Witnessing the release of a sea turtle hatchling in Puerto Vallarta is an amazing experience. Seeing with your own eyes the movement of this little reptile taking its first steps, while enjoying the beautiful sunset and the crystalline beaches of the Mexican Pacific, will undoubtedly become an unforgettable moment for the whole family.
The green pearl of the Mexican Pacific has positioned itself as a tourist destination committed to the conservation and preservation of sea turtles, being just one of the many ecotourism activities to be carried out from the second half of June to the month of December.
The Olive Ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) is the most common species in the region, as well as the Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), Black (Chelonia mydas agassizii) and Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), which each year choose Puerto Vallarta as their natural oasis to lay their eggs and give life to their hatchlings to begin their first steps in the Mexican Pacific. Every summer they return to the beaches on which they were born to lay their eggs – it is truly one of Puerto Vallarta’s most visible and interesting ecological cycles.
And so every year, hundreds of sea turtles arrive at the beaches of Puerto Vallarta to lay their eggs and nest (usually between June and January). Between July and December, the shells begin to break so these hatchlings can make their way to the sea and thus, crossing the waves, begin their adventure around the world.
In this important tourist destination, it is possible to find from 70 to 230 nests on average depending on the camp, releasing from 60 to 500 sea turtles per day.
In Puerto Vallarta you can accompanying a baby turtle to the sea, as there are different turtle camps where it is possible to participate in the release – or simply be a spectator. This tourist destination has established itself as one of the most important nationally for the preservation of these marvellous reptiles.
Here are some of the sites of the more than 9,000 nests, where it is possible to release turtles.
Boca de Tomates Turtle Camp: This site dedicated to the conservation of turtles, is open to anyone interested in carrying out this extraordinary experience of nature. Families are encouraged.
Hotel Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa: This hotel, considered an icon in Puerto Vallarta, has its own biologist who guides and supervises the release of these magnificent reptiles.
Ecotours Vallarta: A tour company with a great commitment to the environment, offers the opportunity to live this liberation experience, in which visitors will be accompanied by a specialized guide who will give a talk on the biology and ecology of the sea turtles, and each attendee can create a turtle nest.
Wildlife Connection: Offers the opportunity to visit the official camp of the national sea turtle protection programme, where you can contribute to the conservation of this wonderful species.
Hotel Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta: Guests or any attendee will be able to observe the process of releasing sea turtles, while trained personnel supervise ensure that no one enters the sea at the release point for 20 minutes after the last hatchling has been released.
If during your stay in Puerto Vallarta you find a sea turtle, it is important to keep an approximate distance of 10 metres, not to take flash photos, and above all, not to disturb them, as this may interrupt their nesting.