Are there any turtles? That is the question on everybody’s mind before visiting the Ostional Wildlife Refuge in Guanacaste Costa Rica. Olive Ridley Turtles nest both alone and in arribadas. A turtle nesting alone can be seen almost any night of the year, arribadas occur about once a month usually around the third quarter moon. An arribada is the coming ashore of an average of 200,000 female turtles in over a week period for nesting purposes. The biggest arribadas occur between July and November which are the peak of the rainy season.
Ostional has been accommodating travelers in their quest for turtles since 2008, set on the mangrove it is completely surrounded by nature: sparrow hawks, howler monkeys, mangrove crabs and birds are easy to spot on the property, It is a small lodge very close to the beaches main entrance, where there is a guided tour of turtles nesting and hatching. Arribadas are unpredictable, so the best way to know if there are any turtles or hatchings is to call the Lodge for current information.
Ostional Turtle Lodge offers rooms that are comfortable, with hot water, A/C and wireless internet; there is also a mini fridge and a coffee maker. The rancho or common area overlooks the mangrove protected by the refuge and has hammocks and a sitting area, surrounded by water in the rainy season is the perfect place to relax with a book.
Make sure to pack dark clothes and a red flash light, find a guide before walking the beach. Never walk in front of a turtle leaving the water and walk behind all nesting turtles. Photos with flash are prohibited, cover flashlights with red screen, white light is harmful to turtles! During massive hatchings never handle baby turtles, racing for the water develops muscle and lung capacity.
If you are interested in visiting Ostional and need advice on accommodations and things to do in the area contact info is below.