Deciding where to stay in Tortuguero Costa Rica can be frustrating, since hotels are few and the rate for Tortuguero accommodations can seem impossibly high. Keep in mind, however, that stated rates include transport from San Juan (which can run as high as $120 USD), all meals, and in most cases, several outings or guided tours as well.
Once you factor in the inclusive extras, accommodations in Tortuguero Costa Rica actually run about $50 to $100 per day, which is in the low to moderate range. So don’t be put off by the numbers. All of your time will be free for exploring Tortuguero National Part and its marvelous flora and fauna, and your hotel will take care of most, if not all, of the rest.
The oldest and most expensive accommodation in Tortuguero Costa Rica is the Tortuga hotel. A multileveled deck off the main dining room provides a fantastic place to enjoy a cup of coffee or a drink at the end of the day, while you relax to the sound of water lapping at the docks. All of the rooms have been remodeled and are first rate, but the rooms on the second floor are the best. Each includes a small private veranda. The family style meals are excellent, and the grounds feature several acres of garden walkways, plus an infinity pool.
Laguna Lodge, located about a mile and a quarter north of Toruguero Village, is on the ocean side of the canal, so guests can walk along the ocean beach at their leisure. The rooms feature wooden wall, hardwood floors, tiled bathrooms, and private verandas. A large covered deck built over the water is strung with hammocks for relaxing, and the lush gardens frame a generous swimming pool with grills for guests to use. Laguna Lodge can set up any and all tours of Tortuguero National Park, so guests can make Laguna a true home base.
Mawamba Lodge, also located north of Toruguero Costa Rica on the ocean side of the canal, is similar to Laguna Lodge except the décor is Caribbean and colorful. The attraction here is the superior food, served buffet style. Lots of hammocks await the vacationing traveler on the covered decks and throughout the tropical gardens. The rates at Mawamba include a four-hour canal ride and a guided walking tour of the forest. A small gift shop, butterfly garden, and nightly slide shows about the wildlife and history of the area make Mawamba Lodge a great place for families with school children.
Pachira Lodge is comprised of four buildings set on stilts a bit off the canal into the forest. Covered walkways connect the buildings, and buffet style meals are served in a screened main dining hall. For the kids, Pachira provides a small pool in the shape of a turtle. All major tours are available.
Finally, the budget traveler can rest comfortably at Casa Marabella. This in-town house has only four rooms, but they are all clean and spacious, and owner Daryl Loth is a longtime resident of Tortuguero Costa Rica and a skilled naturalist and guide. Breakfast is included and served each morning on a veranda overlooking his private garden.