Costa Rica // Guanacaste //

Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Ostional

Eight kilometres northwest of Nosara, Ostional and its chocolate-coloured-sand beach make up the REFUGIO NACIONAL DE VIDA SILVESTRE OSTIONAL, one of the most important nesting grounds in the country for olive ridley turtles who come ashore to lay their eggs en masse. If you’re in town during the first few days of the arribadas, you’ll see local villagers with horses, carefully stuffing their big, thick bags full of eggs and slinging them over their shoulders. This is quite legal: villagers of Ostional and Nosara are allowed to harvest eggs, for sale or consumption, during the first three days of the season only. Don’t be surprised to see them barefoot, rocking back and forth on their heels as if they were crushing grapes in a winery; this is the surest way to pick up the telltale signs of eggs beneath the sand. You can’t swim comfortably at Ostional though, since the water’s very rough and is plagued by sharks, for whom turtle nesting points are like all-you-can-eat buffets.