Nature is abundant with wonders, but some phenomena are so spectacular that they transcend imagination. One such event is the turtle nesting spectacle at the Ostional Wildlife Reserve. For families thirsting for both adventure and education, a trip to this reserve in Costa Rica offers a magical blend. Journey with us as we delve into what makes Ostional a cherished destination for travelers and why it should be on every family’s bucket list.
Ostional Wildlife Reserve – Nature’s Grand Theater
Nestled on the Nicoya Peninsula’s shores, the Ostional Wildlife Reserve is a sanctuary spanning over 200 hectares of land and sea. Its fame largely comes from being one of the world’s most important nesting sites for the olive ridley sea turtle. The sheer magnitude of turtle nesting here, particularly during the rainy season, is a sight so surreal that it leaves indelible memories on every visitor’s heart.
5 Memorable Family Activities in and Around Ostional
- Witness the Arribada: This is the mass nesting phenomenon where thousands of turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. Witnessing this event is the epitome of the turtle nesting experience at the Ostional Wildlife Reserve. Families can camp out during the night, guided by rangers, to see these ancient mariners in their most vulnerable, yet awe-inspiring moments.
- Guided Tours of the Reserve: While turtles are the main draw, the reserve is teeming with other wildlife. Take a guided tour to discover diverse bird species, monkeys, and iguanas. The knowledgeable guides often share fascinating insights, making it both fun and educational for kids.
- Surfing at Playa Ostional: Just adjacent to the reserve is Playa Ostional. Given its consistent waves, it’s an excellent spot for both novice and experienced surfers. Families can take group lessons and enjoy riding the waves together.
- Hiking the Nearby Trails: The areas surrounding the reserve boast some scenic hiking trails. These trails are moderate in difficulty, making them perfect for family excursions. As you trek, keep an eye out for wildlife, especially the vibrant bird species.
- Interactive Workshops: Some local organizations offer workshops on turtle conservation. These are interactive sessions where families can learn about the life cycle of turtles, threats they face, and how conservation efforts, like those at Ostional Wildlife Reserve, are making a difference.
Stay at The Gilded Iguana: A Surf Hotel
After days filled with adventure, families need a relaxing haven. The Gilded Iguana, known for its surf-centric approach, is the perfect blend of comfort and Costa Rican charm. Located conveniently near Ostional.
But it’s not just for solo wave riders. With spacious family rooms, a dedicated surf school, and a pool to laze around, it caters to travelers of all ages. Parents can relish the gourmet offerings at the hotel’s restaurant, while kids can enjoy at the play zone. It’s an experience that beautifully marries adventure with relaxation.
Getting to Ostional Wildlife Reserve
To reach the Ostional Wildlife Reserve:
- By Air: The nearest airport is Nosara Airport. From here, it’s about a 30-minute drive to Ostional. Many hotels, including The Gilded Iguana, offer shuttle services.
- By Road: If you’re coming from Liberia, take Route 21 to Route 160. The journey is approximately 2.5 hours. Though it’s a scenic drive, during the rainy season, some parts of the road can be challenging. A 4×4 vehicle is recommended.
Nature has a profound way of teaching and mesmerizing us, and the turtle nesting at Ostional Wildlife Reserve stands as a testament to that. This isn’t just a trip; it’s an immersive experience where families bond, not just with each other, but with nature itself.
If you’ve had the privilege of witnessing the arribada or have stories from your stay at The Gilded Iguana, share your memories below. Let’s inspire more families to embark on this unforgettable journey.