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.
- 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.
- Chairs and picnic tables line the beach. A small souvenir shop, beach bar, pavilions, and 2 bathrooms charging a 50 Colones entrance fee are the only buildings on this section of the island. Lunch of grilled chicken and fish, vegetables, and potatoes is served at the picnic table area.
Tortuga’s Eco Tour
- Maps for Tortuga’s Eco Tour can 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 the opening in the weeds behind the gift shop.
- Point #2 is Monkey Ladder, the most common vine in a dry forest and used in curing diabetes.
- Point #4 is Caimito, a plant that produces a milky sap that causes irritation.
- Points #5 Guayaba and #6 Guanabana are frequently used in smoothies, ice cream, jams and juices.
- 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.
- 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.
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 a little more of the island, but other than point 26 there wasn’t much to see except vegetation and a leaf covered path.
* For more information on our tour check out: G Adventures Costa Rica on a Shoestring.