tortuguero, costa rica

Tortuguero Travel Blog

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I booked a trip trough IPEE language school in Costa Rica for a 4 day 3 night trip from San Jose to Laguna Lodge which is on the outskirts of Tortuguero Park.  I was to meet the tour at a hotel at 7a.m. in San Jose but can't remember name.  I took a taxi there and it was maybe 3 dollars or 1600 colones.  I arrived early since I didn't want to miss trip since I prepaid through school.  The bus showed up on time which was great and it was maybe a 15 seater bus.  The bus was full.  Our guide for the trip was George.  He was awesome dreadlocks and all.  I felt strange because I think I was the only one who was not fluent in spanish so George would explain stuff in spanish and then in english.  Well, I new most of what he was saying and after a while he seemed to know if I was following what was said or not.  We left san jose right away and traveled East on a pretty good highway with great mountain views.  We drove for about an hour and a half and stoppd to eat at a roadside diner that was all set up and waiting for these tour busses like ours.  The food was great.  Served buffet style so you could get as little or as much as you wanted.  I quickly made friends with 2 girls my age on the bus and so from then on they kind of took me under their wings and hung out with me so I wasn't lonely.  One of the girls worked at a bank in san jose and the other one worked for a tourism business so she was there to check out the tour and see if it was worth promoting.  We finished breakfast and had a few minutes to kill so the restaurant had somewhat of a butterfly garden but not many butterflies.  Took some pictures and then found the bus again. They aren't losing this gringo that easily.  Got on the bus and we drove through many small towns and soon arrived at the Dole banana plantation for a 15 minute look around.  The place was amazing for what it was.  The Bananas are picked in the field and placed on a banana zipline which takes the fruit from the field all the way to processing.  Outsided the processing facility there was a guy there selling fresh coconuts so for about a dollar I bought one.  He also was showing off a couple Hercules beetles which were pretty scary looking.  Guess they are the strongest bug alive.  Loaded into bus and headed out again for a bout another half hour or 45 minutes on a bumpy dirt road.  In costa rica  people don't have alot of money and walk or ride bicycles everywhere so passed many of them as we drove along.  The bus driver is one with the horn as he drives he gives different toots of the horn to let other people know he is there and what he is doing.  If in costa rica remember pedestrians do not have the right of way and stop lights are merely suggestions!

Ok, well we traveled for a bit and it was probably about 11 in the morning and we arrive at this canal system where there are boats that will take us the rest of the way to Laguna Lodge where we will be staying for the next 3 days.  At this point we get off of bus and are told we have about 30 minutes to shop, potty, whatever and then meet at boat dock.  This place is amazing.  There are hundreds of people here from many tour copanies going to many different places.  Its like jfk for the canal system.  It is a little pricey for the stuff in the store and people are loading up on things they think they won't have at the lodge.  I think I got a snack and something to drink and used the bathroom. 

I showed up and met group at boat dock and loaded onto a small motor boat with a canopy cover that held our group of 15 and another group of 15 and our guides.  We were told to wear our life jackets but most did not.  I did.  We started out through the series of canals that would take us to Laguna Lodge.  It took us about an hour traveling at probably 30 mph which was pretty exhilerating.  As good as most theme park rides.   We slowed down to navigate some shallow areas and give right of way to other boats.  Never figured out there system for this.  We stopped a couple times when people spotted monkeys or birds they wanted pictures of.  

We arrived safe and sound at the lodge and were welcomed with a cold fruit drink and cool clean washcloth for our bodies.  Oh so good!  We had meeting with group and were given room assignments.  Your room is very simple, no television,phone,or a.c.  but has 3 single beds and a private bathroom. very clean and sufficient.  We were told to rest or look around and our group would meet up later for a trip to a nearby town.  I tried to take a nap but the humidity was amazing and just layed there and sweated.  From about 1 in the afternoon til about 4 the humidity was bad the rest of the time was ok.  We met with our group and got into boat and went maybe a couple miles along river.   We had a couple hours to look around town but could have done it in 30 minutes.  Nice small town with a couple stores and restaurants(peoples homes).  Watched a construction crew build a house for a while while I waited which was interesting.  Boat brought us back to the lodge and we had about a half hour to do whatever before dinner.  Breakfast lunch and dinner were all provided and included and were served in the dining hut.  Excellent food and buffet style so no reason to leave hungry.  My new girl friends joined me for most meals as our rooms were next door to each others.  The rooms had chairs outside on porch so you could sit and talk or relax which we did alot of.  We ate dinner and talked for a while with new friends.  Luckily when my spanish ran out their english was good enough we could still comunicate. I found out alot about my girl friends, probably more than I needed to know. 

The next morning we set out on a jungle boat tour for a couple hours.  We had to get up early because that is when the jungle is most active.  We loaded into boat and headed out.  We had perfect weather and made our way through the maze of canals,  I  was lost most of the time but we always maageed to make our way back to the lodge.  We saw monkeys, birds, crocodiles or alligators not sure which, snakes, iguanas, etc.  .  We would take 2 seperate 2 hour rides each day for duration of trip,  Morning trip and afternoon trip.  Great fun.  In the afternoons between eating and boat trips I found pool which is very nice and worked on my tan.  They sold beer, mixed drinks, soda, and water at bars of which there were 2 of them.  The pool had a small waterfall and never seemed as busy as it should have been.  The lodge sits right on the atlantic ocean and while I haven't mentioned it yet is on a 20 mile stretch of beach that is protected for the giant green sea turtles to nest.  This is a beach that you can use during the day but is off limits to most people once the sun goes down.  Every night you can pay to go out with a guide to look for turtles that will swim up onto beach about 50 yards and dig a hole about 4 feet deep in the sand and lay about 100 eggs.  I never went out at night because every night it seemed to rain,, but  the last morning I was there I set my alarm clock for 5am and walked out onto the beach.  The sun was coming up and you could see where the previous night  the turtles had layed there eggs.  I walked along the beach for a while then spotted a baby turtle(totugita) making its way to the ocean.  I watched it for about 30 minutes but was pretty sure it wasn't going to make it.  They have many predators standing by to eat them like crabs and birds.  This was absolutely incredible to watch and something I will never forget.  

We had breakfast, packed our belongings and returned our room keys and paid our bar bills.  We loaded into boats and they returned us in reverse fashion to San jose where my girlfriends and I hopped in a cab and shared a ride  back to where I was staying. 

I would recomend this trip as it is all inclusive of meals, transportation, and lodging for $180 us  and was a great experienc.  Our guide George was amazing and I tipped him 20 us when we were done just for taking extra time with me.  No one else gave him anything and I know he really appreciated this small gesture.  Anyways, if in costa rica, go to tortuguero!

edwin_mtw_travel says:
Great place, thanks for the detailed description, I wish to visit Tortuguero soon.
Posted on: Jul 08, 2010
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photo by: mrgishi