The Pacific Sea Turtle Expedition is how we have called our project to watch the annual mythical event of the sea turtles’ arrival, known as “Arribada” in Spanish. To enjoy the event, you need a strategic place to stay very close to the beach. Year after year, groups captivated by this ritual stay at L’acqua Viva Hotel, thanks to its incredible natural surroundings and its perfect location.
From the hotel, it only takes 15 minutes to reach the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge, one of the few privileged areas in Costa Rica where sea turtles lay their eggs. In fact, this Costa Rica wildlife refuge is the second largest nesting site in the world. Turtles nest at Ostional all year round, but the most common nesting periods are from July through December. This is when you can have one of the most beautiful opportunities to be in touch with Mother Nature.
What does “Arribada” or “arrival” exactly mean? It refers to the massive arrival of sea turtles, a magnificent experience of nature that lets you count thousands of sea turtles laying their eggs on the sand.
Some people have associated the nesting season on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica with the moon phases and tides, but the truth is that you can find turtles laying their eggs on Ostional Beach throughout the year. Close to the last quarter moon cycle, the mass arrival begins with a few hundred turtles appearing on the shore; then, for a number of days you will see a non-stop stream of these slow but determined animals arriving and then returning to the sea.
The size and duration of the mass arrivals vary according to the season of the year. During the dry season, from December to April, nesting turtles can be counted by the thousands, and the arrival period lasts four days. Meanwhile, rainy season, from June to November, brings to our astonished eyes the longest mass arrivals that you can imagine, with hundreds of thousands of sea turtles building their nests to carefully release new lives on the Earth; during the rainy season, the arrival period lasts between eight and 10 days.
At the end of each expedition, a new spirit is discovered. Fatigue disappears and there is an extraordinary satisfaction at having witnessed a unique and fascinating ceremony of Mother Nature. It is not only the miraculous cycle of a species, but a universal tribute to all species and a great promise of life on Earth.