After a large mob of tourists made headlines worldwide for interfering with nesting sea turtles in Costa Rica earlier this month, thousands of olive ridleys have returned to Ostional beach this week. Unlike the last time, when mobs of tourists prevented the turtles from laying their eggs, the beach was mostly clear of visitors.
Last weekend hundreds of tourists crowded the beach at Ostional Wildlife Refuge in Guanacaste, preventing several olive ridley sea turtles from nesting along the coastline, as they do every year. Some tourists touched the turtles, others stood on top of the nests, and parents placed their children on top of the turtles to take photographs.
PLAYA OSTIONAL, Guanacaste – By 7 p.m., it is already impossibly dark to read the signs on buildings. Every 100 meters or so, a singular yellow street lamp illuminates a small, dim area of the dirt road. The road is bumpy and it is dangerously difficult to see the dips and holes from dried tire marks in the mud.
Some of the world’s largest concentrations of blue whales, dolphins and sea turtles sit just off of Costa Rica’s shores. For years, this biological hot spot, known as the Central American Dome, has been an unregulated haven for fishermen. Now a group of ocean conservationists and National Geographic filmmakers hope to change that.