After two visits to Tortuguero at the Laguna Lodge (2010 & 2016), I felt I needed a change or to at least see what one of the other lodges is like. After an internet search I chose Turtle Beach Lodge. Two out of a total of about 12 to 15 is not the total picture but I at least can compare these two and I like them both. Laguna is larger, housing about 300 people while Turtle Beach houses about 150, depending on how many persons to a room of course, but that is the dining room sizes. Larger is not always better. 🙂
Its been 3 years since at Laguna, but I vaguely remember their food being better or at least a lot more choices beyond the typical Tico food buffet at Turtle Beach where you get rice & beans at every meal plus “mixed vegetables” (boiled cabbage & a few other veggies) along with a change in meat from fish, chicken, pork and beef in rotation for both lunch and dinner and one little meatless pasta. Turtle’s salad bar is skimpier than Laguna’s and had more flies. So overall I remember Laguna having better food.
Housing is very similar in both with basic screened-in cabins, camp-like firm beds, and a ceiling fan plus basic bathroom. Both have a swimming pool and beach access, while Turtle also has a pool table in the bar and most of the buildings seemed newer or more modern. Both have WiFi only in the public areas (dining room, lobby, bar, etc.) They are about the same with the same tours, nature and wildlife offerings and jungle living experience. Though Turtle Beach excels on the canoe or kayak option with their private canal.
I would be hard pressed to recommend one over the other though I lean toward my most recent experience with Turtle Beach, being smaller where you get to know the staff better and I easily got a private birding tour that included the guide paddling me in a canoe while I photographed. I did not ask for that at Laguna but it is probable there too. I also like Turtle Beach’s private canal better than Laguna being on the main river. And I stayed 3 nights at Turtle Beach which really makes a difference over the one night or two night stays before! To get the most out of a place you need more time there and that is my approach everywhere now, with 6 nights more common at other lodges.
Bottom line is that Turtle Beach edges out Laguna Lodge in all but the food which was better at Laguna. Now here are a lot of shots from Turtle Beach Lodge in four slideshows by my categories:
Private Canal & Boat Dock
Art on the Grounds
The wilderness is healing, a therapy for the soul.
EXTRA NEWS ON WILDLIFE OF COSTA RICA:
A Chat with Nat Geo’s “Untamed Costa Rica” Producer
“Costa Rica has one of the few places in the world where a wild ocean and a wild forest can converge simultaneously with one another.” ~Filipe DeAndrade