Turtle Watching Playa Grande - Marino Las Baulas

Turtle Watching Playa Grande - Marino Las Baulas

Costa Rica
Costa Rica

When Is the Best Time

The season to spot leatherback turtles or hawksbill sea turtles in the night starts in October and last until March. Best within two hours before and after high tide.
You may see hatchlings until May.


It is typically hot and dry on the north pacific coast even in the rainy season. The dry season is from December to April with temperatures ranging between 31°C/88°F in December and 36°C/96°F in April. 

The rainy season lasts from late May to November. Brief showers are more likely in the afternoon and night. Most rainfall in June, September, and October. Usually, temperatures are above 30°C/86°F. The minimum temperature is above 20°C/68°F throughout the year.

Best Months to Visit


Location and Tips

National Park Marino Las Baulas
Costa Rica
Costa Rica

The Marino Las Baulas National Park was created in 1990 to protect the endangered leatherback turtles eggs from poachers. Hundreds of female leatherbacks come ashore each year to lay their eggs. It is one of the most important nesting sites in Costa Rica. 

To observe turtles, you need to book a guided tour. The ranger let you know when you should be at the turtle protection center in the night. To minimize your impact, you are guided in a small group by a ranger. We were fortunate and observed an approximately 450 kg heavy and 2 m long leatherback turtle laying eggs. At this night arrived a second turtle as well. The next morning, we saw a National Park volunteer digging for eggs in the hatchery to protect them for poachers.

The white sand beaches are incredibly beautiful. The dry tropical forests are home to are a huge variety of wildlife and more than 170 bird species. Several white-throated magpie-jays observed us while having lunch.

Leatherbacks Facts
  • They are the largest sea turtle on earth but unfortunately vulnerable and even endangered in the US.
  • They can be up to 2.4 m / almost 8 feet long. 
  • Weighing up to 900 kg/almost 2000 lbs.
  • They are in existence for more than 150 million years and survived the extinction of the dinosaurs.
  • Their preferred diet is jellyfish.
  • Leatherbacks can be found almost everywhere in the open ocean due to their ability to tolerate cold water. For the mating and nesting season, they migrate to tropical and subtropical coastal regions. 
Top Tip 

Each night only a limited number of visitors are allowed to observe a turtle coming ashore. It's essential to book a guided tour at the Las Baulas ranger station in advance to take part. We asked at our accommodation ton arrange the booking for us. 

Nearby Places
Birding in the Palo Verde National Park
55 km
Birding in the Palo Verde National Park
Book a boat trip for the afternoon on Rio Tempisque; it's an excellent place…
Santa Elena Cloud Forest
111 km
Santa Elena Cloud Forest
The cloud forest of Santa Elena is less popular than Monteverde. It reveals…
Carara National Park is a Top Spot for Macaws
153 km
Carara National Park is a Top Spot for Macaws
The Carara National Park located close to Jaco and 1.5 hours drive from San…
Hiking Through the Braulio Carillo National Park
207 km
Hiking Through the Braulio Carillo National Park
We made a stop for lunch at Quebrada Gonzales station on the way to the coast…
The Breathtaking Manuel Antonio National Park
214 km
The Breathtaking Manuel Antonio National Park
Two beaches Espadilla Sur and Manuel Antonio, are located in the park. Playa…
Irazú Volcano
221 km
Irazú Volcano
Irazu located in the Central Volcanic Mountain Range an hour drive north of…
Created by
Micha Herber-Bleich
Micha Herber-Bleich
I love adventurous trips and my husband…