your plans. My suggestion would be Tortugero Fly in, boat out, to see the country.
I would also stay for two nights.
I vote for Pachira Lodge, it is purely my favorite and I have been to them all.

The lodges will stop for lunch. They might help you find a driver that would take you from the lunch spot, the back way to La Fortuna. Saving time.

From La Fortuna, I would go straight to Quepos/Manuel Antonio and enjoy my vacation with 3 places in mind...

You might add a one day trip past Waterfall Gardens and Poas volcano in the front and you could not have a better time.

Save your other beaches for next trip!

HOP


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Old Apr 12th, 2005, 06:08 AM
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Thanks everyone for all the information. I was a bit worried we were taking on too much. Re Tortuguero has anyone stayed with or know of Casa Marbella?

I think I would perfer Montezuma over Tamarindo (more touristy). I see that there is a ferry that crosses over to the get us there and I hope there is bus transport. Does anyone know? Also wondering if anyone has been to Ylang Ylang Resort in Montezuma? I can't find it anywhere on the net but it was recommended to us as a romatic spot.

I also read varying reviews of Manuel Antonio. I read that the wildlife disappears later in the morning as the park gets too crowded. Is this true?

We are also considering indulging in sport fishing. Is there a recommended company? I am interested in another posting regarding a snorkeling trip with a private guide.

Thanks for your help!
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Old Apr 12th, 2005, 02:29 PM
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Wildlife disappears around mid-day most places. From what I understand most wild-life sleep during the mid-day. If you want to see wild-life, you've got to go early or later in the day. I don't know about other lodges at Tortuguero, but the Mawamba got us out there early and then before sunset and we saw lots of stuff. The price was definately worth it. The boat trip there was really interesting.

I also think you might chose either Tamarindo or Montezuma. I've never been to Quepos, but want to some day. Maybe you could skip both Montezuma and Tamarindo so that you'll have more time in the other areas. I did not think that Tamarindo was more "touristy" than Montezuma. We saw Montezuma 4 years ago and Tamarindo in March '05. I thought they were both quite "touristy."
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Old Apr 12th, 2005, 03:12 PM
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Don't miss out on Tortuguero!! We loved it. Take the boat in-it is definitly part of the experience. The wildlife viewing is incredible there-we saw everything, and plenty of it. Mawamba Lodge was great-staff very friendly and efficient, rooms clean and spacious, and the food was actually good for a buffet. When we went, we were gone 11 days and went to San Jose(1 night),Tortuguero(2 nights), Purerto Viero(1 night) Arenal(2 nights), Monteverde(1 night), Manual Antonio(2 nights), La Paz(1 night). Although we did a lot, we weren't crazy-rushed. We wanted to see things, not sit on a beach. That is why we choose Costa Rica. Monteverde was the only place that I would not return to. Mind you, the drive from Arenal to Monteverde was worth it-I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn;t driven it!! Enyoy your trip.
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Old Apr 12th, 2005, 04:41 PM
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I also vote for Mawamba Lodge. I too thought it a bit pricey, but when you weigh in the transportation, food, lodging and tours, it is a good deal.

Ylang Ylang - Ok that is the name of the El Sano Banano new restaurant at their Beach Bungalows. Have they also changed the name of the beach bungalow portion of their two hotels? Curious?
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