On January 15th, the arrival of Kemp’s Ridley Turtles to the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge (RNVS Ostional) in Santa Cruz began. This natural event is one of the most anticipated by tourists and environmentalists who want to be part of the phenomenon that attracts hundreds of turtles that nest their eggs on this Guanacaste beach.
The Kemp’s Ridley is one of the smallest sea turtles. Adults measure around 65 cm. in carapace length and weigh between 35-50 kg. The age at which Kemp’s Ridleys reach sexual maturity is unknown. However, it is believed to occur between the ages of 10 and 15, although there are estimates of up to 35 years of age. Unlike other sea turtles, the Kemp’s Ridley nests every year, usually twice a season with about 25 days between clutches. On average, 110 eggs are laid in each nest, where the eggs incubate for approximately 55 days. Similar to the other species of Kemp’s Ridley (L. olivacea) they nest synchronized and spawn in large numbers, in events known as “arrivals”.
According to the World Conservation Union (IUCN) it classifies this species as Critically Endangered, which means that it has an extremely high risk of disappearing in the near future. The Kemp’s Ridley is considered the most endangered of all sea turtles because it is the rarest species and more than 90% of all nestings occur on a single beach. That is why being responsible when visiting the arrival is of vital importance for their conservation.
What should you know to be present?
During the arrivals, the RNVS Ostional, is restricted access; Therefore, to visit the Refuge it is essential to coordinate before arriving in the community. You must also make a reservation with the Accredited Community Guides of Ostional, who are in charge of coordinating the reservation, the schedules, and the costs of the tour.
It is extremely important that those interested in being part abide by this provision, since visitors who arrive without their respective reservation will not be able to be attended and will not be able to enter the beach.
The opening hours of Ostional Beach are from 5:00 am to 9:00 pm, the guides will be the ones who indicate the hours according to the reservation. You should also take into account that the maximum group size allowed for entry is 10 people, which includes minors and the guide. Surfing is not allowed, nor are motorcycles or 4X4`s allowed in this protected wilderness area, as it can cause the death of several Kemp’s Ridley hatchlings. For more information you can consult the Association of Local Guides of Ostional, by phone 2682-0428.