Green Turtles in Costa Rica
Tortuguero National Park
Green Sea turtles come to Tortuguero to lay their eggs between July and September (some arrive early in June and might probably later in October). During this time there is extreme surveillance at the beach and several regulations apply for those who want to observe the nesting activity.
The Park establishes these important regulations,
- All visitors must register and be led by a certified local guide to join. (The Lodge helps in arranging these services for its guests)
- There are two trip schedules, one from 8 to 10 pm and another from 10 to 12 midnight. One cannot choose which tour to take, but will be selected by raffle.
- There is maximum capacity of 200 people on each departure.
- The Park establishes 5 base points spread along the beach, and will inform each guide of his base, in order for him to take the participants to this location. (One of these base points is at the beach right in front of Mawamba Lodge). The participants must remain at the base point until one of the certified trackers has confirmed that a turtle is laying its eggs, and will give the guide green light to take the participants to see it.
More important info
Besides all this, visitors must know that all of his actions while on the tour can influence the turtle’s behavior and are asked to follow some simple rules while on the tour,
- Wear black or dark clothes, to avoid disturbing the turtle with reflective colors.
- The use of flashlights, videos or cameras is prohibited. Guides and trackers use a special red light flashlight to which turtles are not sensitive.
- Smoking is not permitted.
- Turtles have a developed sense of smell and it is possible that if anyone wears perfume, smokes or drinks while on the beach, will disturb the nesting process. If needed, wear an odorless cream insect repellant.
Most of what you pay for taking part on the turtle tour goes to the local guides and trackers (plus the beach surveillance), transportation to/from the base points, and conservancy purposes.
Visitors are welcome to enjoy the arrival of the green sea turtles responsibly.
The hatchlings are born 2 months after the turtle has laid its eggs. This means that between September and November, one can witness them at the beach in front of Mawamba Lodge.
If you are a guest around that time, don’t miss going to the beach early morning (between 5 and 6) or late afternoon (between 4:30 and 5:30 am) to try and spot one (or many) of the little turtles on their way to the ocean. It is an incredible sight!.