We’ve become Tortuga experts after attending this incredible festival consecutively for three consecutive years. This year we made time to check out everything Tortuga had to offer from the Conservation Village to the merch tent and sponsor booths. View travel tips and festival highlights from our previous trips to Tortuga Music Festival.

Tortuga Music Festival was sold to Live Nation during the offseason after 5 years under Huka Entertainment. Other Live Nation country music festivals include Watershed, Lake Shake, Faster Horses, Seven Peaks Festival, and Route 91. Led by country touring and festival guru, Brian O’Connell, the ownership change resulted in several much-needed improvements to enhance the overall festival experience. Keep reading for highlights from Tortuga Music Festival 2018.

View 2018 Country Music Festivals

Tortuga Music Festival | Highlights

  • Walkway | By far the best improvement to the festival, attendees now have three options for walking back and forth between the Sunset and Sunrise stages. Festival-goers can travel to and from the stages via the main concourse walkway, walking on the sand, or by using the brand new walkway. This is extremely helpful as three days of walking on sand makes for some sore calves!
  • Conservation Village | In addition to offering a lineup of great country music, Tortuga Music Festival aims to create awareness about the need for ocean conservation. Rock the Ocean’s Conservation Village offers fans the opportunities to plant sea grass where turtles lay their eggs, adopt a sea turtle, donate to ocean-friendly organizations, and learn more about what we can do to help make the ocean a better place for the animals that call it home. Music fans also have the chance to see some of their favorite performers during intimate performances at the small Opry Circle stage in the Rock the Ocean merchandise tent. Follow Tortuga Fest and Rock the Ocean on Instagram to find out about these one-of-a-kind performances. We had the opportunity to watch Adam Craig and Sister Hazel perform here!
  • Eric Church | “The Chief” as he is often referred to, Eric Church, was our favorite headlining artist of the festival. Tortuga was the first festival he played since the tragic Route 91 festival. He really connected with the audience and paid tribute to those affected by that horrible tragedy. His passion and relatable lyrics really resonate with country music fans and there’s truly no artist that puts on a show like Eric Church.
  • Favorite Performances | Adam Craig, Jon Langston, Florida Georgia Line, Jordan Davis, Eric Church,
  • Corona Stage | Another great opportunity for fans to catch intimate performances from the festival’s artists. This year we saw Country Clones’ Artist of the Month, Jon Langston, and Jordan Davis perform at the Corona stage. During Jordan’s performance, a rainbow appeared over the ocean and the stage, it was pretty magical.
  • Sponsor Tents | Don’t miss your chance to get free swag (and free alcohol) by visiting the sponsor tents throughout the festival site.

Room for Improvement | Festival Food

After attending Tortuga for two years in a row, we knew to have lunch off-site to save money before heading to the festival. That said, we stopped in at the Market on Seabreeze Blvd. for a large, fresh deli sandwich, a bag of chips, and a cold beer for $16 – still expensive, but a better value for the price.

The food offerings at Tortuga included American to Mexican and Asian dishes. Despite the great variety, we felt the food available to General Admission was pretty bad and some dishes were almost inedible. Everything we ordered at the festival was served cold (when it should have been hot) or lacked any sort of flavor. To be clear, we are not foodies or food snobs in any way – we indulge in fast food regularly and have no problem with fair-style food. Honestly, the food available for the General Admission guests at Tortuga Music Festival this year was some of the worst event food that we have ever had. The cost vs the value of the food was on the verge of gauging – $8 for a small three-piece cold cheese quesadilla.

That said, Tortuga does sell Super VIP tickets that include unlimited access to fresh, better-tasting food. So, if you’re concerned about what to eat at Tortuga festival, you might want to consider this ticket option.

Getting There | Tortuga Music Festival

Traveling from San Diego can be expensive depending on the destination. We typically compare prices with flights out of Orange County and Los Angeles to ensure we are getting the best deal. Although LAX is only a couple hours north of San Diego, having to deal with logistics (and traffic) to save about $50 – $100 is really not worth it.

After extensive rate shopping, we found a direct, redeye flight to Miami on American for only $154 each. Miami is about 30 minutes (or a $35 Uber) south of Fort Lauderdale.

On Monday, we enjoyed an off day by lounging poolside and riding jet skis. We flew Jet Blue Airlines back to San Diego from Fort Lauderdale and were so impressed by the unexpected inflight amenities!

Jet Blue Airlines | Features

  • Great Leg Room | They boast the most amount of legroom in coach.
  • Comfortable Seats
  • Free Wifi Sponsored by Amazon | Talk about a value ad! We’ve seen the price of in-flight wifi as low as $7 and as high as $20, so we were so pleasantly surprised after seeing wifi was complimentary.
  • Warm Towels | Often times this is only an amenity that first class passengers get to enjoy.
  • Bottles of Water | Loved having the option to bring your drink with you instead of having to chug it before landing.

Ocean Sky Hotel & Resort | Hotel

For our third year of Tortuga, we decided to upgrade to an oceanfront property after two years of staying away from the beach. Our room at the Ocean Sky Hotel & Resort averaged about $300 a night and despite the mediocre resort food, we agreed it was worth it because it gave us the resort ammentities we were looking for. Next year we plan to try another beachfront resort.

Features | Ocean Sky Hotel & Resort

  • Centrally located to a grocery store and other shops/restaurants
  • On-site jet ski rentals
  • Ubers to and from Tortuga Festival averaged about $8 each way
  • Pool, hot tub and beach access to catch pre-Tortuga rays
  • Large fridge which was great for picking up groceries for the weekend at the grocery store that’s within walking distance
  • Comfortable beds
  • Spacious guest rooms with ocean views

Want more ways to save on travel? Check out these money-saving tips.