Best place for sea turtles in Costa Rica?

Old May 4th, 2013, 09:47 PM
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Best place for sea turtles in Costa Rica?

I am going to be spending a few weeks in Costa Rica doing some sea turtle conservation work between mid June and mid August. I want to be sure to have lots of cool experiences with live turtles, hopefully seeing them nesting. Most likely I will be in the Oso Peninsula or Totuguero. What's the best place for seeing turtles? What species should I expect to see during those times in each place? If I do beach patrols every night for a few hours for a week will I likely see them nesting?
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Old May 5th, 2013, 03:28 AM
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Tortuguero is a great area to see the turtles. Usually best in July to October. I'm not sure if you can just do beach patrols on your own. When we've done it, you had to participate in a park lottery because only so many people could go at a time, and you had to go to a certain quadrant of the beach with your guide. It's a beautiful area full of lots of other amazing wildlife too.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 05:59 AM
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Playa Ostional on the Pacific side. If you time it for the right moon phase, you can see hundreds coming ashore in one evening.
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Old May 7th, 2013, 05:57 AM
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Hi there,

Both coasts of Costa Rica offer the chance to see turtles, different species with different probabilities at different times of year. In Tortuguero (Caribbean side) you can usually find Leatherbacks from March through June, Green turtles from July through October. Cahuita on the Caribbean also offers the chance of Hawksbills May through October.

Over on the Pacific, you have some chance of seeing Olive Ridleys year round at Ostional, with particularly heavy nesting activity August through October. From then through February, Playa Grande also hosts Leatherbacks.

As for beach patrols every night for a week - I think your chances are pretty good! Assuming you're in the months mentioned, you should be fine.


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Old May 8th, 2013, 04:03 PM
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I don't have much to add here. As usual, the other Fodorites have it covered.

I do have to chime in about beach patrols in Tortuguero. Volcanogirl is right on. You cannot go on the beach, without a local guide. Period.

But if you are interested in volunteering, why not get in touch with the local conservation coop?

You mentioned that you were going down to do this kind of work. So I don't know what your experience or credentials are. But if you are a researcher or have a similar background, I am sure they would be happy to have someone with your skills as a volunteer.

If you are a layman, they still might have a spot for you. They have a volunteer program. You have to pay a fee, but it includes room and board.

Good luck to you on your adventure.

I hope this helps! Let me know if I can offer more advice.

Warm Regards,

Pat Hewitt
Travel Professional
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