May 15th, 2010, 04:25 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 5

My family of 5 will be in Tortuguero on July 1st and 2nd. A turtle tour is not included in our package. Will there be many turtles to see or are we too early? What is the best way of viewing, hire a private guide or the regular park tour and how does that work? Will we need to make reservations in advance or can you just show up?
Thanks for any info
3BoyzMom is offline  
May 15th, 2010, 06:24 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 24,065
We did Tortuguero about that same time of year. The turtle viewing is done by a lottery system, so I would just tell your lodge that you're interested in going, and they will get you assigned to a designated spotting area and specific time.

When we did it, we had to wait in a designated area, and when they spotted a turtle, we all hiked over to watch it. You have to dress in dark clothing and wear good walking shoes. Most of the hike is in the dark. The guides carry red light flashlights that don't disturb the turtles. That's the very beginning of the season, but there are turtles to be seen. We spotted two more the next day while walking on the beach in the morning. I would just check with the lodge where you're staying. We stayed at Tortuga Lodge, and they set everything up for us. I thought the experience was completely worth it. Even if we hadn't seen a turtle, our guide gave us so much great, interesting information that we really would have still enjoyed it.
volcanogirl is online now  
May 15th, 2010, 06:47 PM
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Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 5
Thank you for answering. We also are staying at Tortuga (sealed by your posts on this forum) through CRE's Jungle odyssey, staying in the "penthouse". Are there any tips or other advise about Tortuga, what is within walking distance and is there a night walk? My boys, ages 15, 13 and 10 want to see things that go bump in the night and lot's of creepy crawlies.
3BoyzMom is offline  
May 15th, 2010, 07:34 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
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I imagine Tortuga offers a nocturnal hike. I'd ask. I stayed at Turtle Beach Lodge and they offered it but I was too pooped. They often have turtles nesting right on their beach, but if you have to boat to another area it's dependent on the ocean being calm enough to do that.
hipvirgochick is offline  
May 16th, 2010, 07:48 AM
Join Date: May 2007
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Oh, you're staying in the penthouse? Wow, I'm jealous - it is really gorgeous. I think you guys will really enjoy it. They have really great service there and great food. The pool area is really nice, and they did have a few things for kids like ping pong in case of rain. We got a lot of rain when we were there. Tortuguero had a lot of mosquitoes when we were there too so definitely bring repellent. We brought books in case the rain didn't let up, but luckily it did.

We hired them to take us out on a canal tour, and I would definitely recommend that. I liked it that Tortuga let us go out on our own with a guide instead of putting us in a big group. Our guide was great and spotted crocs, otters, caimans, beautiful birds, and lots of monkeys for us. Anything we were curious about, he would zoom in for a closer look, and we were able to get some good pictures. I know there's also some type of kayak tour, but we didn't do it. I was a little freaked by the crocs - lol.

We hiked behind the lodge and saw tons of little strawberry dart frogs. They were all over the trails. It was really muddy, but they had rubber boots available if you wanted them. The gardener spotted bats and a boa for us. We saw some huge cane toad/marine frogs at night. I don't remember seeing a specific night tour, but just e-mail them and ask. They might be able to put one together for you.

Regarding the turtle hike, there were only two times available, and your time was determined by the lottery. I was glad we got the earlier time; the second time was quite late. I can't remember, but I'm thinking it was 10:00 or midnight. They are very strict about the night hike times. We wanted to stay out a little longer, but the next group was coming in and only so many people can be on the beach at one time, so we had to go. It's completely random whether you will see turtles or not. Some people did the turtle hike on multiple nights to up their chances, so I feel like we got lucky doing it only once.

The airport and beach are right across from Tortuga Lodge. They took us over in a boat - literally about a 30 second trip. You can't swim at the beach because it's too rough, and there are sharks.

Some of their food was pretty sophisticated - they have a great chef. I heard the woman at the table next to me ask if they could make something simpler for her kids, and they were happy to do it. They post the menu in the dining room every day so you can check it out. It's some of the best food we've had in CR. One thing they did that I loved was surprise us with a little picnic on the way in. I don't know if it's standard procedure or not, but we got picked up in the boat, and it was just the two of us. Part way down the river, they pulled over and had a great picnic set up for us, complete with a linen tablecloth and big silver bowl full of iced down drinks, wine, fresh fruit juice, little salads, and sandwich fixings, fruit, cookies, etc. They had a really friendly waiter there to serve everything. I had asked if lunch would be provided, and they said we would eat something along the way, but I had no idea they were going to spring all that on us, so it was really fun. They seem to be very big on making memories which I loved.
volcanogirl is online now  
May 16th, 2010, 10:55 PM
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Join Date: May 2010
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Volcanogirl, thanks for all the great detailed info. A Boat tour is included in our package, I hope it's not with too big of a group, but I guess we have to take what we get. My older son and I love to kayak so we were thinking of taking our chances....How big are those crocs?!?!

That's good to know about the food, my youngest is a very picky eater so I hope he doesn't starve to death. We picked the penthouse because we need to have some room since the boys are at the ages that they constantly fight (too much testosterone in my life!), so we need some neutral corners, hopefully the sounds of the rainforest will have a calming influence and they will be so busy they will forget that they hate each other. Everyone sing- "kumbaya...

After this we will be staying at the Lost Iguana in Arenal for 5 days (hope they have big rooms) taking a tour to Cano Negro, volcano, tram and bridges in Monteverde and of course the hanging bridges. I went to CR in 2006 with some girlfriends and we stayed at Tabacon but we were only there for 2 days and we went zipping and rafting and didn't really get to see the sights locally, except for Tabacon spa...to die for. I am looking forward to spending more time in this area. Thanks again for your replies.
3BoyzMom is offline  
May 17th, 2010, 03:32 AM
Join Date: May 2007
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The food is so good there; I think he'll make it just fine. The portions were pretty big too, and they serve it family style, bringing a platter to your table. Your trip sounds great. We saw quite a few people out kayaking while we were doing our canal tour, and they looked like they were loving it. I asked our guide if a croc had ever eaten anyone there, and he said, "Oh, yes, but you can't blame the crocs because we are entering their environment..." They're big! There's also some big bull sharks.

hip, didn't you kayak there? She can help you a lot more with that than I can. Getting out on the water is the best way to see anything there because there aren't really roads or much hiking. Everything is just on a canal system, and that's where the wildlife hangs out.
volcanogirl is online now  
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