Pacific & Atlantic Costa Rica Sea Turtle Nesting Beaches
There are several prominent organizations that focus their efforts on the protection and preservation of the sea turtle nesting beaches in Costa Rica including:
- Leatherback Turtle National Park (on the Pacific Coast)
- Tortuguero National Park (on the Atlantic Coast)
- Playa Tambor (on the Nicoya Peninsula)
Turtle Population in Costa Rica
Historically, turtle research only revealed that actual turtle population numbers are very hard to pin down. However, in recent decades many organizations have been able to conduct more accurate research.
Teams composed of scientific experts and enthusiastic caring volunteers observe, count, and even tag several species of turtles on Costa Rica sea turtle nesting beaches.
Humans have caused much of the reduction in world turtle populations. Humans have directly affected turtle habitats and nesting beaches with high-impact fishing, pleasure boating, and by developing encroaching oceanfront properties.
Changes in tourism over the last few years have increasingly helped to improve the world’s sea turtle populations. Tour organizers for today’s sea turtle nesting beaches are now attempting to combine tourism and eco-travel vacations with volunteer activity. This has helped to positively affect and protect endangered turtles and their nesting grounds, while educating curious vacationers.
Pacific Sea Turtle Nesting Season
Costa Rica is home to sea turtle nesting beaches for many species including:
- Giant leatherbacks
- Loggerheads turtles
- Olive Ridley turtles
- Hawksbill turtles
- Green sea turtles
The sea turtles return to these nesting beaches annually all along both the Atlantic and Pacific coastlines but each species has its own season, depending on where the nesting grounds are located.
Leatherback National Park
Leatherback Turtle National Park is located on the Pacific coast north of Guanacaste, Costa Rica. The best time to plan a visit to these sea turtle nesting beaches for the giant leatherback turtles is between the months of October and March.
Leatherback Turtle National Park was created to protect, study, and improve the population of hundreds of giant leatherback turtles that nest here annually. Giant leatherbacks are the world’s largest turtles and can grow in excess of 6-feet long, and weigh up to 2,000 pounds or more!
Atlantic Sea Turtle Nesting Season
Tortuguero Costa Rica is one of the prime areas for ongoing research as well as Atlantic sea turtle preservation and eco tourism.
Costa Rica has developed some excellent programs for turtle conservation including the Green Turtle Research Station in Tortuguero National Park.
Tortuguero’s Atlantic sea turtle nesting season may vary depending on the turtle species that is nesting at different times of the year. Each species nests here for about three months or more.
- Leatherback Turtles (March – May)
- Hawksbill Turtles (March – October)
- Atlantic Sea Turtles (July – September)
- Loggerhead Turtles (July – September)
- Green Sea Turtles (July – October)
The John H. Phipps Green Turtle Research Station in Tortuguero Costa Rica, along with the Caribbean Conservation Corporation (and other such organizations), focuses their efforts on different turtle species, depending on the nesting season.
Research teams for the Atlantic sea turtle nesting beaches will tag the turtles as they come ashore to bury their eggs. In many cases the researchers are also able to re-direct turtles that become disoriented by lights from condominiums and beachfront residences. In one study, teams were able to help turtles hatch nearly 3,000 eggs, with a minimum of disorientation or predator interference.
Costa Rica Ecotourism Raises Turtle Awareness
To increase awareness and appreciation for Costa Rica’s Pacific and Atlantic sea turtle nesting beaches (and their inhabitants), research projects usually coincide with several tourism activities, such as the Green Market, various festivals (with live acoustic music), beach parades, and more.
During these events, various table displays and shops offer different types of turtle themed gear, including T-shirts, wooden ornaments, and even license plates that spell out the word “turtle.” All souvenirs and activities are planned with conservation and turtle welfare in mind.
Visit this blog page to explore more Costa Rica Beaches.
Endangered Hawksbill Turtles
In addition to the Leatherbacks and Green Sea Turtles, the Hawksbill turtle is of particular interest to science and eco-tourists. Hawksbill turtles were placed on the endangered list over 40 years ago.
The Hawksbill turtle species is a medium-size sea turtle that generally nests between late March and October each year. The Hawksbill turtle is commonly found in the Caribbean Ocean and the western parts of the Atlantic. The alarming decline in Hawksbill numbers is primarily due to human predators who hunted the species for its shell.
Costa Rica Tours Includes Sea Turtle Nesting Beaches
The sea turtle nesting beach at Playa Tambor is one of this country’s most popular tourist draws. The nesting beaches and Caravan’s accompanying naturalist tour guides, offer Caravan travelers the opportunity to learn about and help protect endangered turtle species while enjoying nature.
Currently Caravan Tours includes a visit to the Playa Tambor along Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast on the Nicoya Peninsula.
Check out the affordably priced, 8-day Natural Paradise tour for up-to-date travel itineraries, tour dates, hotel accommodations, FAQ’s, and more. You can also read fellow traveler’s reviews for this tour.
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