Sea Turtles have been around for over 150 million years. Six of the seven species can be found in Mexican waters and their nesting season runs form May through October.
Here are two amazing facts about sea turtles:
- Female sea turtles swim great distances around the world and always return to lay their eggs to the exact same beach where they hatched on.
- Only one in a thousand baby turtles reach adulthood.
The beautiful white sand beaches of Tulum fit the requirements needed by Loggerhead and Green Sea Turtles to nest and when you stay at The Beach Tulum Hotel, you might even see them nest in front of the hotel! The Beach Tulum hotel has trained staff to protect the turtles and their nests. As soon as a new nest is spotted, local authorities are called in to mark it. It is common to see marked and restrained areas where nests are located and marked with a flag. For this reason, some areas of the beach restricted during nesting season, so the turtle will find the perfect spot in optimal conditions and away from natural predators.
When it is time to release the baby turtles (the eggs take about 50 to 60 days to hatch), staff members may invite guests to watch the baby sea turtles make their way into the ocean. This usually takes usually after sunset, so birds cannot spot them and prey on them. The Hotel asks guests to turn out all lights, as the little turtles are guided into the ocean by moonlight. Any artificial light may take them in the wrong direction.
There is a Sea Turtle Festival held every year since 2003, which aims to raise the local population and tourists awareness on the sea turtles protection. The festival starts in Xcacel, moves to Akumal and closes in Tulum. The purpose of the festival is to strengthen the sense of community while sharing the culture of preservation and protection of endangered species. This event features a program of recreational and cultural activities. The festival’s venues are unique and varied: Turtle Sanctuary, Playa Pescadores, Xcacel, Akumal and Tulum National Park. An event you cannot miss if you happen to visit during mid October.
If you are lucky enough be present during a nesting process, please be very quiet, keep still and watch from a distance of ten meters. If the female sea turtle does not feel safe, it will return the ocean where the eggs will be aborted.
Bear I mind that sea turtles have swam for miles only to arrive on the beach and only have enough strength to dig a very large whole in the sand with their fins. Please be respectful, silent and admire this miracle of nature.
Follow this tips while witnessing an amazing birth process of a wonderful sea creature:
- Sea turtles approach the beach at night, as it is safer for them. Do not shine any light on them as this will only blind and stress the turtle.
- Avoid flash photography.
- Do not smoke near nesting areas.
- Be respectful and quiet, noise can disturb them.
- Once they have hatched, sea turtles are guided by the natural light. Should you find a nesting of baby turtles hatching, please advise a hotel staff member or security to assist.
- Help by keeping our beaches and sea clean, plastic and garbage are lethal to sea turtles and other marine life.
- When snorkeling or diving watch sea turtles from a distance, do not swim towards them and do not attempt to touch them.
- Wear a t-shirt when snorkeling as protection from the sun instead of applying sun block. Sun products pollute the water and are harmful to marine life.
- The sea turtle is protected by Mexican law and international agreements, it is illegal to disturb them, persecute or hunt them and consume their meat or eggs. Unfortunately they are now classified as Vulnerable or Endangered.
Respect, cherish and preserve nature in all its forms. Love and protect the sea turtles during their nesting season in Tulum and anywhere in the world.