How to get from Tortuguero to Puerto Viejo
There was not much planning in advance for the Costa Rica trip (in my first idea we were heading somewhere different 🙂 ) but I still wanted to have a rough idea of the feasibility of my “spontaneous” plans. So obviously the internet is a valuable source if you take the time, because sometimes you can also get seriously lost.
Organized shuttle transfers with an agency is not to my liking. They are surely great and offer a good service but in my opinion they take a bit of fun out of the adventure. I prefer rides on public buses and contact with the population.
I had heard of the possibility that you could go by boat from Tortuguero to Moín and then from there to Puerto Viejo by bus. However I did not find much information on the net on the boat ride from Tortuguero to Moín nor did I get answers on my enquiry from the two sites that mentioned the trip (but since I got back home I found a page for transfers on the Asoprotur, a local Tortuguero guides association).
So here is for the ones who want to do that trip, which I totally recommend. Don’t worry about reserving the boat in advance. Once in Tortuguero there are plenty of agencies who offer, among others, the boat trip from Tortuguero to Moín. Reserve the day before and from what I have seen, they adapt the number of boats according to how many bookings they have. We reserved through Keysi Tours, because we were thrilled with our guide Rubén Bananero (whom you can also contact directly, he lives in the last house before you get to the National Park Office) who we also did a canoe excursion with the previous day.
Boats will leave every morning at 10am, USD 35.– per person, and the trip takes 2,5 to 3,5 hours depending if the captain stops once in a while (ours was straight through when we heard from others who did a harbor restaurant stop on the way).
Once in Moín make sure you get one of the red cabs, which is the official one and negotiate the price to Limon. USD10.– seems to be the price “para ticos y para gringos” as the driver specified and which we got confirmed by others too. Forget about the taximeter, they will not put it on. 10-15 minutes later you are in Limon bus terminal. A ticket to Puerto Viejo costs 1740 colones and the buses run from 5:30am every hour until 6:30pm and it will take a bit more than an hour to get there. Here is a more detailed schedules for the region (the Puerto Viejo Satellite page is by the way one of the most useful ones I found).