The magic of Ostional Beach rests in the Olive Ridley Turtles that come to nest on this beach. Also accompanied by their relative the Kemp Sea Turtles. This is a sight one should see at least once in their lifetime. It is so unique and very emotional. We are faced with these old and wise sea creatures who have been on this planet for far longer that we have.
Ostional Beach is also one of the most incredible Beaches of Costa Rica known for the nesting turtles who migrate here by the thousands. The Ostional Wildlife Refuge was created to protect the Olive Ridley sea turtles and during the rainy season. You can see thousands of turtles coming up to shore to lay their eggs and baby turtles hatching all hours of the day. Playa Ostional is also a surfing beach, and the town is a typical small Costa Rican town for a nice getaway from the bustling seaside town.
The Ostional Wildlife Refuge
What makes Ostional Beach extra special is the size of the arribadas, name given to the nesting of the turtles. They are truly massive, and at some point, there are so many turtles it is almost impossible to walk on Ostional Beach. The first eggs often end up being trampled over by the following turtles. For this reason, it is legal to collect these; in the past, turtle eggs were collected to the point of near extinction. Today, the number of turtles is on the rise, and those who stole the eggs are now working as guides.
However, for the sake of culture, these first eggs can still be collected. The park created in 1984, and the situation was then critical. It was in the Baulas National Marine Park, further north in Tamarindo, Guanacaste where the giant Leatherback goes nesting. Use precaution when visiting a turtle nesting ground, and it is wise to listen to the guides’ instructions. The refuge also includes the beaches of Nosara. However, the arribadas only take place in Ostional Beach.
When to Go to Ostional Beach
Turtles come to nest to Ostional Beach all year round. However, the periods of the huge arribadas take place during the rainy season from August to December. How the arribadas start is a bit of a mystery. The turtles seem to get together close to the shore, and at a given signal, they all come on shore at the same time. The arribadas can go on for a week or longer.
The actual nesting can occur up to three times per month. Also, estimated that the number of turtles reaches the hundreds of thousands during peak season, while during the dry season, it is in the range of tens of thousand, and they can leave up to 10,000 eggs in just a few days. These numbers are difficult to comprehend fully. Up to 500,000 thousand turtles estimated in 1995! It is possible to go on special Tours complete with lodging and guide for these arribadas. Best time to watch is 4 pm to dawn the following morning.
Hatching of the Egg in Ostional Beach
Once the eggs have been laid, they need to stay hidden in the sand for about 50 days before they are ready to hatch. Usually, the babies hatch during the night, another inspiring and magical sight! The temperature of the incubation is what determines the sex of the babies. Once they are out of their eggs shells, they only have one objective; get into the ocean. This is a hazardous journey as all sorts of birds and animals are waiting for them! The babies are born almost blind; it is the smell of the sea that tells them in which direction to go. Local people are seen on the beach during this period as they do their best to chase away the dogs, the iguanas and the birds that try and eat them.
How can you Help
You can help them too. However, it is important to let them run. They need this to open up their lungs before they reach the sea. The Ostional Beach is the ideal place to be for such moving experiences, stunning sunsets, gorgeous sea and amazing wildlife. There are some lodgings along and near the beach in Ostional Beach. But most people choose to stay in one of the hotels in Nosara, Also, located close by and offers better infrastructure. It is highly recommended to stay at least a couple of nights in the area of Nosara and Ostional Beach to make the most out of this magical place; you may, however, want to stay even longer!