Tortugas Hotel is the center for the Tamarindo National Wildlife Sanctuary
and Las Baulas National Marine Park. Since pre-historic times Playa
Grande has been on of the world's principal nesting beaches for the
now highly-endangered Giant Leatherback Sea Turtle. This nesting habitat
is one of the most important for the Leatherback turtle (Baula) in the
In 1990 the Sanctuary's legal status was finally passed into law and
this ecologically unique area became part of the Costa Rica National
Park System. The creators of the Las Tortugas Hotel led the 20 year
grass roots struggle, and as a result, tourism and nature share a healthy
marriage here in Playa Grande. Protection of the wildlife area is inherent
to the very nature of the business.
Our entire staff is from families from this area who haved switched from gathering turtle eggs to proudly sharing the wonders of Playa Grande with our guests. Our award-winning facility is approved as environmentally friendly by the New Key Awards, the Costa Rica Audobon, and the Costa Rican Tourist Institute. We designed and handmade the building ourselves. Its temple-like appearance is not an expensive accident. Since turtles are sensitive to light, there are no ocean views to the south where the nesting beach is located. The structure is intended to block light from any future development to the north. The hotel is a model for eco-tourism and sustainable development.
The nesting season for the Giant Leatherback turtle is October through March. Years ago, up to 100 of these dinosauric (max. to 1800 lbs.) sea creatures were spotted nesting at one time. Unfortunately, the herd has been decimated by 90% in the last twenty years, in large part due to the ravages of longline commercial fishing. However, there is usually one turtle nesting per night during the height of the nesting season. Beginning in early January it is common to see the 4-inch baby turtles emerging from the sand and making their way to the ocean, particularly in the early morning hours.
To view the nesting turtles at night, you must take a guided with the park rangers. The Ranger Station is but 100 meters inland from us. The tours run from October 20th to Feb. 15th only. The cost is $25/person. It is important to have an advanced reservation. We can make these reservations for our guests.
We prefer e-mail for reservation requests.
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