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. 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.

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 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.

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 that causes 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 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.

  1. Day 1: Fly into San José
  2. Day 2: San José travel to La Fortuna
  3. Day 3: La Fortuna
  4. Day 4: La Fortuna travel to Montezuma
  5. Day 5: Montezuma
  6. Day 6: Montezuma
  7. Day 7: Montezuma travel to San José
  8. Day 8: Fly out of San José

April 2018


Author: The Traveling Gingerbread

My fiancé, Mitch, and I have been traveling together over four years. Living and working full-time in Pittsburgh, PA, we travel as much as our vacation days and finances allow. We cram each adventure with activities, tours, and experiences to maximize our time. Any time we travel, we try to visit to a local brewery and can't walk by an Irish pub without stopping in for a pint of Guinness. 
 In Tokyo, we laughed every time we saw someone talking on their large, animated phone case. We had to buy one. Having an obsolete IPhone 5, the selection was limited. We purchased a gingerbread off a neglected rack in Shinjuku, Tokyo and The Traveling Gingerbread was born. You can purchase your own adorable gingerbread friend here! The Traveling Gingerbread is an entertaining account of our travels, fun facts, and tips we learned along the way.

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