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Thursday, September 29, 2022

Sea turtles come to Costa Rican shore in October arribada

Sea turtles began coming ashore Tuesday 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 October 2021 arribada on its Facebook page:

“Today began the mass nesting phenomenon of olive ridley turtles, a phenomenon known as Arribada, in Ostional beach,” they wrote.

“To visit the Refuge it is necessary to coordinate a reservation with the Accredited Community Guides of Ostional, before arriving in the community. Visitors who do not have a reservation will not be served.”

During the arribada, access to Ostional Beach is restricted to visitors with authorized guides.

Those who visit Ostional during an arribada will see a phenomenon unlike almost any other.

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.

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