The Ostional National Wildlife Refuge, together with Nancite beach at Santa Rosa National Park, is one of the two most important areas in the world for nesting of the Olive Ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea).
Impressive "arrivals" of these quelonians (massive and simultaneous nesting of hundreds of thousands of sea turtles) generally take place once a month, for three to five days at this beach. Occasionally, there is also nesting of the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) and the Pacific green turtle (Chelonia mydas agassizii) at this beach.
At this beach there is also a program for legal and rational utilization of the eggs during the first hours of arrival of the olive ridley turtle, by the Ostional Integral Development Association (ADIO) which is authorized and supervised by the Energy and Environment Ministry (MINAE). This is the only place in Costa Rica where you can observe sea turtles nesting during the entire year with a high probability of success, even on nights without "arrivals".
How to get there?
Ostional beach is located in the Nicoya Peninsula, within the Guanacaste Province, some 50 km from the center of Nicoya city, via Curime-Nosara-Ostional. To get there, one must take a bus from San Jose to Nosara, a route that is taken by the Alfaro bus company. The bus station in San Jose is located 300m north from the main entrance of the San Juan de Dios Hospital and the telephone number for schedule information is 2222-2666.
The trip from Nosara to Ostional must be made by taxi, since there is no bus service due to the condition of the road. A four-wheel drive is necessary if a private vehicle is to be used.
This is possible only during the dry season; the trip is impossible during the rainy season due to the flood tide of the Nosara river which does not allow access. Another option is to take a bus up to Santa Cruz and then another one to Ostional. The Santa Cruz-Ostional bus service leaves from the Santa Cruz market and has only one trip per day, leaving at 12:30 p.m. and returning at 5 a.m.
Planning the visit
The place may be visited during the entire year, with the months of August through October being the high season for nesting, when the largest arrivals occur. Close to the entrance to Ostional there's a post of the Local Guides Association. Contracting a guide service is required to enter the place and may be done right there or by phone to organize a visit. The guides accompany tourists and explain the entire visit. The money collected is used to benefit and develop the community through the association.
Food and lodging
The are several cabins and restaurants in the locality, as well as camping areas. The Guacamayas cabins (telephone: 2682-0430) and the Ostional cabins (telephone: 2682-0428) are located very close to the entrance. Check also the Lora Hills project which offers lodging and tours. For more information about other sites, you may visit web pages http://www.hotels.co.cr or http://www.govisitcostarica.com.
It's possible to perform volunteer work at Ostional. Those interested may communicate directly with the offices of the Ostional Wildlife Refuge at 2682-0400 to obtain more information, with the Volunteers Association ASVO [(506) 8843-2324/ 2258-4430/ 2233-4430/2233-4989, or with Wendy Cruz (email@example.com; tel. 506-8816-9815) from Lora Hills project (www.lorahills.com).
- Ostional Wildlife National Refuge: (506) 2682-0400
- Ostional Local Guides Association: (506) 2682-0430
- Lora Hills Project: (506) 8816-9815