Witness Giant Leatherback Turtles Nesting on Playa Grande Costa Rica!
If Costa Rica is your 2011 vacation destination and you love wildlife, then head down to Las Baulas Marine National Park just outside of the bustling beach town of Playa Tamarindo! Las Baulas Marine National Park is one of the most important nesting areas for Giant Leather Back turtles in the world and is located on Playa Grande along Costa Rica’s Pacific Gold Coast in the province of Guanacaste.
For those who have always wanted to see giant sea turtles nesting, Costa Rica is one of the few places in the world that offers the opportunity to witness one of nature’s most spectacular miracles. The Giant Leather Back turtle nesting season at Las Baulas National Park on Playa Grande extends from October through to February with hundreds of turtles coming ashore to dig out nests with their flippers and lay up to 100 of their eggs, a process that can often take up to three hours.
Baby Leather Back turtles hatch within 45-54 days and their sex is determined by temperature. Although the sea turtle hatchlings usually emerge during nightfall it is not uncommon to see them during the day on Playa Grande. If you spot a small turtle while on vacation in Costa Rica, try not to pick it up, instead encourage it to the shoreline.
Leather back turtles are the largest of sea turtles and can grow to up to 1.5 meters in length weighing an incredible 350 kg. Every year, up to 800 female sea turtles nest on Playa Grande, Playa Langosta, Playa Ventanas and Playa Carbon; the four beaches that incorporate Las Baulas Marine National Park along Guanacaste’s Pacific Gold Coast. Leatherbacks are known as Baulas in Costa Rica which has given the National Park its name.
If you are planning to visit the beaches of Playa Grande, Playa Langosta, Playa Ventanas or Playa Carbon at night, when most turtles come ashore, you must be accompanied by a registered local tour guide. The tour guides are responsible for the protection of the Leather Back sea turtles and their nests at Las Baulas Marine National Park. The ranger station at Playa Grande is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day and guided bilingual tours are available with restricted visitors permitted during the evening.