Leatherback Turtle Tours – Las Baulas National Marine Park

Las Baulas National Marine Park

Las Baulas National Park was created in 1995 to protect the Leatherback Turtles. The National Marine Park protects the beaches of Playa Grande, Playa Ventanas, Playa Carbon, Playa Langosta and the Tamarindo Estuary. Playa Grande, Costa Rica is one of the few remaining nesting grounds for Leatherback Turtles (Las Baulas in Spanish). Las Baulas National Park offers Leatherback Turtle tours with experienced and qualified tour guides. Visitors are prohibited on the beach from sunset to sunrise without an official tour guide.

Leatherback Turtles (Las Baulas)

The Leatherback turtle is the oldest living reptile. Leatherback turtles are also the largest of their species weighing in at up to 2,000 pounds! Unlike other turtles, the Leatherback Turtles have a soft shell.

Leatherback Turtle Tours in Playa Grande

Playa Grande, Costa Rica is home to Las Baulas National Marine Park. The Leatherback turtle tour begins with an education presentation from park rangers. After the presentation guests are asked to wait at the ranger station of Las Baulas National Marine Park. When a Leatherback Turtle is spotted ascending the beach your guide will escort you to her location. The best opportunity to see a Leatherback Turtle will be at high tide when the moon is full. Here is what you can expect to witness:

  • The Leatherback Turtle slowly makes her way to shore and selects her spot
  • She then users her massive flippers to dig out a giant nest in which to lay her eggs
  • This nest must meet her satisfaction in size and depth and if it does not she returns back to the ocean
  • If she is satisfied with the nest she begins to lay her eggs
  • The Leatherback Turtle lays approximately 90 eggs at a time. The turtle eggs look similar to ping pong balls.
  • Once again she uses her massive fins to cover the nest and compress the sand

At this point the Leatherback Turtle turns around and descends to the Pacific Ocean, never to return again to her nest again.

Leatherback Turtle season is October 15th – February 15th. The tour desk at Hotel RipJack Inn is happy to arrange the tour for you. You will need your passports to register with Las Baulas National Park. This is an experience you don’t want to miss as it is truly unique to Playa Grande, Costa Rica!