Best things to do on Tortuga Island, Costa Rica

By pauline June 4, 2020 Costa Rica

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Despite its small size, Isla Tortuga has a lot to offer to nature lovers and curious adventurers. Plenty of things to do on Tortuga Island Costa Rica await you.

Tortuga Island is more of a place to tour around rather than to stay in.

One full day on the island promises an adventure full of water sports, delicious food and curious finds.

Where is Tortuga Island Costa Rica

Tortuga Island is located in the southeastern part of the Nicoya Peninsula in the province of Puntarenas.

It is also called Isla Tortuga Costa Rica. Its name translates to Turtle Island in English.

Best things to do on Tortuga Island, Costa Rica

1. Enjoy scuba diving

Diving at Rosario Island Nationalpark

Tortuga Island is home to three scuba diving sites that feature awe-inspiring shipwrecks and rich marine life.

The dive areas in the island are for beginners and advanced divers alike.

Coast guard ships that sank deep into the ocean make for a special playground for explorers to tour around in.

The Franklin Chang Wreck is 95 feet long and was sunk to become an artificial reef for marine animals.

The Coronel Alfonso Monge, on the other hand, lies a few meters beneath the surface for certified divers to explore. 

Some of the fish species that you will find within the waters of Tortuga Island include sting rays, manta rays and dolphins.

Some tropical fishes and white tip reef sharks can be found within the Caroline Star shipwreck which lies further beneath the waters.

2. Go swimming and snorkeling

If scuba diving proves to be too challenging for you, you can opt to swim and snorkel within Tortuga Costa Rica instead.

The white sand beach on the island is the perfect location for your own tropical adventure. 

Even in the absence of coral reefs in areas that are near the shore, you can still find different fish species that swim around and add dashes of color to the bright blue waters.

Some of the common sightings here when you swim include yellowtail, parrotfish and angelfish.

In your Isla Tortuga snorkeling experience, you will also find different kinds of seahorses, octopus and eel that call the coast their habitat.

If you want to venture forth, hire a boat and an experienced guide who will show you great spots to snorkel.

The island’s outer reefs are where you will find the well-loved sea turtles.

3. Try sea kayaking

Best Costa Rica Kayaking Tours1

We already know that kayaking is a relaxing activity to do, especially if you are gliding through a series of canals that get you up close and personal with wildlife that live in mangroves and lakes.

How about taking it up a notch and testing your kayak skills out in the sea?

Sea kayaking is among the ultimate things to do on Tortuga Island Costa Rica.

Rent a long range sea kayak, gear up and get ready to paddle to the direction of the sun.

This activity proves to be more challenging compared to leisure boating, so it is essential that you get an experienced kayaking guide to come with you for the whole duration of the activity.

Your guide will give you an important briefing about safety and security measures when taking part in this activity.

Afterwards, you are permitted to break away and enjoy the stunning scenery that is reserved for those courageous enough to paddle out.

4. Eat barbeque along the beach

Isla Tortuga provides a scenic dining area for those looking to have a feast by the beach.

Many eateries and restaurants will have sumptuous grilled items in their menu, and we suggest you dig in.

Seafoods are guaranteed fresh and meats are cooked to perfection.

Enjoy some serving of barbecue and other grilled items as you enjoy a quiet afternoon on the sand, waiting for the sun to set, or catching a breather after a challenging water activity.

Many – if not all – tours that take you around Tortuga Costa Rica will have a feast of grilled barbecue, seafood dishes and fruits in season to offer in between dives.

The tropical setting of the island makes every dining experience extra special in all levels.

A beautiful view of Tortuga Island from the to
A beautiful view of Tortuga Island from the top

5. Go hiking

Tortuga Island is not all about playing on the sand and diving in the waters.

You can hike the forested hills that are on the island. They are home to different wildlife species that Costa Rica is well known for. 

As you hike through the jungles of Tortuga Island Costa Rica, be on the lookout for a peccary (or two) to show up and interact.

Once you reach the summit, you will enjoy breathtaking views that can only be seen from such a high vantage point – like where the blue sky meets the equally blue ocean.

If you want an even challenging adventure, travel to the nearby Curú Wildlife Refuge.

Hike through the tropical rainforests and see an even more diverse flora and fauna.

Choose from the 17 trails that will take you to the natural habitats of animals such as armadillos, monkeys and even white-tailed deer. 

6. Shop for souvenirs

If you are done with your ultimate Isla Tortuga tour, it is time to shop for souvenirs, trinkets, and other memorabilia that will remind you of your good times on the island.

Right along the shores, you can find several souvenir shops that sell locally made handicrafts and small items which you can take on your trip home.

These souvenir shops are not just worth your visit before you go home, though.

Once you reach Tortuga Island, you shall see that they will become your lifesavers when it comes to Wifi access, locks, snacks, and beverages – just about anything you might need to make your stay on the island extra comfortable!

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