Some 19km east along the Toco Main Road from Valencia, the elongated town of MATURA consists of a police station, school, health centre, a handful of grocery stores and residential houses slung along a mile of tarmac. Other than stopping for a drink, the only reasons to spend any time in the area are the beach – a windswept, 4km stretch of fine yellow sand strewn with coconut husks and flotsam and jetsam washed up by the fearsome waves – and a wide waterfall and river pool, a good three-hour hike up the Matura River led by guides at Nature Seekers. There are two entrances to the beach, both marked by Forestry Division signs; the first a potholed tarmac and gravel road from the centre of Matura, and the other reached from the far side of town down a dirt track, and signposted Rincon Beach. Though local people often take a dip, it’s not a place for the uninitiated to swim, as the currents are extremely powerful. The beach is a protected area and a permit and guide are required at all times to enter, due to the presence of Matura’s real attraction: the leatherback turtles which haul themselves onto the sand to lay eggs.

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