Costa Rica

Turtle Nesting in Costa Rica

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Turtle Nesting in Costa Rica

A very deliberate and magical experience unfolds each year at the turtle nesting grounds; if you have enough patience, you may want to stick around to witness the return of these grand creatures while they lay their eggs on the sandy beach. It is truly a phenomenal experience to witness these massive creatures return to the very same beach they were born on decades before. There are only a few opportunities for you to stand a foot away from this magnificent animal to watch her dig a nest and lay over 140 eggs before returning to the ocean. Costa Rica is fortunate to be the nesting grounds for these creatures, which are nearly extinct in other parts of the world. For this reason, the protection of this species is one of Costa Rica’s most important ecological initiatives. Regardless of what time you visit Costa Rica, you may be in luck to catch one of these creatures on land. Fortunately, Costa Rica is home to 5 turtle species which lay their eggs at varies times throughout the year: the Green Sea turtle, the Olive Ridley turtle, the Hawksbill turtle, the Loggerhead turtle and the Leatherback turtle. The Green Sea turtle can be observed at the Tortuguero National Park where about 22,500 females grace the shore to nest during the months of July to October. The Olvie Ridley turtle, which weighs 70-100lbs., comes ashore of the black sandy beaches of the Ostional Wildlife Refuge year round, but peak time is from June to December. The Olive Ridley turtle is one of two turtles that synchronize their nesting in mass numbers called arribadas, the Spanish word for arrivals. They can also be seen from August to November at Playa Nancite, which is apart of the Santa Rosa National Park. The Hawksbill turtle is one of Costa Rica’s most critical endangered species. It derives its name from it hooked beak, which is similar to a hawk’s beak. You can spot one of these turtles on the shore of Tortuguero from March to October, Playa Cahuita from April to October and the Ballena National Marine Park from May to November. The Loggerhead turtle, weighing about 440lbs. and 3 feet long, can be spotted in small populations in Tortuguero from July to October. The least but most well known turtle, the Leatherback, is perhaps the most largest marine turtle in the world. These enormous turtles can weigh about 1,200lbs. and grow 6 ft. in length. Their popularity stems from their incredible size and the fact that the animal is nearly extinct throughout the entire world. The best time to observe these turtles are during their nesting months of October to May, but they can be seen year round at Playa Camaronal.

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