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“Amazing and uncrowded beach” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Las Baulas National Marine Park

Las Baulas National Marine Park
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: This National Park protects the main nesting beaches for the leatherback turtle of the Tropical Eastern Pacific. This place is also an important spot for migratory birds, the american crocodile and other wildlife.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
207 reviews
79 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 187 helpful votes
“Amazing and uncrowded beach”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 25, 2013

Playa Grande is a wide and long beach... longer than any I have visited in Costa Rica before. The beach is lovely with lots of wildlife and relatively few people (there are small residential communities at north and south, the quieter) end. The park is well maintained and the efforts to protect the turtles are impressive. We did not go on a turtle tour in part over concerns about interfering but were pretty excited to see their tracks in the sand early in the morning. Playa grande is not a big resort... pretty quiet place. Great place to swim although be careful of currents.

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
Thank Larry917
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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175 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Toronto, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Magical turtles, totally *awful* rangers.”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 30, 2012

We were so fortunate enough to witness a leather-back come to shore and even got to see a tiny 4" turtle hatch and head for the water for the very first time! (Not to mention it was under a full-moon which illuminated the sea and the sand beautifully!)

However, the guides provided us with a way-below-acceptable experience. 30 of us waited on time and all the guides showed up way to late, did not greet us and then had to set-up a informational slide-show which took a while. During set-up a ranger spotted a turtle on the shore and so we got through 1 slide before we had to rush off down the beach (and which point they made everyone hastily pay). The run down the beach was fine for myself but we were travelling with my grandfather who was not expecting a 1 km jolt down the beach at midnight!

15 people from the group left shortly after us but the rangers totally broke their own rules and stood in front of the turtle blocking her way to the ocean to lengthen it's time on shore so everyone could see her. The turtle got so stressed out as you are never* suppose to be in her line of sight - the whole point of the monitored tours is to make sure the turtles are in their element as much as possible without the interference of humans.

After the turtle experience we were left to sit and wait with absolutely no run-down of what we just saw, no information on the turtles, laying ritual or the hatching ritual!

They shouted instructions at us in Spanish and used arm-signals which no-one knew what meant (probably something we would have learned in the before-spotting presentation).

All in all I think witnessing the turtles was by far magical but guide experiences put a bit of a damper on our total intake. Considering the tour raked in nearly 800 dollars on our group I expected a bit more turtle-enlightening information and bit more professionalism from the people who are suppose to be protecting our wildlife not stressing it out.

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
8 Thank StormyandOdd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
37 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“We saw the nesting leatherback turtle!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 23, 2012

We were very impressed by the park crew and all the efforts they make to save the turtles.
You have to call them in the morning and sign-up.
They will tell you by what time in the evening you should be there. It depends on the high tide time for that day. In our case it was 6 p.m.
Then they give you a talk, very interesting BTW.
And then you sit and wait. The park rangers are patrolling the beach.
When (if) they see a turtle, they will call you.
You only pay if the turtle comes. The fee is $25, the kids go free.

If no turtle show up in 3.5 hours (in our case it was by 9:30), the tour is cancelled.
We were lucky! The turtle showed up at around 9 p.m.

They will walk you to the beach and you can sit or stand around the turtle during the whole time, while she is making the nest, puts the eggs and cover the nest.

NO PHOTOGRAPHY is allowed. The guides are using only the red flashlights.
But we got plenty of the light from the moon and could see everything.
You can sit very close to it. just don't touch it.

My daughter LOVED it!!!

Advice. Take some food with you.
And bring something to do (books, games, cards).

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Kl_Katrina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tilaran, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
23 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Watching the nesting of leatherback turtles”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 1, 2012

We had an excellent experience with multiple turtles that arrived that evening. The secret is to be patient, expect that the first night you sign up for you may see nothing after waiting for hours, and be amazed when you do get to view these giant amazing creatures.

Visited November 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank SarchasmHopper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Jose, California
Level Contributor
69 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Loved seeing the turtles”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 3, 2012

Don't expect well-organized tours - just low key. Separate English and Spanish class "overviews" to teach you about the turtles. Then you can either wait at the Center or arrange to be called if they discover turtles nesting that night. It is such a special opportunity to see these majestic creatures. We saw 2 black sea turtles nesting the 1st night and they found a Leatherback nesting the 2nd night and they alerted us about 9 or 10p at our hotel. So we happily paid the fee again and were quite emotional to be in the presence of a beautiful Leatherback (pouring rain and all). Be prepared to either drive your car or hitch a ride with others - they're not typically at the beach right there at the Center. It was such an incredible experience!

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank PWar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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