Isla Tortuga, Costa Rica, is it Worth the Visit?

Tortuga Island Costa Rica Gingy

We booked the Tortuga Island Snorkeling Adventure through Zuma Tours for $60 USD including snorkeling at 2 locations, snorkeling equipment, a boat ride with beer and snacks to and from the island, and lunch. 


rock islands near tortuga


  • During the 45 minute ride to Isla Tortuga located in the Southeastern Gulf of the Nicoya Peninsula, the boat stops at 2 snorkeling locations along the volcanic reefs. The first stop allows enough time to swim around the small rocky island. Storms may affect the visibility, but some marine life can still be seen closer to the water’s surface.

snorkeling at tortuga island costa rica

Isla Tortuga

palm trees on isla tortuga costa rica

picnic area on tortuga island costa rica

  • Chairs and picnic tables line the beach of Isla Tortuga. A small souvenir shop, beach bar, pavilions, and 2 bathrooms charging a 50 Colones entrance fee are the only buildings in this area. Lunch of grilled chicken and fish, vegetables, and potatoes is served at the picnic table area.

isla tortuga beach costa rica

hermit crab costa rica

Tortuga’s Eco Tour

Tortuga Island Eco Trail

tortuga eco tour entrance costa rica
The entrance of the Eco Tour.
  • Maps for Tortuga’s Eco Tour can be purchased in the gift shop for $5 USD. There are 27 ecosystem points along the trail. The entrance to the leaf covered trail is between an opening in the weeds behind the gift shop.

tortuga's eco trail stop 2

  • Point #2 is Monkey Ladder, the most common vine in a dry forest and used in curing diabetes.

Tortuga Eco Tour Number 4

  • Point #4 is Caimito, a plant that produces a milky sap causing irritation. 

Tortuga Island Eco Tour Number 5 and 6

  • Points #5 Guayaba and #6 Guanabana are frequently used in smoothies, ice cream, jams, and juices.

point 26 tortuga island eco trail

view from point 26 tortuga island

  • During extremely low tides it’s possible to walk across the canal from one island to the others and groups of fish can be seen swimming along the volcanic rocks.

overlook tortuga eco trail

  • The small island of Alcatraz can be seen from the lookout across from Isla Tortuga. Today Alcatraz is a national wildlife refuge. Behind Alcatraz, Curú, part of the mainland in the Nicoya Peninsula is visible. 

boat ride to tortuga island costa rica

Traveling Gingerbread Note: Overall, we were disappointed in our visit to Isla Tortuga, but enjoyed the scenic boat ride through the Nicoya Peninsula. We were only permitted to access a small fenced off, touristy area on the island. Hiking the unadvertised Tortuga Eco Trail gave us the opportunity to see more of the island, but other than point 26 there was only vegetation and a leaf covered path.

* For more information on our tour check out: G Adventures Costa Rica on a Shoestring.

April 2018

Author: The Traveling Gingerbread

The Traveling Gingerbread is a place for us to share budget travel tips for people with full time jobs, fun facts, itineraries, and where to find the best craft beer. We have been traveling together since 2013. Living and working full-time in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, we travel as much as our vacation days and finances allow. We cram each adventure with activities, tours, experiences, and local breweries. We can't walk by an Irish pub without stopping in for a pint of Guinness. In 2019, we brewed our first beer and were hooked, although, we have no intentions of brewing more than small batches. We'll continue our self appointed roles of professional testers and creating craft beer trails.

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