September in the coasts of Costa Rica tends to be the low season, but not for sea turtles! In fact, last weekend we had the most important mass nesting of the year, at Playa Ostional. This is a beach town located 8km away from Guiones. Despite being small and undeveloped, it holds the magic of a secret spot for “tortugas lora” (olive ridley sea turtles). Every month, usually just before the new moon, they arrive on the shore to dig their eggs in the sand and then return to the ocean.
These spectacular arrivals are a very unique experience to witness. Especially during the last 4 months of the year, when thousands of female lora turtles cover Ostional beach completely. After 45 days, the baby turtles hatch and bravely try to make their way back to the ocean. It is a dangerous way due to predators and also the hot sand. Those that achieve it, won’t forget where they were born and will come back as adults to make their own nests.
Sometimes if you are very lucky, you can find lonely rare sea turtles of other species. Including black turtles, green sea turtles and maybe even the almost extinct leatherback turtle. Everything is possible in the mystic black-sanded beach of Ostional.
This is the only place in the world where harvesting turtle eggs is legal; as the nesting gets so intense that by the end of the arrival, turtles are destroying other turtles’ nests to lay their own. The eggs that are removed from the original nest, end up being eaten by dogs and vultures, so the government authorized the community of Ostional to take 10% of the eggs laid within the first days of the arrival.
As you can imagine, Ostional Wildlife Reserve is a protected area, where you can only witness the turtle arrival with an authorized local guide. The tours are very affordable ($10) and usually begin after the sunset or just before sunrise. Just when the sand gets cooler and turtles can dig happily. Make sure to turn off any lights that you might have, including camera flash, so that the tortugas lora are not disturbed during their nesting. You will be able to see every detail of this wonderful happening with the red light that your guide will carry.
Wait, there’s more…. Yeah great surf too!
If you’re not already in love with the idea of this place, there’s even more to it. Playa Ostional is also a great location for surf when it’s not turtle-time. Experienced surfers absolutely adore the waves at Ostional because you can find great tubes when the swell is right.
So are you now ready for adventure? We’re always happy to share local insights for you to soak deeper into your Nosara experience. If you are open to nature and possibilities, your retreat will only get better and better. 😉