Sea turtle nesting season in the Riviera Maya happens between the months of June and November. The local government and local non profit organizations take initiatives to protect the turtles and their nests in the Riviera Maya coasts.
Local police force guards the beaches day and night to protect them and along with several organizations encourage people to volunteer preventing poaching and the stealing of eggs for human consumption.
There are seven species of sea turtles in the world, six if them come to the beaches of Mexico for their nesting season. You might see female Green, Loggerhead, Hawksbill and the occasional leatherback turtle.
One single female turtle can lay up to 200 eggs at once. The eggs are laid safely on the sand inside a huge hole that turtles carve with their own fins, few meters away from the shore. Their eggs hatch 45 to 60 days later and the baby turtles come out of their shells and begin their amazing and dangerous journey towards the white crushing waves.
One amazing fact is that the grown female turtles always return to the same exact spot where they were born to lay their own eggs.
Here is all you need to know if you are vacationing during the turtle nesting season in the Riviera Maya and are lucky enough to encounter one:
- Do not attempt to touch the sea turtle or crowd her, watch from a 30 feet distance.
- Do not disturb the turtles, they are doing an amazing effort to lay their eggs.
- Remain quiet and keep still, any noise can scare the turtle and she may abort
the mission and drop all of her eggs in the sea, with no chance for their survival.
- Do not shine any lights towards the turtles or baby turtles.
- Don’t use flash photography on nesting sea turtles or baby turtles.
- No smoking around them.
- Keep the beaches and sea clean. No straws, plastic bags, beer cans or any other garbage floating in the ocean: these are all lethal to sea turtles and other marine life.
- While snorkeling or diving watch sea turtles from a distance, do not swim towards them and do not touch them. Their bite is harmful.
- Instead of using sunscreen, wear a t-shirt in order to not pollute the water and harm marine life.
Stay on the safe side, the sea turtle is protected by Mexican law and it is illegal to disturb them, persecute or hunt them and consume their meat or eggs.
The Beach Tulum has a very wide stretch of beach, and sea turtles have been laying their eggs on their beach for many years. Up to now, July 2019 they have had 25 nests, with 3 of them already hatched. If you are lucky to stay there while baby turtles are born, please follow their front desk team’s directions: you will be told to turn off all lights and keep quiet, as babies are guided to the ocean by moonlight and any other source of light will not let them survive.
So if your trip coincides with the turtle nesting season in the Riviera Maya, you have read all you need to know and can just enjoy this miracle of nature!