A trip to the Ostional Wildlife Refuge in Guanacaste, Costa Rica is sure to be both fun and educational. Here, sea turtles nest by the thousands during arribadas, greeted by the warm beaches.

Ostional Wildlife Refuge: Where Nature's Miracles Unfold

A Pristine Coastal Paradise

With over 200 acres of untouched coastal wilderness, the Ostional Wildlife Refuge is a testament to the unspoiled beauty of Costa Rica's Pacific shores. Its long stretches of sandy beaches, rocky outcrops, and lush mangrove forests provide refuge not only for wildlife but also for those seeking an authentic connection with nature.

A Sanctuary for Sea Turtles

At the heart of the refuge lies a phenomenon that has captured the imagination of nature lovers worldwide – the nesting of sea turtles. Ostional is home to one of the largest olive ridley sea turtle nesting sites in the world. Every year, these gentle giants make their pilgrimage to these shores to lay their precious eggs, a mesmerizing spectacle that occurs nowhere else with such frequency and abundance.

Arribadas: Nature's Grand Spectacle

The highlight of Ostional Wildlife Refuge is the arribada, a mass nesting event where thousands of olive ridley turtles converge on the beach to lay their eggs simultaneously. Witnessing this incredible phenomenon is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that leaves visitors in awe of the power and beauty of nature. Arribadas typically occur during the rainy season, but timing can vary, so it's best to plan your visit accordingly.

Conservation at Its Core

The refuge is not just a witness to nature's wonders but an active protector of them. Local communities and dedicated conservationists collaborate to ensure the safety of nesting turtles and their hatchlings. Guided tours and educational programs provide visitors with insights into the delicate balance of marine ecosystems and the challenges these turtles face.

Olive ridley sea turtles at Playa Ostional, Costa Rica

Beyond Turtles: Avian Abundance

While sea turtles steal the spotlight, Ostional is also a haven for avian enthusiasts. The refuge is home to a diverse array of bird species, including magnificent frigatebirds, brown pelicans, and the striking blue heron. Birdwatching in the mangrove forests and along the shoreline is a delightful activity for those eager to explore the avian wonders of the refuge.

Eco-Conscious Exploration

Visitors to Ostional can immerse themselves in nature without leaving a significant footprint. Eco-friendly accommodations and sustainable practices ensure that your stay aligns with the refuge's conservation goals. Enjoy quiet beach walks, guided turtle tours, and coastal exploration, all while contributing to the protection of this fragile ecosystem.

Join the Conservation Effort

By visiting Ostional Wildlife Refuge, you become part of a global conservation effort to protect endangered sea turtles and their habitats. Your presence supports the refuge's ongoing research, education, and advocacy work, helping to ensure a brighter future for these remarkable creatures. Visitors must the services of guides and tours for entrance when turtles are present. Turtles nest in the evening, so it is recommended to go to the park after 6 p.m.  Admission to the refuge during arribadas is $10 USD and includes a local guide.

Ostional Wildlife Refuge: Nature's Sanctuary

In the heart of Costa Rica's Pacific coast, the Ostional Wildlife Refuge stands as a sanctuary where nature's miracles unfold. It's a place where sea turtles reign supreme, and the beauty of biodiversity is celebrated and safeguarded. Come and be part of a timeless spectacle that reminds us of the wonders of the natural world.

Weather and packing list

The Northwest Pacific is one of the driest climates in Costa Rica. The beach areas have a fairly steady year round temperature with daytime highs averaging in the upper 80s to lower 90s. Night time lows are usually in the upper 70s. Precipitation varies through the year with the nicest weather between November and August.

Visitors should pack a bathing suit, towel, shorts, tee shirts, appropriate shoes, rain gear, sun block, and insect repellent.

Fun Fact: The turtles that nest here were also born here. Scientists believe that they can literally smell the beach they came from for hundreds of miles!

Nearby Destinations

Nosara7 km
Samara35 km
Tamarindo60 km
Flamingo Beach73 km
Malpais-Santa Teresa132 km


Latitude: N 9° 59' 26.45"
Longitude: W 85° 41' 55.86"

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