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Monday, March 5, 2012

Tortuga Island

This past Saturday, we went on a tour to Tortuga Island. This tour is offered by Varso Travel in conjunction with Gloria and Paul Yeatman of Retire For Less in Costa Rica.

For the very reasonable price of $64 each, an air conditioned shuttle bus picked us up in Atenas at 0700 and drove us to Puntarenas where our boat was waiting to depart at 0800. I think there were about 30 total in our group, which included Ticos, with 19 coming from Atenas. Without the shuttle bus, the price is $54 each but it was so nice not to have to drive oneself to and from Puntarenas.

Tortuga Island lies on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, in front of the Curu Wildlife Refuge and is a tropical island paradise with white sand beaches.

Our bilingual crew were great - very knowledgeable and safety conscious. We were provided with information about each of the different islands we passed, the bird and sea life we were seeing. A thrill for all was seeing pods of dolphins close by the boat, leaping out of the water and playing in the boat's wake.

Snorkeling was included with all equipment provided. The sea this day was calm and the water crystal clear. We could see multi-colored tropical fish swimming everywhere. I wish now I had tried the snorkeling but figured the ocean was no place to start - a swimming pool would be better for a first try and I want to get my own equipment. One of our crew dived and brought up different sea creatures for us to touch and look at. Of course, everything was put carefully back into the ocean.

Motored on to Tortuga Island - a stunningly beautiful setting with white sands, palm trees and turquoise waters. Our crew started preparing fruit appetizers and lunch on the beach. Water, sodas and iced tea are included. We had several hours to swim or explore the island. We were asked not to take anything - no shells, no coral - and to leave nothing behind.

We left around 3:00 pm, I think - nobody was really keeping track of the time. All too soon, our boat trip was over and we landed at the dock in Puntarenas, where our shuttle bus was waiting for the hour long drive to Atenas.

I highly recommend this tour - we had a wonderful time and I think that was the farthest south in Costa Rica that we have been so far.

Beach towel

Snorkeling 

I've never seen a starfish like this one

Swam here - so beautiful. That 4 master in the background is for hire.

Lunch - rice, salad, BBQ chicken and tortillas. Fresh fruit was served for appetizers.





4 comments:

Jen said...

Looks like a lot of fun!

Sabra said...

Nice!

SJKSKI said...

We'll definitely have to do this next time we're down. Don't need to do Manuel Antonio again - although the beaches there are quite lovely too, if you're looking for other trips to try.

Diana said...

Jen - it was great! Sabra - thanks. SJKSKI - can I take that to mean you'll be back? I'll look into Manuel Antonio.