If you’re heading to Tortuguero, you’re probably looking for remote solitude surrounded by jungle and wildlife. Getting to this unique region of Costa Rica is half the fun, and you can make it even more enjoyable by staying the night in one of the area’s boutique hotels. These are a great option, as they tend to have little perks, like lush gardens, individual wooden huts, and/or upscale cuisine.

At a Glance

  Tortuga Lodge & Gardens Manatus Hotel Mawamba Lodge
Best For Upscale jungle experience Quiet tranquility Relaxed vibes

Waterfront lodge on a private nature reserve

The open-air restaurant is fine dining with a wine cellar 

Outdoor pool & sun deck on the river

Complimentary afternoon coffee & tea

Rooms sit in cabin-like clusters in the property's garden

Outdoor pool with showers overlooking the river

Private outdoor patios near the pool


Within walking distance from Tortuga Town

Outdoor pool with a bar

Extensive gardens with a waterfront terrace & hammock lounge

Creole-inspired on-site restaurant

Cons Farthest hotel from the town No nature walk included No air conditioning, outdated bathrooms
Budget Tier $$ $$ $$
Authenticity **** **** ***
Location ** *** *****
Rooms & Bathrooms **** **** ***
Other Highlights A villa option with a private pool & terrace Gourmet restaurant with a la carte options Enjoy a "floating meal" on the river

Tortuga Lodge & Gardens

The views from the rooms at Tortuga Lodge (photo courtesy of Tortuga Lodge & Gardens)

Although a remote area, you can still get a bit of upscale luxury with Tortuga Lodge & Gardens. Set between two lagoons, the property features 29 rooms (some with air conditioning) lining the shores and grounds, including a private nature reserve sprawling over 70 acres. As you near Tortuga Lodge, you can't miss the colorful, Victorian-style, two-story room blocks with balconies and wraparound porches.

You'll have your choice of standard rooms, suites, and an exclusive villa. Standard rooms and suites sit on the river's edge, and all units have pillow-top beds, private patios or balconies, views of the lagoon, and screened windows (so you can enjoy the Caribbean breeze and sounds of the jungle). If you choose the standalone villa, you'll have a private entrance, waterfront terrace, and plunge pool all to yourself. 

The main highlight of the lodge is its fantastic Green Turtle Restaurant, an open-air, fine-dining eatery overlooking the river, serving modern Costa Rican Caribbean dishes via exclusive chefs. So, although you're in the middle of the remote jungle, your taste buds can still delight in local ingredients, producing elevated versions of traditional Costa Rican, Caribbean, and African dishes. Most accommodations in the area serve standard buffets, so this exceptional restaurant (along with the property's wine cellar) is a unique amenity.

Tortuga uses local producers to source about 50% of its food, so you know you're eating and drinking well. You can even request a cooking class with the chef to learn more about the Caribbean cooking style in the area. Other lodge highlights include an all-day coffee station, 70 acres of wilderness with outdoor walking paths, and an outdoor pool.

Read kimkim's review of Tortuga Lodge & Gardens

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Manatus Hotel

Warm, bright, and colorful rooms at Manatus (photo courtesy of Manatus Hotel)

Manatus Hotel is a mid-range property on the peninsula between the Tortuguero's two lagoons. A tranquil experience, Manatus only has 12 units, each within clusters of four cabins sitting in the forest and back from the water's edge. Instead of wooden huts or room blocks, the hotel has quaint cabin-like houses with modern and comfortable amenities. Enjoy wooden floors, beds, decor, and high-beamed ceilings. A perk for some, the entire property is air-conditioned (so keep in mind that you can't open the windows for that Caribbean breeze) using an efficient cooling system.

Although the rooms aren't waterfront and don't offer lagoon views, you can still enjoy the beautiful canal from common areas, like the outdoor swimming pool and open-air restaurant, Ara Macaw. The restaurant cooks meals a la carte rather than just serving a buffet, which is unique to the area. The menu features Afro-Caribbean fusion food plus different international cuisines. 

As the name suggests, Manatus Hotel also promotes the protection of endangered manatees in the region through a signature program.

Read kimkim's review of Manatus Hotel

Mawamba Lodge

The outdoor pool at Mawamba Lodge (photo courtesy of Mawamba Lodge)

Mawamba Lodge contains 60 rooms across sprawling gardens extending from Tortuguero's lagoon to the Caribbean Sea. Wooden lodges feature porches with hammocks, trendy wooden accents, and plushy king, queen, or single beds (depending on room choice). Enjoy the Caribbean breeze through the netted windows, but keep in mind that only some rooms have views of the lagoons, and the bathrooms feel a bit dated.

The grounds include an outdoor pool area and a buffet restaurant serving Creole-inspired cuisine. If you're looking for a unique highlight to make your stay in Tortuguero extra memorable, you can dine at the lodge's "floating" restaurant. Book a table in advance to enjoy your dinner while drifting on the lagoon!

There's plenty to enjoy at Mawamba Lodge. Still, one of the property's biggest perks is its proximity to Tortuguero Town and the Sea Turtle Conservancy Museum (just a 15- to 20-minute walk). It's also accessible to the beach, which you can visit with a guide to watch the turtles hatch during the hatching season. Most area accommodations require a boat ride to get to town, so this is definitely a highlight.

Read kimkim's review of Mawamba Lodge


Map of The 3 Best Boutique Hotels in Tortuguero
Map of The 3 Best Boutique Hotels in Tortuguero