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The Amazing Sea Turtle Arrivals in Costa Rica

Five different kinds of sea turtles arrive on Costa Rica's coasts every year, including the Leatherback turtle, the biggest sea turtle in the world.

Costa Rica is privileged to have two coasts, the Pacific and the Caribbean coast, and you can watch these animals nest and hatch on both coasts. In this article, we will walk you through the best times and places to watch sea turtles so you don't miss out on anything.

Olive Ridley Turtle


The Olive Ridley Turtle got its name from its olive-green shell. The turtle can grow up to be about 60-70cm long and reaches a weight of 34-45kg. You can watch them year-round nesting and hatch along Costa Rica's Pacific coast, mostly at Ostional (Guanacaste), Playa Naranjo and Playa Nancite (Santa Rosa National Park, Guanacaste), Playa Hermosa (Central Pacific Coast) and at the Osa Peninsula (South Pacific Coast). The best time to see them nesting is from July to December. From September to February you can see the many baby turtles hatching.


 Green Sea Turtle


The Green Sea Turtle has a length of 78-120cm and weighs about 68-180kg. The Pacific Green Sea Turtle nests all year at the Pacific coast with a peak from December to March and hatches also all over the year, mostly from December to May. It can be seen in Guanacaste and at the Osa Peninsula. From June to November, the Atlantic Green Sea Turtle nests at the beaches from Tortuguero to Manzanillo. They are hatching from July to December at the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica.

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Hawksbill Sea Turtle

The Hawksbill Sea Turtle grows up to be around 76-89cm long, with a weight range of 40-68kg. The critically endangered turtle arrives at both of Costa Rica's coasts all around the year. They are mostly seen at Playa Grande in Guanacaste and the Osa Peninsula on the Pacific Coast, as well as in Tortuguero and Manzanillo on the Caribbean Coast.


Loggerhead Sea Turtles

Picture by: El País

Loggerhead Sea Turtles measure up to around 84-122cm in length and weigh about 80-180kg. Between May and August, they can be seen in Tortuguero and Manzanillo.


Leatherback Sea Turtle


The Leatherback Sea Turtle, measuring 182-220cm, is the biggest of its kind and weighs between 272-680kg. Its shell feels, compared to the shells of other sea turtles, leather-like and not that hard. From October to March they can be seen nesting, and from December to May, hatching at the Pacific Coast, mostly at Las Baulas National Marine Park in Guanacaste, which was named after the Leatherback turtle, Playa Grande (Guanacaste) and at the Osa Peninsula at the South Pacific Coast. From February to July they nest at the Caribbean Coast and are hatching between April and September. They can be seen in Tortuguero, Manzanillo.



The most popular beaches to witness the Sea Turtles' arrival and egg-laying, as well as watching the little turtles hatch is in Ostional, the Osa Peninsula and Tortuguero. It is possible to see turtles all throughout the year, though it cannot be granted. Local rangers and guides know about 8 days prior if turtles will be arriving or not and let the people know. The Asociacion de Guias Locales Ostional (Local Guides Association Ostional) informs the people via Facebook.

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