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To access Tortuguero you either have to go by boat or plane as the area is made of jungle canals, lagoons, and dense rainforests. Most of the lodges are located along the canals and include a combination of car and boat transportation to/from San Jose.

Shuttle plus boat:

It is recommended to arrive in San Jose the day before your departure as pick up time from hotels in San Jose starts very early (usually between 6 and 7 am depending on hotel location). The journey from San Jose to Tortuguero is around 3 hours, usually on board a bus or van to one of the main docks (La Pavona - Cariari - Cano Blanco - Moin) where you board a long boat and cruise through the lush jungle waterways for approximately an hour to your final destination.

Most of the lodges located in Tortuguero are situated just outside of the main village which is within walking distance from some of the accommodations (Mawamba Lodge - 10 mins and Laguna Lodge - 30 mins). A boat ride will be necessary from other more remote lodges. There are no cars on Tortuguero and the village itself is small enough to wander around and explore on foot

Plane plus boat:

If you decide to travel by plane, this is the fastest way of getting there but this option has an additional cost. Departure times and flight operation may vary according to weather conditions. The route is operated by small planes with a capacity between 8 and 18 passengers. There is a direct flight that operates daily. Extra flights are often added in high season some of them with stops in Arenal.

Upon your arrival at the airport of Tortuguero, you will be picked up at the airstrip and then taken to the dock to board the boat to your lodge.