close up of olive ridley sea turtle

Hermosa Sea Turtle Refuge Tour

Playa Hermosa Sea Turtle Refuge Tour

Sea Turtle Egg Laying July 1- Dec. 15

Hotel Docelunas has supported the Hermosa Sea Turtle Refuge near Jaco in Tulin for many years. About four years ago, a huge storm washed away all the buildings used by the staff of the refuge. Funding was hard to find, but the refuge has finally reopened!

close up of olive ridley sea turtle

Olive Ridley Sea Turtle

Long time friend of the hotel, Raul “Turtleman” Fernandez is leading guided walks through the refuge to see female turtles return to lay their eggs. Raul loves sea turtles, and started volunteering at the refuge as a young man. He is quite an expert on sea turtles in Costa Rica.

Hermosa Sea Turtle Refuge Guides

Hermosa Sea Turtle Refuge Guides

Starting in early July, female Olive Ridley turtles return to the beach of their birth here in Hermosa to lay eggs. Watching this age-old cycle of life is an unforgettable experience. Later in the season the eggs begin to hatch, and you may be lucky to assist in the release of the hatchlings, an even more memorable experience. Sometimes you can do both in one night.

Turtle walk timing is dependent on the tides. Female turtles like to lay their eggs near high tide. This makes it easier for them to get back to the sea, after this exhausting process. Baby turtles are typically escorted to sea on low tide.

baby sea turtle in hermosa walking towards ocean on wet beach

Baby Sea Turtle Heads Out to Sea in Hermosa Near Jaco

If you are planning your trip, and would like to know the approximate timing of the walks on certain days, email If you are already in Jaco, call 2643 2211 before 5pm. Sometimes the walk starts right at dark.

Sea Turtle Tours Near Jaco

Turtle walk packages include transportation to and from the refuge from Hotel Docelunas. Certain nights we offer Dinner, Talk, and Walk packages with dinner at the hotel, followed by a talk about Olive Ridley turtles by Raul and a question and answer session.

Then you’ll embark from the hotel for your trip to the Hermosa/Tulin refuge, and an experience of a lifetime. Rates- Turtle walk- $45 – Dinner, Talk, and Walk package- $75 kids under 6 eat free, kids 6-12 rate – $60. Includes transport and welcome drink.


Check out more info on Sea Turtles in Costa Rica.


Here is our old page for reference:

Our Jaco hotel is only a few minutes drive from one of the largest sea turtle refuges in Costa Rica. Each year thousands of baby turtles are released from this beach after they hatch. Its a really spectacular and moving site and something we highly recommend.

Egg Laying and Hatching takes place from mid-September through December. Sea turtles have been returning to the beach of their birth, to lay their eggs for millions of years. Special sensors in their shell recognize the sand, so they know they have the right beach. But, as the world’s population has expanded, the turtle’s habitat has been reduced. This remarkable wonder of nature is becoming harder and harder to see. There are fewer uninhabited beaches to return to, and this has significantly affected the sea turtles numbers.

One of the remaining protected beaches is at the southern end of PlayaHermosa, about half an hour away. Olive Ridley sea turtles return in September to Hermosa Beach, to lay their eggs as their ancestors did before them. This continues through the beginning of December. The hatching, and release of the babies, finishes around the end of December. In a guided tour a ranger or aide is recommended, it is possible to witness this amazing feat of nature. After the eggs are laid, the nest is carefully dug up, the eggs counted, and then the eggs are reburied in a secure location. Sea turtle eggs are highly prized as an aphrodisiac in the Costa Rican culture, and must be protected from poachers. Many animal species find them tasty as well. The eggs are safely placed in a fenced in area, and marked for the day of hatching.

\When the eggs hatch several weeks later, you will be encouraged to help with the release of the babies. These little guys are really cute, but quite helpless on land, and need all the help they can get to survive. The mortality rate of the hatchlings is very high, only about one in a hundred will return to the beach of their birth. This is a great family activity, and very educational for the kids. Ask the hotel manager to inquire at the preserve as to the time of the tour that evening. The turtle’s arrival depends on the high tide, this changes nightly, thus the time of the tour will change as well.