Archeological evidence suggests that people have been coming to the area now designated as the ISLA CAÑAS WILDLIFE RESERVE to hunt turtles and harvest their eggs for many centuries, although the island was only settled in the 1960s. Since 1988, the hunting of turtles here has been prohibited and a co-operative has been established to control the harvest. Members watch over the beaches at night and collect the eggs as soon as they are laid, keeping eighty percent for sale and consumption and moving the rest to a nursery where the turtles can hatch and return to the sea in safety.

A night-time turtle walk, at least half an hour in each direction along the beach, will set you back about US$15/group. Torch use is stringently rationed as the turtles are frightened by the piercing beams. The long, near-silent walk along soft sand, the lapping water and the incredible number of stars may just lull you to sleep on your feet. The functional but unmemorable main village on Isla Cañas is prepared for visitors – as are the mosquitoes and sandflies.

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