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Massive sea turtle arrival expected | Oct 18, 2005

Further Reading

At the Wildlife Reserve La Flor, 18 kilometers south of San Juan del Sur, thousand and thousands of Olive Ridley turtles are expected to lay their eggs this weekend. The arrival of this vast amount of sea turtles is an event that only takes place at a limited number of sites throughout the world. In Nicaragua, the La Flor beach is the most well known nesting ground for Olive Ridley turtles.

The arrival of the turtles is related to the moon stages, but the exact arrival date can never be predicted. The massive turtle arrival, called an arribada, will last for three to four days. A rough estimate is that between seventeen and twenty thousand turtles are expected to come to the beach during this period. Most of the turtles will arrive at night, but during the arribadas you can also see turtles during the day (in general, until about 10AM).

To protect the turtles and their eggs, the army and the national police will assist in guarding the beach during the arribada. Although the La Flor Wildlife Reserve has been designated as a protected site, poachers still form a serious threat to the turtle population. It was recently discovered that large-scale poaching took place with knowledge of the now ex-manager of the reserve.

Besides human threats, the turtle eggs also fear natural hazards. Hurricane Wilma has been predicted to arrive at Nicaragua this same week. If this happens during the arribada, strong wind and rain can wash away a part of the freshly laid eggs.

The turtles are expected to arrive on Friday and to continue coming until Sunday or Monday. If you have the chance, be sure to visit La Flor to observe this truly spectacular event. You are advised to call to the Cocibolca Foundation who manages the reserve and who can give you an update on the latest developments. The rain might also be a limited factor in the accessibility of the beach, as several rivers have to be crossed to get there. At this moment, the water levels are relatively low; but if the rains get stronger the water level rises and the river might cut off the access road. In any way, make sure to call the Cocibolca Foundation to get the latest news. Their information can be found on the page about the La Flor Wildlife Reserve.