Another Lifetime Memory

Just you and your partner, your family, or a small group you assemble no larger than 8 people - along with our expert guide - will discover a turtle coming out of the ocean.
You'll sit with her as she digs her nest, lays her eggs, and returns to the ocean. It's a fascinating part of her lifetime adventure described below...

Why your Private Turtle Nesting Expedition
will be so unforgettable

Many years ago, she broke out of her egg, climbed up through the warm sand, and stumbled down to the ocean shore – through a gauntlet of predators.  Perseverance was the first chapter of her life.
She is the one in 10,000 who survived.
She roamed for all those years through thousands of miles of ocean.  Now she’s big, protected by her big shell and a long life of adventures that made her strong and safe. You too have been roaming the ocean of your life adventures.


At this moment, you and she will meet and perhaps look into each others’ eyes.  Those who have had the privilege say they see a unique expression of safety, serenity, and wisdom.  Others look in those wise old eyes and feel blessed.  No one ever forgets the experience.
Amazingly, through her ability to sense the earth’s magnetic field, she has returned to the very beach where she was born 30 years ago. She’ll emerge from the ocean, dig her nest, lay her eggs, and return to the infinite ocean. 
The cycle of life has begun anew. And you will be there.
For her species, it’s been going on for 11 million years.  100s of thousands of generations of her relatives all had to survive to bring her to this place.
You will be there at the perfect time, at the perfect place, on that isolated beach, to meet her and grasp something about eternity.

An evening of spontaneous adventures

You’ll depart Tortuga Lodge at approximately 5:00 PM.  Come dressed in dark clothing so as not to be visible when walking the beach searching for a nesting turtle.
Your guide will take you south towards the Jaloba Ranger Station for Tortuguero National Park. On the way your guide will stop so you can take in the sights – as many creatures make their way to their homes for the night and others begin to wake and forage. As you arrive at the Jaloba Station, your staff has prepared a barbecue on the  bank  of the Jaloba River. An elegant living room awaits right on the  grass.  You can  share a bottle of champagne or the drinks of your choice with hors d'oeuvres.  Linger as long as your group likes.


Your dinner table is ready, with an elegant table setting and candles. We light the path to your table with torches.  The elegance of the dinner is in contrast to the remote location.  You just don’t think you’re going to experience something that grand.
Your staff members are dedicated exclusively to you. When you’re ready, dinner will be served, on the banks of the Jaloba River, surrounded by the tropical rainforest.
A special dessert and a snifter of brandy or an after dinner drink that you love closes this dinner celebration, but feel free to sit and talk or just listen to the sounds of the forest at night.
Before dinner, and during your walk, are good times to learn more from your guide.  They love to share, if you encourage them to do so.  If you like, invite your guide to join you during dinner, and learn even more.
Here’s the menu that our Executive Chef, Valentin Corral, will prepare for your private group...

Your Turtle Celebration Barbeque Dinner Menu



Mixed green salad and mozzarella dressed with basil infused olive oil.
Pita chips served with a tuna jalapeño spread.

From the Grill
Oriental styled Chicken skewers
Grilled vegetable skewers
Beef Skewers, marinated in Ginger and coconut
Shrimp skewers served with a hot and sour sauce

Baked potatoes with fresh sour cream
Grilled yucca and corn on the cob
Sweet potato purée
Sautéed fresh vegetables with garlic

Tasters menu of 3 local seasonal desserts.

Red & White wine
Local beer
Natural juices and soft drinks
Brandy and after dinner drinks

After dinner, finding your turtle

After dinner, your private guide will take you on a 10 minute boat ride to the mouth of the Jaloba River where you will disembark and begin to walk the beach.
He will first ask you to stand still and close your eyes for several minutes, when you open them again, your eyes will have gotten used to the darkness and you will be ready to begin your walk.  That is very important because flashlights scare the turtles and are not allowed.


While our primary objective is to witness the nesting process of the Atlantic Green Sea Turtle, you will also have the opportunity to observe the stars in the Caribbean sky, the bioluminescence on the waves, and if you’re really lucky you may see a sign of jaguar coming to the beach in search of turtle as well. It’s not unusual to find their tracks in the sand.  (Yes, it’s safe.)
Once you or your guide spots our leading lady coming up to lay her eggs, you will wait on the beach waiting for her to find a spot that has just the right location and texture of sand. When she is satisfied, she will begin to dig and when her nest cavity has reached the depth she requires she will begin to lay her eggs.  It is not until the laying of her eggs has begun that you will be able to approach her.  At that point she enters a trance and is no longer disturbed by anything. Quietly you will kneel near her and observe this inspiring process.
Once she is done, she will slowly and tiredly begin to cover up and compact her nest.  She will then turn and laboriously make her way back to the ocean.
Your little private group can stay on the beach as long as you like.  You might want to watch another turtle.  You can  take in more experiences…
You’ll experience the turtles on the deserted beach, the night, the stars, the tracks of other forest creatures that came to hunt turtles, and the luminescence of the waves. You may pinch yourself to make sure it’s not a dream.
You might get back to the lodge around midnight.

Private turtle expedition cost

The price per person for the expedition includes the guide for your small private group, and the Turtle Celebration Banquet.  Price depends on number in your small group.
2 people    =   $395 each       For children 17 or less
3 people    =   $310 each       subtract $50 each.
4 people    =   $255 each
5 or more   =   $225 each
Maximum of 8 people in your group.

Reserve right away because...

If you would like to experience this Private Turtle Nesting Expedition which includes the elegant Turtle Celebration Barbeque dinner be sure to reserve right away for your small private group of your husband/wife/family/friends.
If you’re enjoying some other people at the lodge and want to include them in your private expedition, we welcome that, so long as your total group is no more than 8 people.
We can only offer one expedition per night for one private group of up to 8 people.  Make reservations at the front desk of Tortuga Lodge on a first come first served basis.

The low cost “Standard” Turtle Tour

There are many disadvantages (listed below) of the Standard Tour.  So why do we offer it at all?
We can only offer the Private Expedition to one group each day.  Hopefully, you will reserve fast enough to be included during your stay. 
If you don’t reserve fast enough to get in on the Private Expedition, we want you to have a fall-back opportunity, since seeing a nesting turtle at all is such a special experience.
You may already have the $29/person Standard Turtle Tour included in your itinerary, and when you upgrade to the Private Turtle Expedition, we’ll credit you.
The only advantage of the Standard Turtle Tour is extremely low cost.
But there are all the following disadvantages…

The disadvantages of the Standard Turtle Tour

  1. Instead of your private group of up to only 8 people gathered around the turtle, you’ll be with a group of up to 50 people.
  2. Only on a Private Expedition will each person be able to have an up close and personal connection.  That makes for an intense, memorable experience you can’t get from a picture, a video, or the standard large group tour.
  3. Only your Private Turtle Nesting Expedition group takes a 10 minute boat ride to an isolated stretch of sand that you’ll have virtually to yourselves.  That’s far more conducive to seeing turtles and their entire experience.
  4. Also, the elegant Turtle Celebration Dinner is not included in the Standard Tour.

How the Standard Turtle Tour assembles...

Groups of up to 10 people gather at a dispatching point within 15 minutes of the hotel, and wait their turn for a tracker who is on the beach with a radio to report a turtle.
Then up to five groups (of up to 10 per group) are dispatched per turtle.
As soon as the nesting is over, groups must leave the beach to make way for the next group.  There are 2 sessions per night assigned by the park service: 8pm to 10 pm, and 10pm to midnight.  Participants cannot choose their session.
Participants who have not seen a turtle by the end of their session have to wait until the next night to try again.

Therefore, our recommendation is...

If you can get a reservation for the new Private Turtle Nesting Expedition instead, we recommend you do so.  It’s in another league.  The deeper first hand experience and lifetime memories are worth it.
This opportunity is limited to a very few people in Costa Rica – locals and travelers “in the know.”
But do go on one of the Turtle Adventures for sure.
Make reservations at the front desk of Tortuga Lodge or through your travel planner if you haven't yet arrived -- all on a first come first served basis

Additional Intriguing facts about sea turtles

  1. A Giant Sea Turtle routinely dives for about 5 minutes and surfaces to breath for only 3 seconds.  She can dive up to 4,000 feet.
  2. She can rest or sleep underwater for several hours.
  3. She navigates by the earth’s magnetic field, and travels thousands of miles in open ocean.
  4. After some 30 years of maturing, she usually returns to the same beach where she was born, to lay up to hundreds of eggs.  And from then on, she comes back to do it every few years.
  5. Amazingly, the gender of the hatchlings depend on the temperature of the sand.  Hatchlings find the beach by going toward the brightest horizon.
  6. All species of sea turtles are threatened or endangered.

After your Private Turtle Nesting Expedition, she’ll be back in the infinite ocean.  As you drift off to sleep after your intimate encounter with her, perhaps you’ll wonder where she is now, and what she’s doing.