Hundreds of sea turtles came ashore Thursday in Ostional, Costa Rica, during the latest arribada, a mass nesting that can last several days.
The Ostional Wildlife Reserve announced the beginning of the September 2021 arribada on its Facebook page:
During an arribada, as many as 300,000 sea turtles can arrive at the beach over several days.
Once the female turtles have reached a suitable site, the turtles use their back flippers to excavate the nest, leaving behind roughly 100 leathery eggs, each about the size of a ping-pong ball. After the eggs are in the sand, the turtles cover up the nest. For good measure, the turtles rock back and forth, making loud thumping sounds as they “dance” over the nest to compact the sand and camouflage it.
Local efforts to protect turtles have intensified since an incident in 2015 when tourists eager to watch the turtles’ arrival interfered with their nesting.
Today, the rules are much stricter. If visitors want to stand among the sea turtles, they need to be accompanied by a local guide and travel in small groups.
Travelers can get a local guide on the main (and only) road through Ostional at a small green cinderblock building leading toward the beach.
The featured photo shows Olive Ridley turtles arriving at Ostional Beach in 2014.