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Tortuguero Report

Detroit, Michigan
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Tortuguero Report

Tortuguero report – After reading all of comments on Tortuguero I was really looking forward to visiting. Before leaving home I debated long and hard if it was worth the long trip to get there. We ended up flying from San Jose on the morning Nature Air flight which was a bargain at $40 a ticket. We loved the flight and seeing the country from above! We arrived in early December and unfortunately it RAINED – no actually POURED almost non-stop the whole time were there. I have never seen such rain in my life and I've been in Moonsoon’s in the Far East!! I knew it was the rainy season but local villagers said that the amount of rain they were experiencing was unusual. Parts of the village were partially flooded especially the front lawn of houses in the village near the National Park. I’m sure the endless rain clouded my opinion of Tortuguero. The raving reviews on Trip Advisor called it “paradise on earth” and I kept thinking I must have landed somewhere else. We stayed at Casa Marbella which was fine - clean and adequate. The breakfast was very nice. Everyone had also raved about the owner Daryl. We must have caught him on a bad day (everyone can have one of those) because he didn't interact with any of the guests and only on day two did I even realize who he was when he announced that there was a power outage on the island but luckily the guest house had a generator. We took the Casa Marbella’s morning boat nature tour with Roberto who was very nice and knowledgeable. Unfortunately we didn't see many animals apparently due to the rain. Yep – it poured then too! We walked through the National Park in rubber boots borrowed from our guest house. We really needed them. The walk was short and once again no animals due to the rain. Luckily while strolling on the beach a villager called us over to see turtles that had just hatched from their eggs making their way to sea. That was exciting and unexpected because turtle season was over. We had a nice meal at Wild Ginger. The owner couldn't have been nicer and gave us tips on how to enjoy the village. We had fabulous banana bread at Dorling’s bakery. The high point of the trip was our last morning when the sun came out for an hour enabling us to enjoy nature and paddling around in a canoe! Casa Marbella has a canoe that can be used free of charge. We left Tortuguero with a transfer to La Fortuna (cost $55). We left by boat at 9:00 a.m. and arrived at 16:30 in La Fortuna by shuttle. The boat ride out was fascinating especially knowing that this is the way natives have to leave whenever they need to go to town. Unfortunately it was pouring I mean POURING during the boat ride so it was hard to fully appreciate the ride.

I’m sure we would have had a better time if we had visited in the dry season and during turtle season.

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Tortuguero
Tortuguero
Province of Limon, Costa Rica
San Jose
San Jose
San Jose Metro, Costa Rica
Casa Marbella
Casa Marbella
578 Reviews
Tortuguero, Costa Rica
Playa Conchal...
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1. Re: Tortuguero Report

Thanks for taking the time to post your report. Glad you didn't let the rain completely ruin your trip. I thought it was a little mean to call out Daryl by name- I'm sure he was very busy coping with any number of issues that you weren't even aware of to ensure all his guests were comfortable and happy. Such is the lot of the humble inn owner!

Costa Rica
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2. Re: Tortuguero Report

I think that people have high expectations of Daryl because of the good reports about tours with him. But, as Simon wrote, he has a lot of stuff going on at any one time so needs some slack.

And yes, I agree, it was great that you managed to find some things to do -- and the baby turtles -- excellent! To me, a local person calling you over to see baby turtles just shows how much pride the people have in their turtle activities.

I live in a rainy area of the country and one of the things we talk about when I get together with one of the local hotel managers is: What can we provide for tourists to do when it is raining too hard to go out? A couple of the answers are -- a good slide show of hikes or animals with some in-depth information; a little "show and tell" by a local guide, putting out some fruits to watch the birds come to eat -- they will come even in the rain, a cooking class -- and, of course, Nerf football!

Detroit, Michigan
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3. Re: Tortuguero Report

A cooking class would be a great idea! I would have loved to learn Costa Rican cooking. I loved the local food!

Costa Rica
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4. Re: Tortuguero Report

I'm hearing a lot of movement in that direction, 33traveler. I think that Costa Ricans feel their food is not "sexy" or "special" but people do love it so I hope there will be more cooking classes. I can think of a lot of things that would go over really well, including making fresh tortillas and that famous gallo pinto among other things.

Slovenia
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for Costa Rica
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5. Re: Tortuguero Report

Tortuguero surely is no paradise when it rains. Yet on your only sunny hour it shows its potential. As per Daryl, I do share your experience ... and opinion.

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Tortuguero
Tortuguero
Province of Limon, Costa Rica
San Jose, Costa Rica
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6. Re: Tortuguero Report

Thank you nice report…

roadadvisor

Houston, Texas
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7. Re: Tortuguero Report

Thanks for your report. I just got back from Tortuguero and personally would take THIS post and add it to the one that calls Tortuguero "Paradise on Earth" and come up with something half-way in between.

It IS a long way to get there. We drove from San Jose. The directions that we read were very sketchy--things like: set your odometer to zero when you pass the Burger King..etc. All that is NOT neccessary! After you turn off of 32 onto 247 in Guapiles, there is signage that takes you all the way to the boat dock in La Pavona.

Once you're at La Pavona, I felt like you were a bit of a captured audience. The tours all cost the same amount of money. The boats are basically the same amount of money. There are very few actual unique experiences. There's the night hike, the day hike and the morning boat tour. We went on the morning canoe trip. It was nice and we saw a few birds, bats and monkeys. In total it was $20 for the tour and $15 for the National Park fee. I think the main attraction in town is turtle season. If you're in CR at that time of year, I'd definitely go!

I've been to several very remote places in my life. Tortuguero is quaint and tries to seem like it's not touristy, but I'm not sure I'd go as far as Paradise on Earth (for me, anyways.) There are no cars--that's cool. The beach is nice, but the waves are very strong. They're probably too strong for young children.

As far as rain....well, Costa Rica is a very rainy place. I would advise anyone going there to pack quick-dry clothing. There were days that we were wet and dry 3 or 4 times. You can't let the rain slow you down here! If you're bothered by rain, you may want to consider staying in one of the more posh resorts on the beach and only go out when the weather is nice.

All-in-all, I'm glad I went to Tortuguero but not sure I'd go back--unless it was turtle season.

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Tortuguero
Tortuguero
Province of Limon, Costa Rica
San Jose
San Jose
San Jose Metro, Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Central America
Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
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8. Re: Tortuguero Report

Fair enough, Dawn. For me, the only place I call "paradise on Earth" is where my family lives; all other places are nice and interesting and sometimes rough, etc etc. Too much raving about one place is never good. However, Tortuguero is a special place, and if the weather and the mood are right, it also can be a magical one. And this photo represent my idea about such magic: http://tinyurl.com/meukd7s .

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Tortuguero
Tortuguero
Province of Limon, Costa Rica
Toronto, Canada
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306 posts
23 reviews
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9. Re: Tortuguero Report

My experience last Nov was exactly the same. Same lodgings, too. I've never seen such rain and we didn't get to see any baby turtles, either, although some others did. And the blisters from the rubber boots, wow! We hiked in the park on paths covered with 5 inches of water. Wasn't much else to do. However, it was an interesting experience and I'm very glad we went. The boat ride getting there and out made it well worth it.

Barcelona
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10. Re: Tortuguero Report

Beautiful picture, Xelas. Thanks for sharing.