Service 24/7/365

Phone: + (506) 8302-1903

The Ultimate Guide to Turtle Watching in Ostional, Costa Rica

Leatherback turtles at Ostional

Welcome to the enchanting world of sea turtles in Ostional, Costa Rica! In this comprehensive guide, we will take you on a journey through this beautiful wildlife refuge, answering all your questions about the best time to visit, how to get there, and much more. So, let’s dive into the fascinating world of these magnificent creatures and discover how you can make the most of your trip to Costa Rica.

Ostional National Wildlife Refuge: A Turtle Haven

Discovering the Magic of Ostional

Located in the Guanacaste Province of Costa Rica, Ostional National Wildlife Refuge is an essential nesting site for the Olive Ridley, Green, and Leatherback sea turtles. This unique sanctuary provides a protected environment for these amazing creatures, drawing visitors from around the world to witness the breathtaking spectacle of turtle nesting and hatching.

When to Visit: Turtle Seasons in Ostional

The best time to see turtles in Ostional depends on the species you want to observe. Olive Ridley turtles are most active between July and December, while Green and Leatherback turtles nest from October to March. However, the peak season for turtle nesting is between August and October.

Sea turtles are most active during high tide, usually at night. However, during the peak nesting season, you might witness the rare daytime phenomenon known as “arribada,” when thousands of Olive Ridley turtles come ashore to lay their eggs.

Getting to Ostional

Ostional is accessible by car or public transportation. From Liberia or San Jose, you can rent a car and follow the main roads to the Nicoya Peninsula. Alternatively, you can take a bus to Santa Cruz and then catch another bus to Ostional. Keep in mind that the last stretch of the road can be quite challenging, especially during the rainy season, so a 4×4 vehicle is recommended.

Turtle Watching in Costa Rica

Ostional is one of the best places to watch turtles hatch in Costa Rica, but there are other beaches, such as Playa Grande, Tortuguero, and Playa Naranjo, where you can witness this magical event.

When can you see sea turtles in Guanacaste, Costa Rica?

Sea turtles can be seen in Guanacaste from July to December, with the peak nesting season occurring between August and October. Turtles are most active in Costa Rica from July to December, with the peak season between August and October.

Turtle Watching Tips

Sea turtles usually come ashore during high tide at night. However, during the peak nesting season, daytime “arribadas” can occur. Nighttime is generally the best time to see sea turtles, as they are more active during high tide and under the cover of darkness.

Some of the best beaches for turtle watching in Costa Rica include Ostional, Playa Grande, Tortuguero, and Playa Naranjo. The best time to see sea turtles hatch in Costa Rica is during the peak nesting season, between August and October.

Transportation and Logistics

There is a bus from Ostional to Santa Cruz. The bus schedule may vary, so it’s best to check with the local bus station for the most up-to-date information. Fom Nosara there are tours that can take you to Ostional to a turtle tour

Turtle Hatching in Costa Rica

Turtle hatching in Costa Rica typically occurs between August and October, during the peak nesting season. The best time of year to see turtles in Costa Rica is from July to December, with the peak season between August and October.

Snorkeling with Sea Turtles

The best time of day to snorkel with sea turtles is in the early morning or late afternoon when they are more likely to be feeding in shallow waters. Sea turtles generally come to shore at night during high tide to nest, as it provides them with more safety from predators.

Sea Turtle Conservation

Can you touch a baby sea turtle?

Touching baby sea turtles is not recommended, as it can cause harm to the delicate creatures and disrupt their natural behaviors. Always maintain a respectful distance while observing these amazing animals.

Costa Rica is home to a significant number of sea turtles, with Ostional being one of the most important nesting sites in the world. Leatherback turtles can be found nesting on various beaches in Costa Rica, including Playa Grande, Playa Naranjo, and Playa Cabuyal.


Ostional National Wildlife Refuge in Costa Rica offers an unforgettable experience for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts alike. The best time to visit this magical place is between August and October when you can witness the incredible spectacle of sea turtles nesting and hatching. Whether you want to snorkel with sea turtles, marvel at the massive Leatherback turtles, or simply enjoy the breathtaking beauty of Costa Rica’s beaches, Ostional is a must-visit destination for your bucket list.


How can I support sea turtle conservation in Costa Rica?

You can support sea turtle conservation by volunteering with local organizations, making donations, and practicing responsible tourism when visiting nesting sites.

Are guided tours available for turtle watching in Ostional?

Yes, guided tours are available and recommended to ensure a respectful and educational experience while observing the turtles.

What should I bring for a nighttime turtle watching excursion?

Bring a flashlight with a red filter, bug repellent, comfortable clothing, and waterproof footwear for a nighttime turtle watching excursion.

Are drones allowed in Ostional National Wildlife Refuge?

Drones are generally not allowed in protected areas like Ostional without a special permit, as they can disturb wildlife.

How can I ensure my visit to Ostional is eco-friendly?

To ensure an eco-friendly visit, follow guidelines provided by local guides and conservation organizations, maintain a respectful distance from the turtles, and avoid touching or disturbing them.