Insights on Travel from Costa Rica Expeditions’ Founder Michael Kaye and his Expert Friends.

The Turtles are Nesting in Tortuguero, Costa Rica.

This post was published on May 6 in a slightly different form in the Huffington Post.

The Atlantic Green Sea Turtles have just started to nest on the beach in Tortuguero. To start only a few turtles nest each night.  In July and August, at the peak of the season, on a good night as many as 240 turtles will nest on a mile of beach.

Being there to see these 300 pound creatures come up on the beach and lay their eggs is one of the most moving wildlife experiences on the planet.

Since  Costa Rica Expeditions, owns and operates Tortuga Lodge in Tortuguero, you might think that the reason I love turtle nesting is we have the lodge. In fact it is the other way around. The reason we have the lodge is because I love turtle nesting.  Here’s why:

You stand just a few feet from her as she digs her nest and lays her eggs. Then you watch her return to the ocean.  You have experienced part of her lifetime adventure…

Many years ago, she broke out of her egg, climbed up through the warm sand, and stumbled down to the ocean shore – through a gauntlet of predators.  Perseverance was the first chapter of her life.

She is the one in 10,000 who survived.

She roamed through thousands of miles of ocean before she returned to this very beach where she was born at least 25 years ago.  Now she’s big, protected by her big shell and a long life of adventures have made her strong.

For her species, it’s been going on for 11 million years.  Hundreds of thousands of generations of her relatives all had to survive to bring her to this place.

She’ll emerge from the ocean, dig her nest, lay up to 140 eggs, cover her nest, perhaps dig a false nest to throw off predators and return to the ocean, where natural and man-made dangers await her.

But for now, her cycle of life has begun a new.

The first time I watched a turtle nest on the beach at Tortuguero over 30 years ago I went to bed wondering.  Where she is now, and how is she’s doing?  Every time since I wonder the same thing.

For information on prominent worldwide nesting sites and seasons, click here.

For interesting facts about Green Sea Turtles click here.

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1 Comment

  • At May 19, 2011
    6:34:54 am
    Shannon Borrego said:

    I had the privilege of witnessing the end of the turtle nesting season last October while staying at Tortuguero Lodge. Photos and videos don’t do justice to the experience. As the first rays of dawn broke over the beach, William, our guide, led us to an area in the sand where a handful of newly-hatched turtles emerged from their nest and began scrambling towards the ocean. We cheered each step of their progress as they struggled over flotsam and around pieces of driftwood towards the sound of the waves. When the tiny hatchlings finally made it and the tide swept them out to sea, I think we all had tears in our eyes. And, of course, returning to the lodge for Costa Rican coffee and a hot breakfast was the perfect conclusion to our amazing pre-dawn adventure.