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TOURS AND LOGISTICS
Do I need to make a reservation?
You are required to make a reservation with a local guide in advance for all sea turtle tours in Ostional. Local guide contact information can be found on the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.
How can I find out if the turtles are nesting?
The Ostional National Wildlife Refuge posts announcements on their Facebook page at the start and end of each arribada or nesting event with contact information for local guides to reserve a tour with.
Can I take pictures?
Flash photography is strictly prohibited as this can disorient and frighten nesting sea turtles and other wildlife. Photography is permitted during the daytime, but visitors must be mindful and keep a respectful distance. For photos of sea turtles, it’s best to wait until the turtle is settled into their egg-laying trance and avoid standing in front of the turtle. We support Costa Rica’s “No Selfies with Animals” campaign and condemn taking selfies with wildlife.
How large are tour group sizes?
The law establishes a maximum group size of 9 tourists per guide for sea turtle tours, including children (3+ years old). Larger groups will be split up accordingly while on the beach. There is no entry charge for infants (age 0-3) but they must be carried by their guardians at all times for safety reasons. All other tours are currently offered to private groups only.
Do I have to be accompanied by a guide on the beach?
The law requires everyone be accompanied by a guide to view sea turtles at Ostional, whether it is during an arribada, for viewing solitary nesting turtles, or hatchlings.
How do I get to Ostional?
Ostional is a 30 minute drive (11 km) north of Nosara. From Café de Paris in Guiones, head north on Route 160. Keep left when you reach the Rinde Más Supermarket and turn right after the “Rasta Bridge” in Santa Marta. Turn left shortly thereafter to stay on Route 160.
What are road conditions like?
Although the road from Nicoya to Nosara is on a national highway, it is currently an unpaved road most of the way. A 4WD vehicle is highly recommended, especially in the rainy season when road conditions are particularly poor. Extreme caution should be taken during heavy rainfall when the river near Ostional can flood and become impassible.
What is the weather like?
The Guanacaste province of Costa Rica is a tropical dry forest with two seasons. The rainy season lasts from May–November, with the heaviest rains occurring in the months of September and October. During the dry season (December–April), there is close to no rain at all.
What is an arribada?
An arribada is an amazing natural phenomenon in which hundreds or thousands of sea turtles emerge from the ocean to nest within a matter of days. This behavior only occurs in the Ridley sea turtles (genus Lepidochelys) and occurs at few sites around the world.
How many turtles nest during an arribada?
In Ostional in the rainy season (July - November), hundreds of thousands of turtles can nest within a single arribada event. Events in the dry season (December - June) are smaller, with tens of thousands of turtles participating in each event.
When do arribadas occur?
Arribadas occur at Ostional Beach in the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge almost every month of the year, but occasionally skip a month and in other instances occur twice a month. While this is a natural phenomenon that cannot be predicted, arribadas tend to occur between the last quarter moon and new moon.
What time of day is best to see the arribada?
Sea turtle behavior is unpredictable and can change for each individual event. Sunset and sunrise are ideal times to see the phenomenon in the daytime, but there are usually more turtles on the beach at nighttime.
When do the largest arribadas occur?
The largest arribadas typically occur in the months of September and October.
How long do arribadas last?
Arribadas in the rainy season (July–November) last 4 days on average, while arribadas in the dry season (December–June) last 3 days.
PAYMENT & CANCELLATIONS
How much does a turtle tour cost?
The standard fee per person for sea turtle tours in Ostional is $10 for nationals and $20 for foreigners.
What payment methods are accepted?
Most guides accept cash only.
What happens if an arribada does not occur?
If you would like, ask your guide whether they can take you on a solitary nesting sea turtle tour instead. Otherwise, tours are typically only offered during arribadas.
Under what conditions would a tour be cancelled?
Tours will not be cancelled for light rain, but may be cancelled in case of lightning and heavy rains or if there are not enough turtles nesting on the beach. Tours may also be cancelled if the Refuge Administration closes access to the beach for any reason.
Can I cancel my reservation?
Please cancel at least 24 hours before your tour.
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