Tortuga Island - More Than Just A Tropical Beach

A boat tour to Tortuga Island was a surprise I prepared for my significant other at the end of our trip to Costa Rica. Tortuga Island is pe...

A boat tour to Tortuga Island was a surprise I prepared for my significant other at the end of our trip to Costa Rica. Tortuga Island is perfectly nested in the southern part of the Gulf of Nicoya where it almost meets the Pacific Ocean.

Being a tiny country comparing to Canada or the United States, Costa Rica has so many natural treasures though. As much as I love planning my trips, it was not an easy task to pick places to visit in this beautiful country. You can easily spend a year there travelling, but there still will be places in your bucket list yet to be explored. And Tortuga Island is one of those nice hidden gems not to be missed.
Among a few available options to get to the island, I think I've chosen the best one - with Bahia Rica. The boat ride is only about 20 minutes from a private beach near Parquera on Nicoya Peninsula and the price is very reasonable. On the way to Tortuga Island, we made a quick stop at a tiny island inhabited by spider monkeys.  
This island is so small, it's not even on Google Maps. There are about 20 monkeys living on the island - just enough to survive and to allow other living organisms such as plants and animals to co-exist in the harmony with nature. 
When we arrived, our tour guide made a loud sound (like a howl), and the monkeys started to come down from the tree tops. They knew that we brought some fruits for them, especially a sweet papaya. 
A baby monkey uses his tail to buckle up to his mother.
After about 10 minutes spent with these cute spider monkeys, we continue on our trip toward Tortuga Island.
About a half mile (0.8 km) offshore the island, there is a really nice snorkeling site near the big volcanic rock. We came early, before the majority of other boats did, so we almost had the site for ourselves.
We spotted many different types of fish including king angelfish, regal tang, clown fish and others.
Although Tortuga Island is owned by the state, it's in the long-term lease to a Costa Rican family that has been running the business on the island for many years as well as protecting and restoring its flora.   
'Tortuga' is translated from Spanish as 'turtle'.
The white-sand beach stretches for approximately 600 ft (200 m). Out of the things you may do on the island, you can play a beach volleyball and rent a kayak here. 
There is a small souvenir shop at the island with a couple of scarlet macaws waiting outside.
While you're enjoying the beach, your lunch is being prepared (included in the price). 
Appetizer with fresh oysters.
Additionally, you can even buy fresh lobster tails.
For extra fee ($5), you can take a self-guided eco-tour on the island. It includes a hiking trail (about 0.6 miles/1 km long, loop) and the information booklet.  
The trail is well maintained and has number signs, so you can read the information corresponding to each number sign from the booklet.  
It is a tropical dry forest with high temperatures and very low precipitation. 
The highest point on the island is at 564 ft (172 m) above sea level. From there you can overlook the gorgeous Pacific Ocean and Curu National Park (located on the mainland). 
Most of the plans in the dry forest loose their leaves during the dry season to conserve energy. 
The freshwater resources on the island are very scarce. Unlike in a rain forest, it was very hot in here.
Alcatraz Island across the strait. 
You can tell the water is shallow by its turquoise color. 
The beach as seen from the top.
Although we spend a full day on the island, we didn't want to leave. But the sun sets earlier in December, so by 3:30 pm we were back to the boat. 

My other posts from Costa Rica:
Pure Life in Costa Rica
Manuel Antonio National Park - A Paradise on the Pacific Coast
Poás Volcano National Park
Scarlet Macaws in Carara National Park
Hiking in Arenal Volcano National Park
2-in-1: Zoo and Nature Park in Costa Rica
Tenorio Volcano and Celeste River
Monteverde Cloud Forest

You Might Also Like