The Turtles

On the South Pacific beaches of Osa Costa Rica there are 4 species of sea turtles which can potentially be seen nesting at different times of the year:
  • Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea),
  • Green (Chelonia mydas),
  • Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea)
  • Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata).

Playa Tortuga is primarily an Olive Ridley turtle nesting beach (although it is possible that other species occasionally arrive), and thanks to the efforts of the Reserve, was officially declared a nesting beach in 2014.

The nesting period extends from July to December, with the peak of nesting in the months of September and October.  During this period it is possible to observe an individual turtle nesting every other night, sometimes up to two or three at a time.
Due to an inherent poaching threat, most nests are moved to the Reserve’s protected nursery/hatchery where staff and volunteers monitor and observe the area 24/7.
In the hatchery, important data about the biology of the turtles’ nests is gathered, such as the incubation period, nest temperature and how this influences the sex of the hatchlings, as well as observing environmental factors such as precipitation and physical environmental factors.
In the past two seasons we have successfully protected over 140 nests and released 5,000+ hatchlings (each nest contains on average 100 eggs).