If you asked me what my favourite day during my trip to Mexico was, it would hand down be the day I released a sea turtle at the beach in Puerto Escondido, aka turtle day. While turtle day also included renting a scooter, visiting pretty much every single beach in Puerto Escondido and watching the sunset with a cold beer in my hand, getting to release a sea turtle into the ocean was the highlight of a very special day.
So, if you are in or around Puerto Escondido, then I highly recommend you checking out releasing a sea turtle in Puerto Escondido yourself. Here is what you need to know!
Where to stay in Puerto Escondido? Check out the best Hostels in Puerto Escondido!
Where to release the baby turtles in Puerto Escondido?
If you want to release a sea turtle into the ocean, you can do so at Vive Mar Turtle Camp. It’s a preservation centre, located at the beach, that collects sea turtle eggs and makes sure that the baby turtles can hatch safely. On the day they hatch, they will be released into the ocean.
How to reach the sea turtle camp?
The release centre “Vive mar” is located at Bococho Beach in Puerto Escondido. This would be about a 17-minute drive from Playa Zicatela for example. Collectivos do not go here and depending on where you are staying at, the distance is not really walkable. Your best option will be to either travel by scooter or by taxi.
Around Puerto Escondido or online, you might have also seen that it is possible to join a tour to the turtle release camp. These tours would include the transportation to the beach. However, even if you decide to travel by taxi, it will still be cheaper to organise it by yourself.
When does the turtle release happen?
The turtles will be released around 5pm (or close to sunset) every day! All baby turtles will be released the day that they hatch. So you better come a little earlier rather than later, as you won’t know how many turtles will be there and how many people will show up.
The day that I visited the turtle camp, I was there at exactly 5pm, and there was already a very long queue. But some people arrived at 5:30pm and there were still enough turtles left. Still, you never know!
Does it cost anything to release a sea turtle in Puerto Escondido?
Yes, you will have to pay 100 MXN (around €4.7) per person once you arrive at the conservation centre. The money will be used to assure that they can continue their work and make sure that as many sea turtles as possible will hatch safely and make it to the ocean.
What does the whole experience of releasing a sea turtle look like?
When you arrive at the turtle camp, you will most likely already find a bunch of people queueing. Once you reach the end of the queue, pay your 100 MXN and receive your coconut (which you will later use to carry and release the turtle), you can relax a bit while waiting. Because, would they have given you a coconut shell if you wouldn’t end up getting a turtle in the end? I’d hope not!
Once you paid, got your coconut shell and waited around until the rest of the people did the same, the volunteers will split you up in an English-speaking and Spanish-speaking group. Then they will provide you with some more information about the work they do, what you need to know when releasing the turtles, and of course, some more facts about the turtles themselves!
The most important thing to take away from this is to never touch the turtles! They could get hurt, and since they need to imprint on the sand where they hatched, touching them can interfere with this process. And secondly, you need to release the turtles in the sand and not directly in the ocean. The turtles need to find their way into the ocean themselves to keep a sense of direction.
After receiving the information, you go pick up your turtle, and then release it behind a line by the beach. Some turtles were faster than others, and it was amazing watching them making their way towards the ocean. The scariest part were all the birds hovering above the surface trying (often successfully) to catch the baby sea turtles.
It is sad to think that most of these sea turtles won’t even survive the first days. Therefore, it is even more important that preservation centres like Vive Mar exist.
Would you like to release a sea turtle in Puerto Escondido yourself?
Talk to you later x
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