Tortuga Island – Nicoya Peninsula Gulf, Costa Rica – January 2015


I booked this tour through my hostel. It’s a full day tour (7am-5pm) with pick up at your hostel or hotel in the morning. The regular price is 135$ but I was able to pay 100$ through my hostel. I got pick up in Jaco and we drove to Los Suenos, a near-by beach where we checked-in for the tour. The groups then took some smaller taxi boats to get in the Pura Vida Princess, the large catamaran that was taking us to Tortuga Island.

The boat usually has about 10 crew members and 100 passengers. This time it was a small group, we were only about 35 passengers, which was actually really nice as we had more time to get to know the staff and move around the boat. We had breakfast and 2 lunches included during the day. The sailing time to Tortuga Island is about 2hrs each way, during which we had a DJ, open bar (ah!)… and some fishing. The staff sets up some fishing rods at the back of the boat, and stop to fish each time they get something! We actually fished 3 giant Mahi  Mahi during the day… and ate one of them for lunch!

Once we get to Tortuga Island, we take again some taxi boats to go on the beach. It is a really nice white sandy beach with clear blue water. We went snorkelling near a rock in the bay, had a free tour of banana boat (this is extreme sport, helmet needed and everything… basically it’s a banana-looking boat where 6-7 people sit down in a row, and we are pulled by a taxi boat… which makes a few quick turns to make us all fall in the water).

We had our first lunch on the island. There are a few tents reserved for the cruise group, as well as a section of long chairs on the beach, which is a nice little luxury for me. The staff sets up the open bar and lunch tables for us so we can eat. We were on the island from 10am to 3pm, before we headed back in the taxi boats on the cruise boat, and then back to Los Suenos. The way back was really enjoyable and we had a dancing party where we could get to know the staff better and hang out in the sun. We are also welcome back on the boat with a hamburger and fruits second lunch, and open bar of course.


I would have definitely recommend this tour as I think it is pretty good value and I had an amazing time. Unfortunately, the boat was caught in a storm 4 days after I was on it (January 8th) . A big wave hit the right side of the boat, and water got in. From the media reports, in less than a minute, the boat capped-size leaving the 100 passengers and 10 crew members in the water, about 15km from the shore. 3 tourists passed away from the accident, while all other were rescued. The boat completely sank that day. I’ve heard the news on the TV when I was still in Jaco. It was the weirdest and most heartbreaking news I’ve seen. First of all, the thought of “Oh my god. This could have been me”, but I also feel really sorry for the crew. I spent most of my cruise time with the captain (actually driving the ship!) and chatting with him about their lifestyles, job schedules depending on the season, etc. I know the next little while will be difficult for them and I hope everybody recovers well from this tragic accident.

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