Ostional Wildlife Refuge Is A "Must See In Costa Rica"
The Ostional Wildlife Refuge is an expansive 15 kilometers of pristine beach that runs from the main highway along the sleepy village coastline. Overall the protected area is over 235 kilometers. Ostonal has the most popular turtle hatch in the world and will Not disappoint anyone. Visitors will see the Olive Ridley sea turtle but leatherback and pacific green turtles can also be seen during certain months.
The turtles return to their place of hatch at around 13 years of age which is reproduction time until they die. They travel thousands of miles swimming in the sea to return to their beach of origin. Ostional is a huge nesting site. The Olive Ridley female comes on shore to dig a hole and bury the eggs. The male turtle never come on shore after birth. The lunar cycle determins the laying period.
Turtles prefer to nest in the dark so it’s best to go during the waxing crescent moon or right after the new moon when it is the darkest. The best time to see turtles in Ostional is during sunset around 5 PM and early morning around 5 AM. It’s common for babies to hatch early in the morning.
Turtles come to nest all year long at the beach but there are certain times of the year where you can see hundreds of thousands of turtles all come to hatch their eggs at once.
This period of time is called an arribada, which means arrival in Spanish and it only occurs in a few spots in the world. The biggest arribadas occur from July – December and November generally sees the biggest arribadas.
Local families take part in guides each night of the arribada. Visitors pay a small visitors fee and go on to the beach with a local guide. The tours start around dusk. The guide shows visitors where to walk and uses a special red light for vision. The turtles can not be disturbed or touched when they are in the laying process. Visitors must be with a guide as this is a protected habitat. There are so many turtles that one must be mindful of where to step. The turtles are huge and go into a sort of coma state. Then she will go into a frenzy to dig and push out huge amounts of eggs and then bury the nest. She then goes back into the water.
The arribada is a regular miracle to witness. This beach is 15 minutes from the door of Casa Tranquila and offers a spectacular special attraction,