Our day started out early heading over to see a possible option of a house to move to when our rental is finished in December. Our friend Matt had a lead so we went over to have a look. A bit far from the ocean but a nice place. We decided to take off from there and head over to Ostional to see the arribada, the running of the turtles, more or less. But first, a quick stop in Paraiso for a couple of Monsters and some snacks to hold us over. The town was hopping on a Saturday with soccer games on the fields and the usual beer tippling crew in front of the store.
The road out to Lagarto and points beyond has gone to total $h!@ and the 25 mile drive took over an hour and a half. Some of the potholes went as deep as China so we did our best not to fall into them. Mud bogs, washboard and war zone style craters kept us on the edge of our seats. The cool part of the adventure is that you never know what you’re going to see out on the dirt highways and sketchy bridges of Guanacaste.
We made it down to the Ostional National turtle refuge and signed on with a guide. Visitors are only allowed with an escort in groups of nine or less. Our guia was a local lady named Jamie who walked us down about a kilometer or so to the area where the Olive Ridleys were hauling out and laying their eggs. The refuge hires only locals and the moneys collected pay them and contribute to turtle protection along the coast.
We came upon the arribada and being mindful of the turtles, watched in awe as waves of new arrivals crawled up onto the sand passing those that were finished laying their eggs working their way back into the sea. Heads were bobbing out in the line up as a seemingly never ending bale of turtles continued showing up on the beach.
Further up on the sand, the dutiful Ridleys were excavating their nests and depositing clusters of ping pong ball looking eggs before burying them and making the exhausting drag back down to the water. Small groups of tourists were scattered about taking in the National Geographic moment.
I was surprised to come across a few babies heading out to sea along side the adults. There were only a few from some earlier nesting but it was awesome to see them crawling side by side and disappearing off into the warm Costa Rica sea. Jamie did her best to get us herded back together and heading home. A full on rainstorm engulfed us on the walk back soaking me to the bone. No amount of rain could dampen our excitement at seeing the turtle nesting.
So, it was back the way we came, sloshing through the mud and dodging pot holes. We made a short stop in Marbella for water and continued home to watch the lightning from the dry shelter of Casa Playa Blanca.