Nature-lovers shouldn't miss the chance to catch a key moment in the fascinating lives of sea turtles: when the mothers nest and their babies hatch. Costa Rica is home to six of seven species of sea turtles (leatherbacks, hawksbills, loggerheads, olive ridleys, green sea turtles, and black sea turtles).
They frequent beaches along the Pacific coast (Ostional, Bahia Rincon) as well as the Caribbean coast (Tortuguero, Manzanillo), where they rest and reproduce. To protect them, Costa Rica has implemented a policy that combats poaching and offers the turtles the space they need to lay their eggs in peace. However, you're still welcome to witness this magical moment, as long as you follow a few rules.
First, you can only observe night-time nesting with a professional guide, and you need to purchase a ticket to the site. It's essential to keep your distance from the turtles, remain quiet, and forgo the use of any lights that might disturb them and compromise their chances of nesting. Taking part in this rare event beneath the moonlight, accompanied by the sound of ocean waves, is an unparalleled experience. Plus, by taking part in these nature excursions, you help to fund conservation projects that benefit endangered species.
The best season for watching this phenomenon depends on the type of turtles and their nesting areas. If you're visiting the Pacific coast (Osa peninsula, Guanacaste), you'll have more luck between August and January, while the Caribbean coast (Tortuguero, Manzanillo) is most active between March and November. Either way, ask your local Evaneos agency for more information when you arrive. They'll know which beaches to visit in each season for the best chances of seeing the turtles.