Kayak tortuguero: THE TOP 5 Tortuguero Kayaking Trips (w/Prices)

THE TOP 5 Tortuguero Kayaking Trips (w/Prices)

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Likely to Sell Out

Based on our booking data and information from the provider from the past 30 days, this experience is likely to sell out through Viator.

Tortuguero Adventures

The ParkTurtles and TortugueroThe PeopleTortuguero Now

TORTUGUERO National Park

This national park is located 50 Km (31.1 Miles) from Puerto Moín in Limon, and 30 Km. (18.6 Miles) from the town of Guapiles.

It is the third most visited national park in the country, and has one of the most internationally renowned wetland regions, named RAMSAR. This park is part of the Tortuguero Area of Conservation (ACTo), and has an area of about 3000 km2 (300000 hectares) that is spread throughout the cantons of Pococi, Guacimo and part of Sarapiqui.

The park, as said before, is composed of around 26,156 ha of land and 50,160 ha of sea space. The region has a great deal of biological diversity. Among the region you can find flooded Woods and swamps: both regions with high humidity and animal species on great worth.
This area possesses canals and lagoons that go from the Northeast to the Southeast. These canals and lagoons are the hábitats for species like Manatees, crocodiles –easy to spot along the shores and waters of the canals, tropical gars –known to be “living fossils”, and birds like blue garzóns –the largest garzóns of the region, Northern Jacanas, and Great Curassows. There is also a large population of sea turtles that come to the region to lay their eggs.
There are a total of 57 species of amphibians, and 111 species of reptiles. Tortuguero also gives home to 60 species of mammals and 30 species of freshwater fish.


The first inhabitants of Tortuguero were considerably similar to the Mayas of Mexico. They would live in this region, hunting, fowling, and fishing to survive. These first people would also slay and eat sea turtles that would come to nest in the area, cultivate roots like yuca, and harvest peach palm fruits, which were abundant in the region.

These first inhabitants would build spacious cone-shaped sheds with hay and palm leaf roof. These first houses would have enough shelter for two or three whole families.

In Costa Rica, the Northern coast of the Atlantic was part of the Great Mayan Route of Commerce that went from Mexico to nearly all the regions of Central America.

The Mayan Emperor sent out an exploration party to Nicaragua and Costa Rica to search for gold. Gold, an important metal to the Mayas for its luster and religous meaning, was found all throughout Mexico. Some of the gold mined out from Mexico ended up here in Tortuguero, where the first people made sacred figurines and decorations out of it.

Turtles and Tortuguero:

“Tortuguero” or “Turtle Bougue” means “land of the Turtles”, and was named this way because of hundreds of Turtles that would come –and still come- to the region to lay eggs.

Green turtles have always been an important source of protein for the coastal people of this region. Long ago, green turtle meat and shells were also important trading goods in and out of the country.

During the Pre-Columbian era, the natives of this region would eat turtle meat and would use their fat as lard. After the XVIIIth century, merchant fleets would stop by Tortuguero regularly to fish before returning home.

Turtles were important in during this time because they were sources of food for long-term voyages. Turtle meat was durable as long as it was kept out of the sun and in a moist environment.

To satisfy American and European demand, turtle hunting increased and got to the peak of its productivity in the mid XXth century. Turtles that would go to Tortugero to nest were quickly and systematically killed for their goods.

The habit of hunting and extracting turtles in Tortuguero nearly lead to their complete extinction. Near the year 1960 the hunting of turtles ceased, as it became illegal under the Costa Rican Laws of Conservation.

Nowadays, the locals are allowed to capture and kill two turtles per week during their nesting season. It is through this sort of regulations that locals are still given the permission to eat what they would typically while the turtles are protected.

Tortuguero’s People

Aside the fact that Tortuguero is a distant, isolated region, it has provided a decent, easygoing lifestyle for its locals. It is thanks to this that most locals have desired to stay in this tropical paradise.

In the past, and before the main canals were built, people would live in small, single story houses –some of which are still lived in today! During the time of when there was a lumber mill running nearby, some built two story buildings out of rough, poorly sanded wooden planks that would come from this mill.

During the time when Tortuguero had a lumber mill, all the locals of Tortuguero would work long hours cutting wood and dragging it to the mil. Their shifts would start at 4:00 a.m. when the women of the town would prepare breakfast for the men that would go off to labor. These men would work until 7:00 p.m. when they would return from their jobs weary and worn.

In the weekends, all the locals of the town would come together to party and dance. They would play instruments day and night, turning to tin cans filled with grain and combs wrapped with paper for music when instruments like the guitar and drums would fail.

During the “lumbering era” of Tortuguero, it wasn’t always possible to get medical help in the town. When it was impossible to find help in the city, they would have to use traditional remedies. Local cures for snake bites and mechete cuts were found in town during this time. The locals believed in their medicinal practices, telling foreingers that they could heal anything.

When the lumbering factory went bankrupt, the families in Tortuguero went back to thier traditional way of life; fishing sábalo, snook, snapper, sea bass and crappie, and hunting White-faced monkeys, lowland paca, and manatees. They also kept a few cows and pigs as livestock, and started to harvest yucca, name, and Creole bananas in small openings in the forest.

To earn Money, the people of Tortuguero would harvest coconuts, cultivate rice, and hunt crocodiles, caimans, and wildcats to obtain their skins and meat. The people of Tortuguero also turned to turtle hunting once more.

Tortuguero Now

With the last lumber mill being shut down in 1972, the population dwindled down to a few hundred inhabitants. Only the oldest families of Tortuguero and the most recent newcomers would stay.

The town went back to its old ways. Some of the most passionate lumberers would continue to cut wood along the canals of the region. They would make the fallen logs float back to the villaje, where they would make a raft out of them and would make a dangerous 80 kilometer (49.7 mile) voyage through the sea to Limón.

The construction of more canals that would connect Limón, to Tortuguero and Barra de Colorado would make progress easier in our region. Traveling through the Atlantic Ocean was far more dangerous than traveling through these new canals since the climate in the Ocean was inconsistent and hazardous. Traveling through the canals would make voyages less dangerous.

In 1972, three public telephones were put in the town, and in 1979 the government created a public transportation system that would take people out of the town two times a week. In 1972 the national park was made, and the first power generator in Tortuguero was installed in 1982.

NOWADAYS, Tortuguero has a population of approximately 1800 inhabitants. The town has all the basic services, aside an elementary school a high school, a daycare center, a health center, supermarkets, Souvenir shops, Cabins, Restaurants, a few churches, a museum (SCT), a dance club, and even Internet services! The region is visited by thousands of travelers that come with hopes of seeing a great sea turtle nesting on the shore, as well as spotting exotic birds, caimen, and even tropical gar. Travelers also wish to spot monkeys in the trees and the perfect beauty of a green macaw sitting by the great Tortuguero Lagoon!

The 10 closest hotels to

Tortuguero Airport (TTQ), Tortuguero

Lowest price at the beginning
Number of stars and price
Rating + number of reviews

Hotel Serendipity

4 stars

Hotel in Tortuguero
( 0.2 km)

Hotel Serendipity in Tortuguero provides adults-only accommodation with a garden and a terrace.




3 reviews

Price from

€ 129

per night

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Tortuga Lodge & Gardens

4 stars

Tortuguero (0.3 miles from Tortuguero Airport)

Set on a riverbank and surrounded by jungle, Tortuga Lodge & Gardens offers an outdoor pool, free Wi-Fi and a restaurant serving fusion cuisine with Caribbean flavours. All rooms have river views.
This hotel is a hidden gem! Paradise in the middle of nowhere. Definitely one of the best hotel experiences we ever had. We hope to return one day!




137 reviews

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per night

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All Rankins Eco-Lodge

Tortuguero (0.4 miles from Tortuguero Airport)

Offering an on-site restaurant, All Rankins Lodge is located in Tortuguero, within a national park. Free Wi-Fi is available in the public areas of this beachfront lodge.
One word: tranquillo
The lodge is owned by a traditional Costa Rican family.
They have a domain with little blue wooden houses. There is a swimming pool and they have a little restaurant that provides breakfast-lunch-dinner with typical Costa Rican food.
Willis is a very kind host who lives for the lifestyle of “tranquillo”. Any activity you want to do in Tortuguero and Willis will arrange it for you with a few phonecalls. This was very easy because we didn’t have to worry about arranging something with all the other tour-operators in the village. Plus, Willis tries to give you a boatride to the activity which we really appreciated.
The walk to the village from the lodge takes a 40-45 min so be prepared with a lot of water. Willis has some fixed times that he’ll be waiting at the dock (2 times in the afternoon) so you can jump in his boat if you don’t feel like it to make the walk back.
We would recommend to stay here for more than 24 hours. The vibe in the lodge is catchy and when Willis can’t arrange an activity at the “time that you wanted it” , you wouldn’t miss the opportunity to do the activity on another day.
But in the end everything always works out. We learned here to let go of the “hasty Western lifestyle” and we had the opportunity to relax and become more tranquillo. We appreciated this vibe so much and we were bummed out that our 3-day stay was over. This was one of our highlights during our vacation!



Very good

456 reviews

Price from

€ 58

per night

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Manatus Hotel

4 stars

Hotel in Tortuguero
( 0.8 km)

Offering an outdoor pool, tropical gardens and a restaurant, Manatus Hotel is located in Tortuguero. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the property. A fitness center is available on site.
We spent 2 nights here as part of our honeymoon and absolutely loved it! The staff were all excellent, so a big shout out to Jhon, Luis, Ricardo and Lecson who made us feel at home in the restaurant, and led excellent tours to view the wildlife. Would highly recommend the Manatus package as a way to explore Tortuguero!




22 reviews

Price from

€ 427

per night

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Aninga Lodge

4 stars


Tortuguero (0.7 miles from Tortuguero Airport)

Offering a garden, swimming pool and spa, Aninga Lodge is located 3.2 km from Tortuguero National Park.
looks beautiful, amazing atmosphere in the middle of the jungle, super super clean bedrooms, very welcoming staff, huge swimming pool with cocktail bar… Awesome stay !



Very good

100 reviews

Price from

€ 94

per night

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Chinitas Eco Lodge

Tortuguero (0.7 miles from Tortuguero Airport)

Featuring a restaurant, garden and lake views, Chinitas Eco Lodge is located in Tortuguero, 300 meters from Tortuguero Beach. It offers family rooms and a terrace.
This place is truly paradise! An authentic eco-lodge run by a lovely local family. This lodge is located in San Francisco which is a neighboring village, a short 5-10 minute boat ride from the main village of Tortuguero. You can take a private boat taxi or catch the local boat service for very cheap. I truly enjoyed staying in San Francisco rather than Tortuguero. The village is much more local, with very few tourists, offering a slower and more authentic local experience. Geraldo, Ana Rita, and Victor made me feel like family during my entire stay. Geraldo was a guide in this area for over 40 years and has so many lovely stories to share about his life here. Ana Rita is the master administrator and lovely matriarch of the family that can help you with booking any tours, boat transfers, or services that you require during your stay. Victor has great energy and prepared beautiful meals for me daily which were healthy, filling, and varied from day to day. I had the pleasure of staying at this beautiful lodge for 5 nights. Most people only stay in the area for 2-3 nights but I definitely recommend extending your stay because the local area and lifestyle has so much to offer. During my stay, my room was cleaned daily and the sheets were changed every other day which was a lovely addition I wasn’t expecting. Just from the property, I was able to see a variety of different wildlife passing through such as toucans, tiger herons, and a variety of other birds and frogs. I couldn’t have asked for a more amazing and tranquil experience. I hope to return once more and spend another week with this lovely family in the future.




326 reviews

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per night

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Laguna Lodge

3 stars

Tortuguero (0.7 miles from Tortuguero Airport)

This eco-touristic lodge is located in Tortuguero in the northern Caribbean of Costa Rica. The area has rivers, lakes and wetlands that shelter a lush jungle of primary forests and exotic plants.
Beautiful facilities, the breakfast was very delicious, the service was really good.


7. 7


193 reviews

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per night

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Cabanas Daneysha

Tortuguero (0.7 miles from Tortuguero Airport)

Boasting a restaurant, garden and views of lake, Cabañas Daneysha is situated in Tortuguero, a few steps from Tortuguero Beach.
Gloria and her family are extremely accommodating. The rooms and facility is extremely clean and comfortable. Quiet little town. Just taxi boat ride to the airport and Tortuguero.




54 reviews

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per night

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La Baula Lodge

2 stars

Tortuguero (2 miles from Tortuguero Airport)

La Baula Lodge is located a 3-minute boat ride from Tortuguero National Park and Tortuguero town centre.
We liked the view, the staff were very helpful & friendly and the grounds of the property surrounded by nature were very tranquile & beautiful



Very good

223 reviews

Price from

€ 99

per night

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Mawamba Lodge

4 stars

Tortuguero (1.3 miles from Tortuguero Airport)

Mawamba Lodge is nestled between the Caribbean Sea and the canals of Tortuguero National Park. The lodge can only be reached by boat or plane.
The facilities were outstanding and the location is just magical. My girlfriend and I really enjoyed our stay in Mawamba, the staff was very friendly and I really recommend this place



Very good

1,076 reviews

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per night

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See more properties near Tortuguero Airport — TTQ

Tortuguero — a real paradise on Earth • RUSS-TICO Travel

Travel to Tortuguero usually starts by bus (or plane) from the capital of Costa Rica, San Jose, and then continues by boat along the river.

Tortuguero National Park is located in the northeast of Costa Rica, in the province of Limón, four hours drive from San José, or 254 km away, next to the sandy beaches of the Caribbean coast. The bus route on the road through the highest mountainous Braulio Carillo National Park makes it possible from the very first minutes of the trip to plunge into the extraordinary world of the primeval untouched nature of the subtropics.

Tortuguero was created to protect the most important nesting site in the Western Hemisphere for endangered sea turtles such as hawksbill, loggerhead, green and leatherback. The very word «tortuguero», which gave the name of the area, the river and the park, is translated as «turtle catcher». And «tortuga» means «turtle». The park covers an area of ​​190 sq. km, stretching 22 km along the coast and 30 km deep into the Caribbean Sea and is one of the richest areas of Costa Rica in terms of flora and fauna.

Tortuguero has eleven ecosystems, including classic rainforest, swamps, sandy beaches and lagoons. Animals here are under careful supervision and protection, so they are not in danger of extinction.

The evergreen rainforest is a realm of numerous plant and animal species. Three-toed sloths, ocelots, peccaries, tapirs, three species of monkeys live here: spider monkeys, Congo howler monkeys and white-fronted capuchins. Manatees, caimans, crocodiles live in the local waters, and there are many birds in the treetops. There are 375 species of them in Tortuguero. Among them: kingfishers, toucans, urubu vulture — the orderly of the jungle, parrots, darters, white American, blue and tiger herons — this is half of the birds that live in Costa Rica.

And another 60 species of mammals, 57 species of amphibians, 111 species of reptiles. There are more than 400 species of trees and about 2,200 species of other plants in the park.

The long road does not tire at all, because there are so many interesting things along the way that you don’t even have time to capture everything on a photo or video camera. Finally, the mountain pass is overcome, the town appears …… and the Tortuguero National Park. The desired harbor is already very close. And here she is! Another 40 kilometers by motorboat along the Suerte River, when you can see some of the above living creatures, and right on the cozy pier of the Evergreen Lodge hotel, tourists are served a delicious cocktail of tropical fruits. But today’s journey is not over yet. After lunch, you can go to the village of Tortuguero, located on a narrow strip of land between the river and the sea, to admire the Caribbean, enjoy the sound of the surf, and observe the life of the local population.

The history of the village begins in 1870, when emigrants from Nicaragua and Jamaica settled in it, working on rubber clearings. Today there are more than a thousand inhabitants living in a calm and measured rhythm. Their well-being depends on tourists. Shops-workshops stretch along the embankment. It is impossible to get out of here without souvenirs.

But the highlight of a trip to Tortuguero is, of course, the sea turtle night tour / if you happen to be here during the turtle laying season. This is from July to October / And there is nothing to say about fishing. An excellent catch of khureli, guapote, pargo and macarela is guaranteed for you. No less interesting is a visit to the famous banana plantation or a hiking tour through the rainforest.

The next day, it’s a good idea to go canoeing or motor boating on artificial canals and get even closer to wildlife. Trees cross trunks and branches above the canals, forming a living corridor. You can swim very close to caimans pretending to be dead and look at them point-blank, as well as to the ankhing — an unusual bird, very similar to a stork, which catches fish by diving and stringing it on a long beak. Then, with blows on a stone or a tree, he removes it from there and, throwing it up, sends it to its destination. After such a procedure, the feathered diver sits down on a low branch and dries the spread wings.

A tiny, no more than 15-20 cm long cantile duck swims past with chicks on its back, which it manages to feed along the way. The helmeted basilisk runs amusingly on the water. And here is the royal palm tree with fruits larger than a rugby ball, and a bloody tree with red juice, and mountain almonds, listed in the Red Book of Nature. Can you list everything! Impressions are intensified even more when we find ourselves in a hotel and until dark we plunge into unimaginable sounds that merge into an exclusive chorus — something between the barking of dogs, the roar of a bull, the trills of a nightingale, the creak of a cart and the ringing of a bell.

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