Costa Rica is a great family travel destination for many reasons – There are diverse regions that can appeal to a wide variety of travelers – Beach? Check. Rain forest and wild life? Check. Adventure? Check. Volcano? Got that too.
The hardest part is deciding where you want to go in this Central America country… most people visit a few places for a few days each to encounter all Costa Rica has to offer.
Another bright spot here when bringing kids is that the tap water is clean, and the local food can be eaten without serious stomach problems… and the country is generally safe. A potential negative: You have to buy airfare.
So that being said, I wanted to share with you what seems to be a reasonably priced, yet totally enchanting lodge in the Costa Rica jungle. I’ve heard about it a few times lately with great reviews. It is the Tortuga Lodge and Gardens.
Tortuga Lodge & Gardens is a small hotel situated on 146 acres of private land on Costa Rica’s northeast Caribbean coast…surrounded by rivers, which is part of the charm – no roads. . Tortuguero National Park is a 20 minute boat ride away. Prepare to spend a lot of time on the water actually – there is a lot of exploring to be done on its back water creeks and lagoons with a Tortuguero Naturalist Guide.
Tortuguero National Park is an exciting place – At 51,870 acres, it is one of the most biologically rich and last large areas of tropical rain forests in Central America.
Among the wild-life you may encounter and your kids will love are three species of monkeys (spider, howler, and white-faced), three-toed sloths, river otters, caimans, iguanas,river turtles, basilisk lizards, poison dart frogs, as well as more than 320 species of birds.
Some of the coolest activities available to you at the Tortuga Lodge (for a price) are turtle expeditions. The eco-lodge is located near a major nesting area of the Atlantic Green sea turtle, so there are opportunities to up close to these reptiles. If you’ve never seen these beautiful (and large!) creatures before, the really are a sight to behold on the sand, with the moonlit sparkling water nearby. One of the outings you can pay for is an outdoor dinner under the stars, and afterward a walk on a secluded beach to observe the nesting of these interesting creatures.
Beyond normal travel activities, the lodge offers it’s guests a unique opportunity: to volunteer in the immediate community. Guests can get to know some local children and speak English with them to help them learn the language. It doesn’t cost anything and transportation is provided in exchange for your time. I will say from my travels that getting to experience authentic life in a destination always makes it richer… and this is a chance to give back – Jackpot.
The lodge is NOT a slick, fancy resort… it is basic, but reportedly feels more authentic, while also clean and spacious.
One of the best features in my opinion is the deck off of the main dining room, so you can take a meal there overlooking the river and forest.. or just sit and enjoy. The setting is magical.
Remember – Costa Rica is quite rainy all year long so pack a rain poncho for those unexpected storms.
Good news – it is pretty affordable for the average budget – Room rates at Tortuga start at $178 for a double; $278 for the penthouse… BONUS Kids ages 0-5 eat free, ages 6-10 receive a 50% discount, ages 11 and older pay full price.
Special packages are also offered on the website, so be sure to check.