When was the last time you visited one of the world’s most important anythings? Welcome to Ostional Wildlife Refuge which, according to the World Wildlife Fund, is “one of the two most important areas in the world for nesting of the olive ridley turtle.” Indeed, this is the place for nearly guaranteed Costa Rica turtle watching. The place in the world, specifically.
Every year, millions of sea turtles lumber onto the beaches of Ostional National Wildlife Refuge. Every year, millions of sea turtles are born on the beaches of Ostional Wildlife Refuge. And every year, thousands of lucky visitors come to these beaches to witness this spectacular event.
And it’s not just that. While olive ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) are most common at Ostional – up to 150,000 (yes, you read that right!) can come ashore during a single nesting event – leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) and Pacific green turtles (Chelonia mydas agassizii) are also known to nest here.
Alert, alert! As of this post (September 2018), it’s high turtle season and we’re experiencing one of the largest arribadas of the year.
So, who’s ready for some Costa Rica turtle watching?
Ostional Wildlife Refuge At-A-Glance:
Location: 65 miles south of Tamarindo
Founded: 1982 (declared a protected area) and 1984 (refuge formed)
Maximum Altitude: Sea level
Area: 180 acres; the refuge is part of the greater Tempisque Conservation Area (= tens of thousands of protected acres)
Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Entrance Fee: $15 adults / $5 children