One of the most incredible spectacles you can witness in Costa Rica is sea turtle nesting. Every year, between July and November, four species of sea turtles – Olive Ridley, Green, Hawksbill, and Leatherback – come ashore to lay their eggs in the sand.
If you’re planning a trip to Costa Rica during this time, don’t miss the opportunity to witness this incredible natural phenomenon.
Here are the best places to see sea turtles nest in Costa Rica.
Tortuguero National Park
Tortuguero National Park, located on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, is one of the most popular places to see sea turtles nesting.
It is home to the largest green sea turtle nesting site in the Western Hemisphere, and thousands of turtles come to lay their eggs here every year. The park is only accessible by boat or plane, which makes it even more of an adventure.
The nesting season in Tortuguero runs from July to October, and visitors can witness the turtles laying their eggs on the beach at night.
You’ll need to book a tour with a licensed guide to visit the nesting sites, and it’s important to remember to keep a safe distance from the turtles and not to use flash photography, as this can disorientate the animals.
Ostional Wildlife Refuge
Ostional Wildlife Refuge, located on the Nicoya Peninsula in the northwest of the country, is another popular spot for sea turtle nesting.
This beach is unique because it’s not just the females that come to lay their eggs – male turtles and juveniles also gather here in large numbers. This phenomenon is known as an arribada, and it’s an incredible sight to see thousands of turtles coming ashore at once.
The arribada at Ostional usually occurs during the third or fourth quarter of the moon, and it can last for several days. Visitors are allowed to witness the spectacle, but again, it’s important to book a tour with a licensed guide and to follow the rules to protect the turtles.
Playa Grande, located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica in the Guanacaste region, is another popular nesting spot for leatherback turtles.
This is the largest species of sea turtle, and seeing them come ashore to lay their eggs is a truly awe-inspiring experience. The nesting season at Playa Grande runs from October to March, and visitors can witness the turtles laying their eggs at night.
Like other sea turtle nesting sites in Costa Rica, Playa Grande is strictly regulated to protect the turtles. Visitors must book a tour with a licensed guide, and they must follow the rules to avoid disturbing the nesting turtles.
Santa Rosa National Park
Santa Rosa National Park, also located in the Guanacaste region, is home to another important leatherback turtle nesting site. The park is one of the oldest in Costa Rica, and it offers visitors a chance to witness sea turtle nesting in a more remote and wild setting.
The nesting season at Santa Rosa runs from October to March, and visitors can witness the turtles laying their eggs on the park’s beaches. The park offers guided tours of the nesting sites, and it’s important to follow the rules to protect the turtles and their habitat.
Witnessing sea turtle nests in Costa Rica is an unforgettable experience, and these four destinations offer some of the best opportunities to see this incredible natural phenomenon. Whether you’re on the Caribbean or Pacific coast, there’s a sea turtle nesting site waiting to be explored.
Remember to book a tour with a licensed guide and follow the rules to protect these amazing animals and their habitats.
Aside from seeing sea turtles nesting, visitors can also witness the hatching of eggs and the baby turtles making their way to the ocean, which is equally an amazing experience. Costa Rica takes the conservation of sea turtles seriously, and their efforts have made the country one of the best places in the world to see these incredible creatures in their natural habitat.