Without a doubt, one of the most popular things to do for tourists visiting Montezuma or any of the towns nearby, is to go to Tortuga Island. Boats even travel all the way from Puntarenas.
Tortuga Island is famous for its Caribbean-like white sand beach and transparent turquoise water. Offshore is a group of rocks that’s excellent for snorkeling and scuba, even though there are loads of tourists there.
This area was a favorite of pirates, centuries ago, and Tortuga has its own pirate theme song, “Welcome to Tortuga” by Ye Banished Privateers which you can listen to here: Welcome to Tortuga. I recommend that you listen to it while you read the rest of this article. This will help you to envision Pirate Captain George Hout and his band of savage buccaneers, relaxing on Tortuga’s island beaches sipping Captain Morgan rum after sacking and burning Nicoya or some other Costa Rican town in 1687.
The name “Tortuga Island” is actually somewhat of a marketing gimmick created by a guy years back who started using the name on his fliers and started giving boat tours here. Older maps are marked correctly, with a small group of islands referred to as “Las Islas Tortugas” which means the island group is the Tortuga Islands. The two main islands are Tolinga (which is what’s now referred to as Tortuga Island, and Alcatraz Island.
The most famous resident of Tortuga Island is a friendly peccary, which is a type of wild pig. A family of them lives on the island, and this one was rejected by them when he was young, because he has a bad leg. He found his way down to the tourist beach and was adopted by the people there, and has since become a major attraction himself. Tens of thousands of people have taken their photo with him over the years. He’s very friendly, much like a dog, and is covered with thick bristles.
Unfortunately, every year brings more tourists and development to Tortuga Island, and now some genius has brought in wave runners so the tranquility is often disrupted. It used to be that nearly 100% of people loved the trip to Tortuga, but some people, hoping for a remote island experience, are returning disappointed from the throngs of tourists and noisy wave-runners. Some hotels have stopped recommending Tortuga Island to their guests. But, most people who do the Tortuga Island tour have a great time.
What to do on the Island
Rent a sea kayak
Play beach volleyball
Pet a live peccary
BBQ type restaurants on the sand
Huge gift shops in tents
Hike up the mountain and explore the trails
Swim and snorkel
My new favorite restaurant, Clandestina is not to be missed by food lovers staying anywhere near to Montezuma. Established in March 2015, Clandestina is the new kid on the block. The Oregon/Tico collaboration is a winner among locals and travelers alike, with artisan craft beers, made onsite by Butterfly Brewing Co. and delicious, exciting […]