Las Baulas National Marine Park
- Location : Playa Grande
- Area : 936 terrestrial acres, 54,000 marine acres
- Hours : 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
- Telephone : 2653-0470
- Entrance Fee : $10.00
Las Baulas Marine Park covers a range of terrain on the Guanacaste Gold Coast encompassing the beaches of Playa Grande, Carbon, Ventanas and Langosta and also includes the Tamarindo Estuary. Playa Grande is known as one of the largest leatherback turtle nesting sites in the world. Every year between October and March, hundreds of leatherbacks come ashore to lay their eggs. These Jurassic reptiles, the largest of all sea turtles, can weigh upwards of 1,500 pounds (680 kg.) and measure 6-feet (1.8 m.) in length. The beaches in Las Baulas Marine Park support over 800 nesting sea turtles annually, but despite impressive regional numbers, the leatherback remains highly endangered and at risk of extinction in the Pacific.read more close
From April through September, the baby turtles scamper to the sea, and people return to the beach for another season of world-class sun and surf.
Guided evening turtle tours can be arranged at the Las Baulas ranger station in Playa Grande. The cost is $25 for visitors and $5 for nationals and includes a guide and the park entrance fee. Travelers staying in Tamarindo can book a turtle tour with the Local Guide Association at Tamarindo's satellite station. Tours cost $35 per person, including the $10 park entrance fee. Groups travel ten minutes by boat through the Tamarindo Estuary to access Playa Grande.
Bird and wildlife watching in the Tamarindo Estuary is also popular. Visitors can rent kayaks and paddle on their own, or tour the estuary with a naturalist guide. Several tour operators in Tamarindo offer guided kayak trips.
A ranger station at Playa Grande is staffed with bilingual guides. A limited number of visitors are allowed on turtle tours each evening. During turtle nesting season (October-March), visitors are asked to make turtle tour reservations at least eight days in advance. Guests are required to wear dark clothing on evening turtle tours and no cameras, video or flash photography are permitted.
Flora & Fauna:
There is excellent bird and wildlife watching within the park. The nearby Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge, a saltwater mangrove estuary, is thick with black-bellied whistling ducks, roseate spoonbills, yellow-crowned night herons, kingfishers and crocodiles. Howler monkeys, raccoons and coatimundis are also frequently spotted.
Local flora includes: may flowers, tea mangrove, black, white and red mangrove and Cortez trees.
Las Baulas includes the beaches of Playa Grande, Carbon, Ventanas and Langosta. With the exception of Langosta, these beaches are relatively untouched and offer visitors a tranquil alternative to Tamarindo. In addition to nesting sea turtles, Playa Grande is renowned as a top surfing spot with consistent breaks.
To Playa Grande: take the road from Las Huacas to Matapalo and turn left at the soccer field, following signs. From Tamarindo, the trip takes roughly 25 minutes by car; simply follow signs north to Playa Grande.