Ostional Wildlife Reserve, Costa Rica

Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica

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The Ostional Wildlife Reserve extends 15 km along the shoreline, including the beaches of Ostional, Nosara and Guiones. It is only a narrow, 200 m wide strand of beach, but extends inland along the estuaries of the rivers and mangrove swamps where it also protects large colonies of birds. Offshore the reserve incorporates another 3 miles stretch of maritime zone. The beach of Ostional is the scenery for the biological wonder of sea turtle nesting when sometimes hundreds of thousand sea turtles come to one specific mile of beach at Ostional to dig their eggs into the black, volcanic sand. Turtles nest at Ostional year round, but peak time is during rainy season (August-December). ”Arribadas”(Arrivals) occur regularly once, sometimes even twice a month, and the numbers of nesting females are in the range of hundreds of thousands as opposed to tens of thousands for the dry season months. Usually the arribadas occur during the darkest nights: a few days before the new moon, between 8 pm and 4 am. During arribada, you must check in with the ranger booth at the southern end of Ostional where you pay the entrance fee of $10. These fees, along with any donation, are your welcome contribution to the on-going conservation and protection of the sea turtles. No flashlights or flash photography is permitted. © Flickr/Steven Gerner

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