Exploring Tortuga Island

A delightful day trip: why you should visit Tortuga Island

A sensationally scenic, small island off the Costa Rican coast, just a short trip from Puntarenas, the island of Tortuga is hugely popular as a day-trip destination and, as soon as you set foot on this idyll, it’s immediately obvious why…

A piratical past

Also referred to as Tolinga, this slice of paradise is today uninhabited by humans and largely serves as a haven for wildlife and tourism interests but, once upon a time, it was – along with the neighboring Alcatraz Island – a refuge for pirates; its location proving perfect as a base for raids of mainland towns in the 17th Century. Indeed, that’s why today’s visitors may well find themselves welcomed by a local sea shanty that refers to the island’s colorfully piratical past.

Superb for scuba-diving and snorkeling

Deepening the pirate connection, scuba-diving or snorkeling off Tortuga gives you the chance to take a look at the ships that lie sunk off its coast. Needless to say, you can catch a glimpse of its diverse sea life, too, what with angelfish, manta rays, moray eels, octopus, vibrant parrot fish, and spinner dolphins to witness and/ or encounter – don’t worry; the white tip reef sharks may look fearsome but they’re rarely fierce. Plus, via Tortuga’s brilliant dive spots, visitors can explore underwater labyrinths and volcanic canyons, and rock walls. Snorkelers will find the Costa Rican climate provides great conditions all year-round, while a diver’s best bet is to book a visit in the May-to-November ‘green’ season.

Aquatic adventures

Tortuga may lay claim to glorious, calm, turquoise waters but what visitors get up to on those waters is anything but calm! How about kayaking around the island’s coast on a voyage of discovery? Or joyously splashing about on a banana boat ride? Alternatively, you may fancy a direct dip in the waters via an off-island swim or take a peek at the ocean floor and all its fascinating, diverse marine life via a group outing in a glass-bottomed boat.

Wonderful white-sand beaches

Is there anything better than whiling away a few lazy hours doing nothing much at all but catching rays on a white-sand beach? If you’re of that opinion, you’ll feel right at home on Tortuga, that’s for sure. Tranquility’s the name of the game here; the beaches are absolutely perfect for refreshing strolls to and from savory barbecues or fun games of volleyball, as well as lounging about under umbrella shades.

Step into the jungle interior

Finally, despite a deserved reputation for great beach and water activities, Tortuga’s definitely worth your time for a trip into its rainforest-covered innards. Hiking the hills of its lush foliage-fringed paths means you can catch sight of its wonderful wildlife and terrific array of tropical birds, while trekking all the way to its summit rewards you with a perfect panorama of the whole island and the sea beyond, in every direction.






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