Visiting Isla Tortuga
Isla Tortuga is a top destination in Costa Rica located only an hour and a half boat ride from shore of the Nicoya Peninsula. Isla Tortuga is ideal for day trips and small family excursions. The Turtle Island boasts a perfect sandy beach with palm trees and clear waters. You can relax at the beach, hike, take a canopy tour or go snorkeling / scuba diving. Staying the night is not customary but even if you want to combine several activities, you can do so in one day. Tours can be arranged from Puntarenas, Montezuma and Jaco.
Hiking and canopy tours
A hike to the summit of the island can introduce you to a wide array of wildlife from birds and insects to monkeys and peccaries. Very often the peccaries even find their way to the beach. If you are after a bigger rush, you can ride the zip line as part of a canopy tour.
If you want some relaxation before heading back to the mainland, you can rent lounge chairs and umbrellas for a small fee. You can also play beach volleyball, rent a kayak, swim, or even get a ride of a glass-bottom boat.
Snorkeling and scuba diving
One of the best parts of the island is actually under water. You can go snorkeling or scuba diving and unlike Isla del Coco, you can come here if you are not an expert (yet). Prepare to see manta rays, dolphins, octopuses and sharks. Other than stunning marine life, you can also dive to explore a touch of history. Just off the shore of Tortuga Island you can visit three shipwrecks and discover the secrets of these sunken vessels.
Visit between December and May: This is the Costa Rica dry season and your best chance for clear skies and plenty of sun.
Explore the diversity of the island: Don’t just go to Isla Tortuga to stay at the beach. Combine several activities and explore the island itself as well as its beaches. Don’t forget to try your hand at diving and spot amazing marine life as well as three sunken ships!
Choose your home base wisely: You can take your tour from various locations so make sure to take the rest of your trip into account. If you want to explore the Nicoya Peninsula more, for instance, stay at Montezuma. If you are heading to San Jose after visiting the island, Jaco and Puntarenas might be the better options. Jaco is also great for surfing!
You can’t spend the night on the island but there are plenty of day tours available from Montezuma, Puntarenas and Jaco. The boat ride will take under two hours and on the island, you can enjoy a wide variety of tours. The boat trip itself can already be a treat with a chance of seeing dolphins and whales along the way!
In Puntarenas, local cuisine can be best enjoyed at Restaurante Caballo Blanco. Make sure to try some national dishes! The local breakfast consists of Gallo Pinto, a mix of rice and beans served with eggs. For lunch, have a Casado. If you’re craving seafood or sushi in Montezuma, stop by the Ylang Ylang Restaurant. You can find vegetarian and vegan options at Puggo’s or Cafe Coyote. If you are staying at Jaco, try Soda Rustico for a traditional Costa Rican treat. If you want to eat unique and delicious tacos (with an unlimited salad bar) we highly recommend the Taco Bar.
Where to stay
Since the island doesn’t have hotels or resorts on it, you do have to stay on the mainland. If you want to stay near Montezuma, The Anamaya Yoga Center hosts a variety of guests every year from celebrities to travelers looking for peace. For a luxurious, all-inclusive vacation at Jaco beach, try Crocs Resort and Casino. If you fully intend to stay in Puntarenas, book a room at the Fiesta Resort. This 3-star all inclusive resort is set along black volcanic sand beaches and features a big pool.