Las Tortugas Research Station
In 2000 Stanley Rodriguez, founded Estación Las Tortugas (The Turtle Station) in an effort to help save the population of sea turtles that visited Mondonguillo beach. This beach lies between the Mondonguillo Lagoon in the north, bordering with the Pacuare Nature Reserve, and the Urpiano Lagoon in the south, bordering with the Urpiano Lagoon Turtle Project. The beach protected consists of three kilometres of land, and the station is located about 25 kilometres (as the crow flies) north of Limon, on the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica.
The area where the actual station is situated today used to be a coconut plantation and
the beach was a poacher hideout where all the turtles visiting the area were poached for either their eggs, their meat or/and their shell. The poaching rate throughout the years has diminished quite drastically after initiating the protection of the beach and from 100% of poaching to begin with, it has fallen to less than 5%. This beach was and continues to be mainly a leatherback turtle nesting beach, but green and hawksbill turtles also nest in small numbers each year.
Las Tortugas includes a small educational center with displays and samples of sea turtles, as well as paths through the forest and many species of plants. Regular wild visitors include howler monkeys, sloths, blue morpho butterflies, toucans, and many other species of birds.
Photo credits: EcoTeach (banner image), Hal Brindley, Neil Ever Osborne