La Flor beach is a sanctuary of nature. Nicaragua is blessed with several beaches where the Olive Ridley turtles come to lay there eggs. These sea turtles weigh about 45 kg and are spread throughout the world. There are nesting sites in Asia and Africa as well, but despite this dispersion the Olive Ridley population is threatened and in some places endangered with extinction. In Nicaragua there is a fairly big population, but egg harvesting and destruction of nesting sites is having an impact on this population.
The Olive Ridley turtles come to the beach en masse, during so called arribadas in which thousands of turtles arrive at the same time to lay their eggs. This way, the hatchlings will swarm the beach in huge numbers and in doing so they increase their chance of survival.
Wildlife Reserve La Flor measures more than 3,000 hectares and is located 22 kilometers south of San Juan del Sur. It is one of the places in Nicaragua where you can observe the arribadas of Olive Ridley turtles. You can do more than just wantch the arribadas during the respective season. The area offers many sites and scenarios where you can see, at any time of year, marine life, land animals, insects, streams: for more on this, read here down our Activity "Hicking at the La Flor Beach". You can also view a profile of this place as "Nicaraguan beach" on this link: Playa La Flor.
Seven massive arribadas occur each year, all taking place between July and January. Many other smaller turtle arrivals will also take place during that same time frame. The moon influences the arrivals, but it is never exactly predictable when the turtles will come.
After arriving at the beach, the turtles look for a decent place to lay their eggs. After digging a hole the turtles start laying their small, white eggs. About 100 eggs are deposited in the hole, which is then covered up by the turtle. After this impressing job the turtles slowly make their way back to the water. The arribadas take a couple days, during which thousands of turtles visit La Flor.
About 50 days later the eggs hatch. Thousands of tiny, dark hatchlings emerge all of a sudden from the sand and crawl towards the ocean. After escaping from the first predators on the beach the small creatures encounter fish waiting in the shallow waters to enjoy an easy meal. The start of a turtle life is not easy! The vast numbers in which they swarm the beach make it possible for some of them to get through and grow into an adult turtle.
There is an entrance fee to the refuge:
- Foreign: C$200 per person (C$100 children)
- Native: C$100 per person (C$50 children)
- Camping fee: C$500 per tent.
There are discounts for groups, should be consulted directly with the reserve manager.
To get to La Flor, you need to go south from San Juan del Sur (150 km from Managua). Take to road in the direction of El Ostional. You will hit a dirt road after about 18 kilometers, which is fairly good but a high clearance vehicle is recommended. From there, there are signs that guide you to the La Flor beach. A high-clearance vehicle is necessary during the raining season to cross the small rivers.
It is also possible to get there by public transportation. You only need to find a bus heading to El Ostional at the municipal market of San Juan del Sur. All the buses pass by the entrance of the reserve. From there, you will have to walk for a bit in order to get to the beach. There is a sign at the entrance, but it is also recommended to ask the bus driver to leave you at the reserve.
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Emily Morin wrote on Jan 30, 2017:
My partner and I are planning to go camping this Saturday night. We want somewhere that is very isolated and that we can camp and be alone. Is this a good spot? Or are there many people around in a small space?
Marnie wrote on Jan 15, 2017:
We will be visiting this area in March 2017. Any idea if the turtles will be hatching around this time? Thanks
Tara wrote on Jul 18, 2016:
Any idea if the turtles will be laying eggs the first week in August inNicaragua?
alex wrote on Feb 28, 2013:
i love turttles
Mike wrote on May 16, 2011:
We took a night when we were in San Juan Del Sur and went to the reserve to watch the turtles hatch. Didnt have one of those amazing nights with hundreds of turtles, but we got to see one, and they had some babies ready to let into the water which was cool. I posted photos, some videos, and my story at http://blog.thecheaproute.com/la-flor-sea-turtle-reserve-san-juan-del-sur-nicaragua/
JIMMY wrote on Jul 23, 2008:
hola que tal vivo el barra de navidad jalisco, trabajo en un programa permanente de proteccion a las tortugas marinas, pues ya que tenemos una playa aqui cercas que le se llama playa de cocos es donde nosotros hacemos nuestras colecta de huevos y tenemos apenas un mes y ya llevamos mas de 7,000mil huevos y el dia 11 de julio de este año se vino una pequeña arribada de mas de 70 tortugas nuestra playa cuenta con una extencion de mas de 30km. que les parece.
Dani wrote on Jun 30, 2008:
When do they expect them for this july08?
Sumit wrote on Jul 11, 2007:
does anyone know the specific dates for the second half of 2007, especially for july 2007
Nadine wrote on Apr 21, 2007:
I need to make areport on green turtles are this the same specie?
Lana and Johnny wrote on Feb 20, 2007:
This was probably the best experience I had during my 2 week stay in Nicaragua, maybe because it was on the last night of the trip. Seeing the turtle laying eggs and the littles ones come out of the sand was extraordinary. This night adventure is well recommended to anyone who loves nature and life.
if interested see pictures at: http://roxylady79.multiply.com/photos/album/31
Anya wrote on Jan 19, 2007:
I agree sea turtles are cute. I'm also doing a report on them.
ASHLEY wrote on Oct 17, 2006:
I LOVE TURTLES THERE SO CUTE IM DOING A REPORTON THEM !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IM HAVING SO MUCH FUN WELL IGOTTA GO\