Costa Rica turtles: Ostional National Wildlife Refuge


Written by Peter Conrad
January 31, 2012


If you want to visit some of the best beaches in Costa Rica, you must go to Ostional. It is not about a heavenly gold sand beach with turquoise water, is not the place to rest and take sun, neither for water sports or for chilling out with family of friends; it can sound weird, and maybe you may say that it is not attractive at all, but we will tell you why it can be the best place for your Costa Rica holidays.

Ostional Beach is located in Guanacaste province in the North Pacific Region, where you can find most of the prettiest beaches in Costa Rica, it is the driest province of this tropical country. Located at 4.5 hours from Juan Santamaria International Airport and just at 2.5 hours from Liberia Airport.

There are different ways to get there. It can be by car, if you do not mind driving during your family holidays, and this is maybe the best way to maximize your time and explore more; but on the other hand, if you prefer to relax and be more comfortable, you can take a private transportation or a domestic flight from the capital city of San Jose Costa Rica, taking 35 minutes to get to the small Nosara airstrip. There you can take a taxi to the town, it takes 15 minutes approximately.

Ostional is a wildlife refuge, well known to being a perfect and protected place for turtle nesting in Costa Rica. In fact, this is the second important spot that protects these creatures. This small and isolated place is surrounded by the amazing beaches Nosara and Guiones, well known as some of the best surfing beaches, there is also the beautiful San Juanillo beach; it also includes a small town called Ostional, mostly populated by fishers.

Another awesome neighbour beach is Azul, north of Ostional. With so many beautiful places so close, maybe you can stay in Nosara Costa Rica and go to Ostional Wildlife Refuge to admire the incredible turtle nesting, the estimated season is from June to December, it may be the trip of your lifetime and that is the reason why you must go there on your family trip to Costa Rica.

It protects Olive Ridley, Green and Leatherback turtles, among other species of flora and fauna. The refuge is protected by the Costa Rica Government and has an extension of 320 land and 8000 marine hectares. Maybe it is not the most attractive place, but there you can enjoy an unparalleled natural spectacle, you can learn and help them protect the endangered species during the enjoyment of your Costa Rica vacation package.

Several species of turtles come every year to Ostional to mate and lay eggs. These phenomena are known as “arribadas”, and the rangers says that in 1995 there was a record for the year’s “arribada” with over 500,000 turtles nesting at the beach on November of that year, for a period of 5 days. It happens from four to ten times during those months, and observation tours are offered if you want to watch the event. This is a place where turtle nesting is very commonly and regularly happening, so do not lose this chance on your Costa Rica vacation package.

Unfortunately, there are not hotels in Ostional so you will have to stay at Nosara or a close town. Nosara is not a touristy area, so there are no big chain hotels neither all-inclusive options, but there are few small, cozy and charming hotels. Costa Rica tour operators offer the turtle watching tour, but you could get on you own if you are in any neighbour town. It is a perfect stop for your family trip to Costa Rica; the entry fee is cheap and the kids seemed to be amused by the turtles and all the animals living there.

If you consider weather for your next Costa Rica family holiday, we have to say that the best season to go to Nosara Beach is during the dry season between January and March, and although you will not see hundreds of thousands of turtles dragging their heavy bodies through the sand as during the rainy season, it will be easier to get there, and you can still see dozens of turtles laying eggs.

Remember if you like wildlife and want to see this incredible natural phenomenon, you must visit Ostional Wildlife Refuge during your Costa Rica travel. Do not hesitate to contact us in case you have any doubt, our expert travel designers are waiting to hear from you.

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