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Costa Rica Leatherback Turtle Park & Nesting Beach
Update - Although Leatherback Turtle Park is not currently part of our Costa Rica tour, Caravan Tours remains a proud supporter of their ongoing conservation efforts.
Costa Rica has made impressive efforts in the past 3+ decades to protect the endangered giant leatherback turtle. Leatherback Turtle Park and nesting grounds are located on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica approximately 165 miles (265km) from San Jose.
Learn More About Our Caravan Costa Rica Tour
Call Caravan at 1-800-CARAVAN (227-2826)
Costa Rica Leatherback Turtle Facts
Costa Rica’s giant leatherback sea turtles are not only the world’s largest sea turtles but also:
- The heaviest
- Swim the furthest
- Dive the deepest
- Dive the longest
Leatherback turtles are also designated as an endangered species and protected by international law.
Giant leatherback turtle migration is the furthest of any type of turtle since it can be found in every part of the world except the Arctic and Antarctic. They have been known to swim more than 3,700 miles (5,955 km) one way to return to their Costa Rica nesting grounds.
Soft Leathery Shell
Giant leatherback turtles are also the only turtles that do not have a hard bony shell. Their shell is soft, leathery, and flexible.
Interesting Turtle Facts
The turtles found at Leatherback Turtle Park are simply amazing. They can:
- Weigh more than 1,500 lbs (680 kg)
- Grow up to 6 feet long or longer
- Dive down to depths of 4,200 feet (1,280 metres)
- Stay underwater for as long as 85 minutes
- Live as long as 45 years in the wild
- Lay up to 80 eggs within 2 hours
- Nest up to 7 times each season
- Reproduce every 3-4 years
- Eat only jellyfish
Nesting Season at Leatherback Turtle Park
Costa Rica's leatherback turtle nesting season is between October and February each year. Once the eggs are laid, the females return to the ocean, leaving the eggs to hatch (and the baby turtles to survive) on their own.
Costa Rica leatherback turtles mate at sea so all male giant leatherback turtles spend their entire life at sea. Only the females return to their place of birth to nest and lay their eggs, which only happens at night.
Interestingly, more female turtles are hatched when nest temperatures are higher and more male turtles are hatched when the nest temperatures are cooler.
Declining Leatherback Turtle Population
Leatherback turtles used to number in the millions worldwide but today the global nesting female population is estimated to be only about 35,000 and only 1 in 1,000 hatchlings will live to be adults.
In the 1980s these Pacific Coast Costa Rica beaches at Leatherback Turtle Park were covered by hundreds of nesting female leatherback turtles each night. That number has since dwindled down to less than half a dozen per night and unfortunately, this decline is a worldwide trend.
It is estimated that we’ve lost as much as 95% of the leatherback turtle population in the last two decades alone.
Costa Rica Leatherback Turtle National Park
It is this threat of extinction that in 1991 prompted Costa Rica to create the Leatherback Turtle National Park and Wildlife Refuge (aka Las Baulas Marine National Park or Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas).
Baulas is the Costa Rican name for leatherback turtles.
The conservation work is ongoing. Some Costa Rica leatherback turtle nesting beaches are restricted and accessible only to those conducting research.
Leatherback Turtle Park, however, has two accessible protected nesting beaches including Playa Grande and Playa Langosta (Big Beach and Lobster Beach respectively).
There are only 7 leatherback turtle nesting beaches remaining worldwide. Although Leatherback Turtle Park is only 4 miles long, it is home to the largest nesting beach in the Pacific Ocean and the level of protection it offers is the best in the world.
All the Leatherback Turtle Park beaches are now under continuous surveillance by sea turtle advocacy groups, conservation workers, and park guards. Most of what we have learned about leatherback turtles has been from research done on the beaches of Costa Rica over the past three decades.
Book Your Costa Rica Tour with Caravan
Caravan Tours has been one of America’s most respected tour companies. We’ve been providing all-inclusive, fully guided tours since 1952 throughout the United States, Canada, and Latin America.
In 2022, we celebrate our 70th anniversary as a family-owned tour company!
Contact our Costa Rica tour experts to make reservations now and come discover Costa Rica.
Call toll-free at 1-800-Caravan (227-2826)
Why Travel with Caravan?
Why Travel with Caravan?
Excellence Since 1952
You can trust our years of experience with tours of superb quality and excellent value. Caravan has enjoyed the same family management and ownership since 1952.
Caravan's Proud History
In 1965, Roger Mudd hosted a two-hour CBS TV special on Caravan Tours. This TV production took about one month to make and was so successful it inspired the 1968 romantic comedy movie “If it’s Tuesday this must be Belgium.” In the early 50’s the Mayor of Dublin presented Caravan with the Key to Dublin for bringing the first American tour to the city after WWII. Since then, Caravan has been recognized as a pioneer in travel. You can trust in our stability, experience and dedication to quality.
Stay at park lodges, scenic resorts, and excellent hotels in great locations. See hotel descriptions on each tour page.
All meals included within Latin America. For USA and Canada tours, included meals are listed on each itinerary page. Bottled water is provided on motorcoaches in Latin America.
Enjoy complete sightseeing with more visits, extra features, and local guides.
Fully Guided by Tour Directors
All tours conducted from start to finish by professional tour directors, who are fluent in English, experienced, and fun.
Caravan includes all activities listed in the tour itinerary page. Caravan does not sell any optional activities which can add hundreds of dollars to your tour price. Your free time is scheduled in great settings where there is no need to buy additional expensive activities.
Caravan will not bring you to overpriced shops in exchange for payments. Caravan gives you ample opportunity and time for great shopping, and the freedom to choose where and when to shop.
Great Value, Book Early
Caravan’s strong buying power gives you great vacations at prices much lower than you can find anywhere. In a typical year, most of our tours sell out quickly. Book early for the date you prefer and the best air fare.
How does Caravan Tours sell these tours for such a low cost?
Caravan delivers volume to our suppliers, who in turn reward us with their very best prices. We in turn pass these savings on to you, and you reward us by buying our tours. As volume continues to rise, we then receive even better prices from our suppliers, and we pass even greater savings on to you. This year our tours are better than ever.
Trade Association Memberships
Caravan is a member of ASTA (American Society of Travel Advisors), NTA (National Tour Association), ABA (American Bus Association), CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association), and ACMA (American Catalog Association).