Ostional Wildlife Refuge

Tour Ostional Wildlife Refuge

Costa Rica
Photo credit
TG23
Ostional Wildlife Refuge
,
Costa Rica

Located along the sun-kissed Pacific coast of the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, the Ostional Wildlife Refuge is a testament to the wonders of the natural world and the importance of conservation. Established in 1984, this refuge, spanning both land and sea, primarily serves as a protection ground for one of the most phenomenal natural events on the planet: the mass nesting of the Olive Ridley sea turtles, known as the "arribada."

The shores of Ostional become a living spectacle during the arribada, which usually occurs once or twice a month around the new moon. Tens of thousands, sometimes even hundreds of thousands, of Olive Ridley turtles crawl ashore, transforming the beach into a moving tapestry of life. The females dig nests and lay their eggs, a ritual passed down through millennia. This mass nesting typically lasts for several days, offering visitors an unparalleled opportunity to witness nature in its most raw and poignant form.

While the Olive Ridley turtles are the main attraction, they are not the refuge's sole inhabitants. Leatherback and Pacific Green turtles are also known to nest here, albeit in smaller numbers. The coastal waters and mangroves teem with marine life, from colorful fish to playful dolphins and the majestic humpback whales that can be spotted during their migratory seasons.

Bird enthusiasts will find the refuge a haven, with a myriad of coastal and migratory birds, including pelicans, frigatebirds, and various species of herons and egrets. The adjoining mangroves and forests add to the refuge's biodiversity, hosting creatures like coatis, iguanas, and an array of tropical birds.

The Ostional Wildlife Refuge isn't just a conservation area; it's a harmonious blend of community and ecology. The local village of Ostional has been granted certain rights to sustainably harvest a portion of the turtle eggs, a unique arrangement that benefits both the community's economic well-being and the conservation of the turtles.

Visitors to the refuge are encouraged to take guided tours. Not only do these tours provide a wealth of information about the turtles and the region's ecology, but they also ensure that the nesting sites are observed respectfully, minimizing disturbances to these ancient mariners.

In essence, Ostional Wildlife Refuge is a place where the rhythms of nature unfold in their most profound form. It's a reminder of the delicate balance that exists between man and nature, and the magic that ensues when they coexist in harmony. Whether you're watching a turtle laboriously make her way ashore or simply soaking in the vastness of the Pacific, Ostional promises an experience that lingers long after the sunsets.

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Geeky Facts about Ostional Wildlife Refuge

Fact 1

The peak season for turtle nesting is rainy season

Fact 2

This refuge is one of the two most important areas in the world for the spawning of the olive ridley turtle.

Fact 3

Between 8 pm and 4 am the majority of turtles arrive.

Tours in Ostional Wildlife Refuge

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