Refugio National Silvestre Vida Ostional National Park is located in the province of Guanacaste on the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica. It is one of very few nesting grounds of the Olive Ridley sea turtle. It was created on October 24th in 1997. Eight kilometres northwest of Nosara, the beach of Ostional is the scene for a rarely seen and the beach is part of the wider and recently expanded Ostional National Wildlife Refuge, protecting 352 ha of land reserve, including Nosara beach and a marine zone of 8,000 ha.
This is a great place to visit with your entire family especially with the kids. You will need to pay the entry fee of $6 which you can afford easily. You will have to stay in San Juanillo, Samara or Nosara as the park does not organize any lodging or don’t have any accommodation facilities.
You will find mixed deciduous forest species including howler and capuchin monkeys. You will also enjoy the beauty of large mangrove swamps on the northern banks of the Rio Nosara which is the home to over 100 species of birds. You can explore this beautiful place by kyaking. This National park is a protected area for the millions of turtles and also marine life and it is also home to different species of birds.
Ostional and its chocolate colored sand beach make up the park one of the most important nesting grounds in the country for Pacific Green turtles, olive ridley sea turtles and for the Leatherback turtles which come ashore to lay their eggs en mass between July and December months. This event is known as ‘arribada’ and it occurs 4 to 10 times between 3 to 10 days. At this refuge, the largest arribada was occurred in November 1995 and at that time about 500,000 female sea turtles came on shore to nest. August or September is the best time to visit the refuge thousands of turtles streaming onto the beach. You should take a tour with a licensed guide during the egg laying season as tourists who come on their own maybe turned away for the protection of the sea turtles. 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.
Way to the Park:
You can reach the Refugio National Silvestre Vida Ostional National Park by road from either San Juanillo or from Nosara and for reaching Nosara airport it is best to fly in from San Jose area and then catch a local flight to Nosara airport. And from there you can rent a four-wheel drive to the refuge.