We booked the Tortuga Island Snorkeling Adventure through Zuma Tours for $60 USD. Snorkeling at two locations, equipment, fruit and beer on the boat to and from the island, and lunch are included. After breakfast at La Delicias Soda, we walk to the grocery store. Meeting the rest of our G Adventures group on the beach, we wait for our boat to arrive.
During our 45 minute ride to the island, we visit 2 areas to snorkel along the volcanic reefs.
Arriving at our first snorkeling location, we grab our gear and jump into the ocean. Our stop allows enough time to swim around the large rocky island
At our second location the visibility is low due to last night’s storm, but we still are able to see marine life swimming along the reef. Climbing aboard the boat, we grab an Imperial and enjoy the rest of the ride to Isla Tortuga located in the Southeastern Gulf of the Nicoya Peninsula.
Chairs and picnic tables line the beach. A small souvenir shop, beach bar, pavilions, and two bathrooms charging a fifty Colones entrance fee appear to be the only buildings on this section of the island. We meet at our group’s picnic table and enjoy a delicious lunch of grilled chicken and fish, vegetables, and potatoes.
Tortuga’s Eco Tour
- Point #2 Monkey Ladder, the most common vine in a dry forest used to cure diabetes (right) on Tortuga’s Eco Tour, Isla Tortuga.
Passing a couple of heavily feathered chickens milling around, we enter the gift shop and inquire about an overlook mentioned on the boat. After paying a man $5 USD each, we are handed a guide of Tortuga’s Eco Tour with 27 ecosystem points. We are directed to the trail entrance behind the gift shop. Walking through an opening between the weeds, we begin following a leaf covered trail. Quickly we encounter point number 1 and 2.
- Point #4 Caimito produces a milky sap that causes irritation. (left) Point #5 Guayaba and #6 Guanabana are frequently used in smoothies, ice cream, jams and juices (right) on Tortuga’s Eco Tour, Isla Tortuga.
Walking ahead of Mitch, I spot an armadillo crossing the trail. He arrives just in time before it burrows beneath a tree.
As we approach point 26, the bright ocean water peeks through a screen of branches.
- 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. This view made it worth the hike through the forest.
Finishing the tour, we order drinks from the small bar and relax on the beach before boarding the boat to Montezuma.
Traveling Gingerbread Note: Overall, we are 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, tourist 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 trees and a leaf covered path.
* For more information on our tour check out: G Adventures Costa Rica on a Shoestring.
- Day 1: Fly into San José
- Day 2: San José travel to La Fortuna
- Day 3: La Fortuna
- Day 4: La Fortuna travel to Montezuma
- Day 5: Montezuma
- Day 6: Montezuma
- Day 7: Montezuma travel to San José
- Day 8: Fly out of San José