Turtles in Costa Rica - When and Where - Edventure Travel

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Best Places to See Sea Turtles

Costa Rica is home to an impressive five out of the world’s seven sea turtle species. With its two distinct coasts, it stands as one of the best destinations globally to see these magnificent creatures.

Sea turtles always return to the beach of their birth to lay their eggs, often covering staggering distances to get there. Witnessing sea turtles nesting on the beach, which usually happens at night time, is an extraordinary experience.

If spotting turtles is on your bucket list, keep reading. In this blog, you’ll discover where and when you can witness sea turtles in Costa Rica.

  • Olive Ridley
  • Leatherback
  • Hawksbill
  • Green turtle
  • Loggerhead

Located on the north Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, Tortuguero sees four out of the five turtles species nesting, with the green sea turtle being the most prevalent.

🐢: July to late September
🐣: Late september to early December


Approximately 40 kilometers south of Tortuguero lies Barra Pacuare, where you can spot the leatherback turtle, known for its unique hard leather shell.

🐢: March to July
🐣: June and July


Further south on the Caribbean coast, in the Gandoca Manzanillo Reserve, you have the chance to spot leatherback, green, and loggerhead turtles.

🐢: March to June
🐣: June and July

Playa Grande

Situated on the north Pacific coast in the Guanacaste province, Playa Grande is not only great for surfing but also for observing leatherback turtles.

🐢: November to early February
🐣: December to May

Playa Ostional

Ostional stands out as one of the most remarkable places to spot sea turtles in Costa Rica, particularly the Olive Ridley turtle, which can arrive in extraordinary numbers, known as the ‘arribada.’

🐢: August to November
🐣: November to May

Watching Turtles on Your Trip

If you’re eager to witness sea turtles on your travels in Costa Rica, a bit of luck is involved, but Edventure Travel’s experts are well-versed in the best locations and are eager to assist in planning your ideal trip.

Contact us for a tailor-made travel quote or create your own journey by exploring our destinations.