La Casona de Tortuguero

Once you arrive in Tortuguero, be expected to deal with people trying to sell you their cabinas, which are local lodgings that are quite similar to hostels.

Depending on how busy it is, there might be a few guides or poachers as I like to call them who will try and take you to a certain cabinas. They’re probably paid a commission based on the number of people they bring in.

Sometimes they can be helpful, but overall, I find them annoying. Personally, I like looking for lodging on my own time without being badgered or harassed by someone driven solely by money. So my suggestion would be to look around for lodging yourself. The village is quite small, the beach being only about a 5 minute walk away from the port. Just walk straight ahead from the dock, past the stores, and soccer field and you’ll hit the beach.

The village is divided into 2 main sections, the part facing north of the soccer field and the area facing south of the field.

My suggestion would be to stay at La Casona de Tortuguero, located next to the hospital, which is a huge, 1-storied pink building near the soccer field.

One of the nicest and cleanest cabinas in Tortuguero

The facilities are spotless, rooms clean, and staff friendly. A private room with private bathroom and hot water costs $20 total. Wireless is available, but sorry, no computers. No worries, though, as there is an internet cafe in the center of town.

One of the things that plagues the other cabinas in the village is dampness. The rooms feel stuffy, wet, and moldy particularly during the rainy season.

The rooms in Casona, however, did not suffer from this moldy malady, and felt well ventilated. Each room comes equipped with a celiling fan as well as a regular, plug-in fan, which also helps keep the room cool and circulated.

The manager, Sarah, runs the place with her brother, Andres, who is Casona’s main tour guide. I would highly recommend doing a canal tour with him as well.

Casonas also doubles as a restaurant and serves home-made dishes such as lasgana and pizza, as well as local Costa Rican dishes. Rooms with kitchens are also available.

Private bedroom with bathroom in Casona

San Jose

As a first-timer in Costa Rica, I was a bit overwhelmed when I arrived in San Jose. Because our bus arrived late at night, we had no choice but to check into a hotel near the bus terminal.

Located about a 10 minute walk from the main bus terminal, the Classic Hotel is a good budget hotel for the traveling backpacker.

The Hotel/Bed and Breakfast offers private rooms and a private bathroom with amenities such as free internet, breakfast, and hot water.

They also had a dorm room option for $10 a night per person. Breakfast is not included, but the rooms and bathrooms were clean. The houselady provided clean linen sheets. Fortunately, because it was October, (Off-season) we had the entire dorm room to ourselves. Not too shabby.

And although breakfast is not included in the price, you can get it for an extra $2. A nice hearty breakfast plate of rice, beans, and eggs. Plus orange juice and coffee. Not a bad deal, if you ask me.

If you are looking for a place that is simple, economic, and clean, then Classic Hotel might just be the best option.