This guide is your complete travel brochure for the tropical island that can be reached from your town.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Unlocking the Island
Meet Tortimer and the Kappa Family
Tortimer and Tours
Kapp'n, the boat ride and Shanties
Grams and the Island Shop
Leilani and the Travel Counter
Leila and the Waste Bin
Amenities in the Island Building
Items Drop-off Box
Guide to the island
Outside on the Island
Borrowing tools and wetsuit
Decorating your island
Bringing Things to the Private Island
Fauna and Flora
Generalities why some bugs cannot be caught on the island
Fauna not catchable on the island but catchable in July or August in your town
Some bugs and fish can be caught on Tours but not on your island
Flowers and fruits
The Online Island Club Tortimer
Differences between Online and Private Island
No application form
Club Tortimer exclusives
Different time or date
Other People on the Online Island
Bug hunting on your own
Table of Island Items
Unlocking the island
In the first days of a new town or a new player, the island isn't accessible yet. You need to have moved out of the tent into a house and must have paid off your first mortgage on the house. When the game is started up after this has been done, Isabelle will introduce Tortimer. Next you can go to the dock that is situated somewhere along the beach, and talk to Tortimer. The next day Kapp'n will be at the dock, ready to take you to your private island in his open motorboat. He charges a fee of 1000 Bells for each round trip.
If you make a subsequent player, they will have to go through the same as the first player in order to unlock the island. This is true for everything related to the island, each player has to fend for themselves. For instance, each player will have to unlock the more challenging tours and has to buy the application form for Club Tortimer. However, the private island itself is shared and anything brought to it or left on it will remain, to be used by any player, including visitors from other towns.
Once you've unlocked the island, it's open 24/7, including all its facilities.
Each town has an island that can be visited from that town only: the private island. A player can visit this island when playing alone, or together with friends who are visiting the town. Up to three friends can visit the town and hence the island, which is fortunate as there are four seats in Kapp'n's boat. Anybody can initiate the island visit by talking to Kapp'n but the boat will only leave once everyone is seated. Once someone is seated, they can still leave the boat until everyone is seated; you visit the island with the entire party or not at all.
Once a player has bought the application form for Club Tortimer, they can visit the online island. They can only travel there on their own; when friends are visiting, the option to visit the online island simply doesn't appear. On the online island you may (or may not) meet random strangers, there's no way to choose your company.
On a private island, time and date are the same as in town. They're not shown but time is noticeable because of the corresponding light changes; the date determines which Tours are on offer. If you're on the same date as someone else, you'll both have the same Tours.
The time and date on an online island are being set by the first visitor to that island.
Meet Tortimer and the Kappa family
Five characters are associated with the island: Tortimer and the extended Kappa family of four.
Tortimer and Tours
Tortimer is a tortoise of advanced age. He used to be Mayor in previous installments of Animal Crossing, but in New Leaf he has retired and has left all Mayoral duties to you. You'll meet him first at the dock when he unlocks the island. You can arrange to go on Tours through the travel counter in the island hut, after which you'll find him on larger islands or on abandoned town maps. He has been promoted to Tour Manager and allows you to do a whole variety of Tours where he keeps the score and awards Medals… if you've earned them.
Kapp'n is the first member of the Kappa family you'll meet. Kappas are creatures from Japanese mythology. Kapp'n is the pivot of his small extended family; he has a mom, a wife and a daughter.
Kapp'n will transport you to the island and back for a fee of 1000 Bells. This may seem much, but he'll sing for you on the way! His songs are quite funny and tell a lot about his family. In one of them he mentions he'd wish his boat was made of cucumber, which is a reference to his mythological background.
Kapp'n will sing different songs and treat you differently depending on whether you're a girl or a boy.
If you've heard all his songs or if you just don't like how long they take, you can press A or B repeatedly or touch the screen a couple of times once he's started singing and the trip will be cut short.
When travelling to the island with friends, you can specify up front whether you'd like music on the way, both going to the island and back. Choose carefully because once you've selected to have music, you can't cut it short anymore.
There's music when travelling to the online island but you have to listen until you arrive.
Once the boat trip is finished, you'll find yourself in the island hut.
Grams and the island shop
Grams is Kapp'n's mom. She runs the island shop where she sells wares that change once per day at 6AM. The appearance of the wares is random. Please note that some items are rarer than others and it's advisable to snap them up when you encounter them. Rarity is shown in the table at the bottom of this guide.
The goods she sells can only be bought at the island shop and they can't be ordered from the catalog machine in the Nookling's store. Grams gets paid in Medals that can be earned by successfully doing Tours. If at any time you wish to know how many Medals you currently have, talk to her and the number will be shown at the top of the screen.
Occasionally she will sell an application form for Club Tortimer for 50 Medals. This form will only appear if you visit your island alone, if you're accompanied by friends a regular item will take its place. Once you've purchased this form, Kapp'n at the dock will give you the option to travel to your private island or to the online island, still for a fee of 1000 Bells.
A Table of all Island shop items is at the bottom of this guide.
Leilani and the travel counter
Leilani is Kapp'n's wife. She stands behind the counter to the left of the building and she's in charge of transportation. She can arrange for you to go on a Tour or you can ask her to be shipped back to the mainland. Tours are described in the Island Tour Guide.
If you go on a Tour or back home, everything you have in your pockets will be sold off for 5% of its value at Re-Tail; you will be warned when this occurs and get the opportunity to empty your pockets before traveling.
When you travel back from a tour, the contents of your pockets will remain. This allows you to bring back things from tours and either leave them on the island, or bring them to your town through the Item drop-off box. Think flowers, pitfall seeds, tropical fruit, fish, bugs and seafood.
Leila and the waste bin
Leila is Kapp'n and Leilani's daughter. Although she claims she wants to play shop with you, she's nothing more than a cute waste bin. You can sell stuff to her for 5% of the price you would get at Re-Tail, which admittedly makes her better than a garbage pail, but only just. You can use her to get rid of low value fish and bugs that aren't worth the trouble of transporting back to your town, or anything else that you don't want to keep.
Amenities in the island building
Besides the shop, travel counter, and garbage can there are some unmanned amenities: an ABD (or Bellpoint), an Items Drop-Off Box, a Guide to the island and a seating area.
The ABD can be used just like the one in the Post office back home or an ABD placed in a player's house, only you can't pay off your mortgage on this one. You can deposit Bells if they're clogging your pockets or you can withdraw Bells to give to someone else if you're in a giving mood.
Items Drop-Off Box
When traveling from your town to the island, you can't take anything in your pockets. Your pockets will be empty when you arrive at the island, but no worries, everything that was in them before you set out to the island will be restored once you've returned to the mainland.
When returning from the island to your town, you can't bring anything in your pockets either, but you can ship back things using the Items Drop-Off Box. This box has room for 40 items. While on the island, you can freely store things in the box and take them out again.
At the dock on the mainland, you'll find its counterpart the Items Pick-Up Box. You can take items out of this box but you can't put anything back; i.e. it's a one-way service, allowing you to bring items from the island to your town, but not vice versa.
When you get back home you'll get the advice to empty the Items Pick-Up Box as quickly as possible. However, there's no reason to actually follow this advice, the items will stay in the box indefinitely and you can use the box as extra storage space if you like. For instance, you could keep rare and expensive bugs and fish in there so that whenever a villager asks for a Butterfly, you can give them a Birdwing Butterfly. Be careful though: if you wish to bring back many items from the island, don't forget to empty the box first!
The closets in your town are all magically connected, it makes no difference whether you open a closet in your home, inside the Train station or on the Museum's second floor; you'll always find the same clutter. The Items Drop-Off Box and the Items Pick-Up Box are similar to closets because they are connected to the equivalent boxes on other islands and other towns. So if you return from a visit to your friend's island and you've deposited items in the Items Drop-Off Box on that island, you can pick them up in your friend's town or in your own town, whatever suits you best.
Guide to the island
On the counter to the left of Leilani is a box with island brochures. They supply the following information:
Info about islandLobby guide
Items Drop-Off Box
Intro to tours
Intro to activities
Becoming a member
Tours for members
Request for members
If you feel like it, you can read the brochures. Or not. Most things are self-explanatory but who knows, there may be a snippet of information you could use.
The seating area consists of four Cabana chairs that are used for going on Tours. Once a Tour has been selected at the counter, sitting down will start the Tour. When playing on your own the Tour will start immediately, when you're playing with friends on a private island, everybody has to be seated before the Tour starts.
On the online island, once the Tour initiator sits down, anyone who's not seated at that moment will be left behind. When the Tour goers return from the Tour, the people left behind won't be there anymore, and the people left behind won't see the Tour people again. So, on a private island you can only go on Tours with the entire party, on an online island some people can get separated from the others, either willingly or not.
Outside on the island
When you step outside the island building, you'll find yourself on a luscious tropical island.
Borrowing tools and wetsuit
To the left of the building entrance is Lloid the Gyroid who can lend you a shovel, an axe, a net, a fishing rod, and a wetsuit. He'll explain about these items if you ask. You can take any or all of these items by moving them into your pockets. The tools are similar to their regular counterparts in your town, the only difference being that the rental axe doesn't break. The rental wetsuit allows you to go diving before you've bought a wetsuit of your own. You sadly can't take the rental items back to your town, they're only for use in the current trip to your island and they will have disappeared once you're back home. Next time you visit the island you can borrow them again though.
The island is a great place for fishing, diving or bug catching, alone or together with friends.
Decorating your island
The initial layout is the same for all islands. On the high ground, there are two regular trees, two identical tropical fruit trees (Mango, Lychee, Lemon or Durian), two sets of two Red Hibiscus bushes and seven or eight random normal flowers. On the beach there are twelve Palm trees, either Coconuts or Bananas.
You can re-arrange the island layout in any way you like. On an online island, changes are temporary, after you leave you only have a small chance of returning to the same island (it can happen, though!) On your private island, any changes become permanent after you've returned to the mainland and have saved your game. So if something happened on your private island that you didn't intend to happen, you can quit without saving. An example may be if one of your visitors has ravaged your flowers or has cut down all of your trees.
If you chop down trees, remember that you can never get the Oak trees back because you can't bury Bells with a Golden shovel and you can't bring saplings to the island. However, tropical fruit trees can be replanted with tropical fruit, brought back from another island or from Tours. Planting trees on the island follows similar rules to those in your town: tropical fruit trees on the high ground, at least one space away from the edge and from other trees, palm trees on the beach but not next to the high ground or in the surf.
So, is it bad when you've chopped down the Oak trees and will you miss out on something? Not at all, the tropical fruit trees serve the same purpose as the Oak trees would, they'll have bugs on their trunks just like the Oak trees do. Please note that on the island, there are no bugs inside trees.
Any bushes you dig up can be replaced if you find Hibiscus shoots in your island shop. Hibiscus shoots, like any other island item, can be brought back to your town, which allows you to have bushes before they are sold in Leif's shop after the final shop upgrade. In the right season, bushes in your town can have Snails on top when it rains, which is the only place Snails can occur. Hibiscus comes in two colors, Red and Yellow.
Fish, bugs or seafood caught on your island or on a Tour can be released, sold to Leila or shipped back home using the Items Drop-Off Box. Other items can remain on the island if you wish, for instance furniture bought at the island shop, pitfalls dug up on a tour or fruit or flowers found on a tour. Anything you can drop outside can remain on the island. You can choose to use the island as extra storage space and leave everything lying on the ground, or you can bury things. Either way, nobody complains about the mess and it won't prevent the bugs from showing up.
If you wish to use the island to make loads of Bells, it's advisable to leave only a couple of Palm trees, positioned to the West and the East of the island so that by moving from one to the other, bugs are allowed to spawn on the tree trunks. It's easier on you if you don't position them towards the South of the beach because that makes sneaking up on them a lot harder.
Bringing things to the private island
When travelling to the private island in Kapp'n's boat, you cannot bring anything in your pockets or in your letters. Your pockets are empty when you've arrived at the island and your letters cannot be accessed while on the island.
So, nothing can be brought to the private island, right? Wrong! Anything that you're wearing travels together with you and can be left on the private island. This includes clothes, hats, shoes, socks and accessories, but also flowers because they can be worn in your hair and Roses can be kept in your mouth as an accessory. So per trip, you can transport two flowers to the private island.
This opens up some great possibilities! You can use the private island to store excess flowers, or you could even think to turn your private island into an even more luscious place by adorning it with a colorful selection of hybrids. The flowers don't need watering on the island and they won't breed. They can still be trampled so be careful with running. On the beach just below the high ground, flowers can be destroyed even without running; it appears that walking down the slope is interpreted as running, as far as flowers are concerned. The white Roses in the picture below are in a hazardous place. Planting them on the high ground, or on the beach but more than one space away from the high ground saves them from this kind of disaster.
You could also consider storing clothes on your island so they're not littering your town. This could be useful if you're having cataloging sessions, either between your own players or with visitors. Or you could consider keeping un-orderable clothes on the island to de-clutter your closet.
Fauna and flora
The island is in eternal summer and in general you'll find bugs, fish and seafood similar to those in your town during July and August; there are exceptions however. Some of the fauna can only be caught on the island and some only in your town.
Although the time of day isn't shown when you're on an island, time certainly plays a role. A lot of the fauna can only be caught during certain time periods. Please check out the relevant guides to find out more: Bug Guide, Fish Guide and Seafood Guide.
By default, islands have no purple, blue or black flowers and hence you can't catch Peacock butterflies. However, you can bring flowers of those colors from Tours (purple Violets) or from your Town to allow you to catch this particular butterfly as well.
Bugs: Hermit crab (only when playing alone on your private island, won't appear with gates open) Fish: Giant trevally, Ribbon eel, Whale shark Seafood: Chambered nautilus, Giant isopod, Spotted garden eel
A number of bugs, fish and seafood can be caught in your town in July or August but not on the island. Often there's a good reason for that, but not always. Below, those reasons will be presented first in a general form, followed by a list of the specific species that can't be found on the island.
Generalities why some bugs cannot be caught on the island
No garbage on the island, hence no Ant and Fly
No villagers on the island, hence no Flea
No dangerous bugs on the island, hence no Bee, Mosquito, Scorpion, Spider, Stinkbug and Tarantula
No fresh water on the island, hence no Dragonflies, Diving beetle, Firefly, Pondskater and Raja Brooke butterfly
No rocks on the island, hence no Centipedes and Pill bug
No Cicada's on the island (hurray, no noise!). Please note that a Lanternfly counts as a Cicada, but it does occur on the island during the evening and night.
For some bugs there's no apparent reason why they're not present on the island, they're just not there. The Moth could have been present because of the lights next to the building entrance that are lit up at night. The Rice grasshopper could well have been present but it cannot be found on the island or on Tours. Some guides claim that Snails can be present on bushes when it rains, but none have been found despite trying hard. And lastly, the Walking leaf won't be found on the island or on Tours.
Fish that can't be caught on the island but that can be caught in your town in July or August are freshwater fish found in the river and in ponds. A number of them can be found on some Tours but not all of them. A Coelacanth can't be caught in the tropical sea.
Fauna not catchable on the island but catchable in July or August in your town:
Seafood: Horseshoe crab, Pearl oyster and Turban shell.
Some bugs and fish can be caught on Tours but not on your island:
Bugs: Banded dragonfly and Darner dragonfly. Please note that the Raja Brooke butterfly can be caught in your town in August between 8am and 5pm which would make it a candidate to be caught on a Tour; however is has never been found on a Tour despite many attempts. Conversely, the Monarch butterfly can be caught on your island and on Tours, but it's a fall bug!
Fish that can be caught on Tours but that can't be caught all year round in your town are freshwater fish that can be caught in July or August between 9am and 4pm: Crawfish, Frog and Killifish in a holding pond, Dorado, Giant Snakehead, Guppy, Neon Tetra, Piranha and Sweetfish in the river. Strangely enough the Nibble fish and the Tadpole have the same specs but they can't be caught on Tours.
Fish that can be caught on Tours and that can also be caught all year round in your town are: Barbel steed, Black bass, Bluegill, Carp, Crucian carp, Goldfish, Pale chub and Popeyed goldfish.
Flowers and fruits
All regular flowers can be found on the island and on most Tours. The island itself doesn't provide Lilies and Violets, but those can be found on Gardening Tours and the Butterfly Discovery Tour.
Tropical fruits (Durian, Lychee, Lemon and Mango) and Palm fruits (Coconut and Bananas) can be found on the island and on Tours and they can be planted on your private island. They'll grow just like trees in your town and they will bear fruit after four days.
The weather on the island is similar to the weather in August in your town.
Most of the time the weather is clear on your island, which makes it a great place for tanning. However, sometimes it's heavily overcast and on rare occasions, it even rains. If you still wish to tan on those occasions, you can do a couple of Tours that allow tanning.
It being summer on the island provides the right conditions for those impressive cumulonimbus clouds to appear. In real life they would be a precursor of heavy rains and thunderstorms, but in ACNL they're just there to be admired.
At daybreak and at sunset it may look especially beautiful on your island because of the light.
The online island: Club Tortimer
Once you've bought the application form for Club Tortimer, you'll have access to the online island, provided you have internet access. To travel to the online island, Wi-Fi has to be switched on, using the Wi-Fi switch on the Old 3DS or through the menu on the 2DS and the New 3DS. Parental controls should allow Wi-Fi.
Please note that switching off Wi-Fi anytime during your stay on the online island will instantly transport you back to the dock at your beach. Your 1000 Bells travel fee and anything you did on the island after the last save will be lost. This will include anything you put in your pockets or the Item Drop-off Box after the last save.
Talk to Kapp'n at the dock along your beach to travel to the online island. He'll ask who you might be spending time with on the island. “No one!” will make you go to your private island, “Other travelers.” will transport you to the online island, and “Abandon ship” will… abandon ship.
If you've selected the online island, Kapp'n gives you the option to meet people of your own country only, or people from all over the world. If you speak no foreign languages you might choose your own country, if you're feeling adventurous, sailing the seven seas is the way to go.
The game will save while you're travelling to and from the online island. There will be music. No shanties though, Kapp'n will be whistling.
When you arrive in the island hut, everything looks exactly the same as on your private island. Looks are deceptive though because there certainly are differences:
Differences between the online island and the private island
No application form
You can't buy an application form for Club Tortimer, so you'll always have three items for sale on the counter to the right.
Club Tortimer exclusives
The online island can have the same items for sale as your private island, plus twelve items that are Club Tortimer exclusives. Please see the table at the bottom of this guide.
The selection of merchandise on your private island changes once per day at 6AM. If you wish to see many more items in one day, you can visit the online island repeatedly and encounter lots of items because each time you visit the online island, the display will have been refreshed. This practice of visiting the online island multiple times is called “Island hopping”.
On your private island, you can only save after you've returned to your town, never when on the island. On the online island, the game is saved during the trip towards and from the island, when someone enters or leaves, or when someone goes on a Tour. It doesn't save when returning from a Tour.
Different time or date
If the island already has a visitor when you arrive, it'll be on the time and date of that visitor. Their date may be different from yours, which may allow you to go on different tours from those at your private island. A different time would allow you to catch different bugs, fish and seafood from your private island as well, for instance it may be morning on your island, but evening on the online island.
Other people on the online island
Sometimes when you arrive, people are already present, sometimes they arrive when you're on the island. Frequently, you'll find an empty island and no one will visit while you're there.
Whenever someone leaves or enters, the game will save. For this reason, it's inadvisable to remove anything you're wearing. For instance, if you're wearing a Crown and you would put it in your pockets, someone might arrive at the island, thereby saving the game with the Crown in your pockets. If next the Wi-Fi would fail for some reason, you'd be back at your dock and you would have lost the Crown.
People have a variety of reasons for visiting the online island. Some go island hopping on the hunt for rare items and they may not wish to socialize. Some go to meet people, some go to find people to go on Tours together. Some go to troll others and make a nuisance of themselves. Some people go to cut down all trees except two palm trees and hunt for high-price bugs.
If someone is looking in their pockets, having a conversation with a member of the Kappa family or Lloid, reading a brochure, is shopping, interacts with the ABD or has initiated a Tour but hasn't sat down, nobody will be able to enter or leave the island. If you'd ask Leilani to leave, she'd say the waters are too choppy. If another visitor is doing one of the above, either innocently or with malice, you can ask them politely to stop. If they don't wish to cooperate, the only way to get off the island is to cut the Wi-Fi. On the Old 3DS, this can be achieved by simply flipping the Wi-Fi switch. The 2DS and the New 3DS have no such switch and you can't access the menu while on the online island, hence the only thing you can do is switch off the console or the Wi-Fi router. You'd only do this as a last resort when all reasoning with the troll has failed.
As mentioned in the above paragraph, if another visitor has initiated a Tour but hasn't sat down, you can't leave. If this happens to be the visit on which you've at last encountered that rare island item, you can purchase that item and sit down. If you're lucky, the obnoxious visitor will also sit down and the Tour will start. The game saves on the way to a Tour, thereby saving the item you purchased. After it has saved, you can decide whether to continue doing the Tour, or to cut the Wi-Fi.
If you go to the online island and nobody's there yet and you wish to keep it that way, select a Tour at the counter, but do not sit down. This will prevent anyone from entering this island.
If someone is already on the island but you want them gone, go on a Tour alone and when you come back you'll have the island to yourself.
Bug hunting on your own
If you wish to catch high-value bugs on the online island, be aware that the Wi-Fi can drop at any moment, causing you to lose your catch. It's advisable to go bug hunting on your private island for this purpose. If you insist on doing this on the online island, you could consider preventing anyone else from joining before starting the bug hunt.
If you meet someone on the island you don't like, you can ensure you won't meet them again by touching the people icon at the bottom left of your screen, selecting the person and banning them. This will be forever as it can't be undone. However, if the Wi-Fi drops before the game has saved, the ban won't take effect.
If you meet someone you get on well with but you don't speak each other's languages, you can still communicate by using emotes. It's very possible to meet nice people on the island!
Table of island items
Below is a table with all items that can be purchased at the island shop. At the top are the items that are exclusive to Club Tortimer. Items have been sorted first on General type, next on type and lastly, alphabetically.
The selling price of island items at Re-Tail in Bells is 12.5 times the buying price in Medals. This is irrespective of the Wealthy Town Ordinance, because both prices go up by 20% when this Ordinance is in effect.