Intrepid adventurers say Playa Cabuyal is one of the most beautiful coastal wilderness areas in all of Central America.

As biologists we quantify the world around us to better understand it, as conservationists we document the species we aim to protect, and as lovers of nature we describe the beautiful things we see each day.

Bibi Santidrián Tomillo

TLT Science Director and Principal Investigator at Playa Cabuyal

Playa Cabuyal is a little-known but important nesting beach for East Pacific green, olive ridley and leatherback turtles on the north coast of Guanacaste province in Costa Rica. 

Dr. Bibi Santidrián Tomillo and Dr. Gabriela Blanco began this project in 2011 to uncover the secrets of these nesting turtles. Our researchers investigate a range of questions, including: how many turtles nest on Playa Cabuyal each year, what are the threats faced by these turtles both on nesting beaches and in offshore foraging areas, and what factors influence hatching success for incubating sea turtle hatchlings?

Egg poaching was once common at this remote beach, but it has dropped significantly due to the presence of our research team.

Playa Cabuyal supports a diverse array of life across marine and coastal ecosystems. The south end of the beach opens onto the mouth of a pristine estuary. In the adjacent mangrove forest, our researchers are documenting an astounding array of flora and fauna, including crocodiles, monkeys and jaguars. 

Our team catalogs wildlife signs (e.g., jaguar tracks) and sightings to help guide future conservation priorities and management plans. 

L. Lopes Ramos 2015