Turtle nesting tour
Turtle nesting tour
Turtles are fascinating and beautiful reptiles that live in the ocean and five of their species live and nest in Costa Rica. You can join a Turtle nesting tour on both the Pacific Coast and the Caribbean Coast and watch the turtles lay their eggs on one of the many beautiful beaches. To watch the turtles’ nest is truly a natural miracle and a memory of a lifetime. The five species that are found in Costa Rica are Olive Ridley sea turtle, Leatherback sea turtle, Hawksbill sea turtle, Green sea turtle, and Loggerhead sea turtle.
Tortuguero in the northeast of Costa Rica on the Caribbean side is a great place to watch turtles. The name means “region of turtles” freely translated and here you will be able to see Green turtles, Leatherback turtles, and Hawksbill turtles. Tortuguero is one of the world’s most important nesting sites for Green turtles.
One of the world’s most famous places for a Turtle nesting tour is Ostional on the Pacific Coast close to Nosara. The Ostional Wildlife Refuge was founded in 1983 to protect the many turtles from poachers that affected the decline of the turtles rapidly. The protected beach is almost 10 miles long (15 km) and the whole protected area is 238 hectares. What makes Ostional so special is the arribada, which means arrival in Spanish. It occurs between July and December and for between one and four days the turtles arrive at the beach to hatch their eggs. Sometimes there are so many turtles that they need to climb each other because there is no room for them to walk. The largest number of turtles recorded in one arribada is more than 500,000!!
The arribada only occurs on 8 beaches around the world, and besides Ostional it also happens in Nancite beach in Santa Rosa National Park in Costa Rica. This park is located in Guanacaste but is less accessible and special permits are needed to visit.
There are other beaches in Guanacaste where you can go on a Turtle nesting tour in Las Baulas Marine National Park. The park consists of three beaches; Playa Grande, Playa Ventanas, and Playa Langosta. This national park is great if you want to see the massive Leatherback turtle, which is the world’s biggest living turtle that can be up to 8 ft (2.4 meters) and weigh up to 1500 pounds (681 kgs.). The Leatherback turtle is the fourth biggest reptile in the world after 3 different species of crocodiles.
Turtle nesting locations are also found in the southeast part of the Caribbean (Playa Gandoca) close to Puerto Viejo. Then there are turtle nesting spots on the Pacific Coast close to Samara (Camaronal), Santa Teresa (Montezuma and Cabo Blanco reserve), Jaco (Playa Hermosa), Osa Peninsula (Cano Island, Corcovado, Puerto Jimenez, Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve).