Turtles – Mexico’s Enchanting Endangered Species

The sea turtle is by far one of the most enchanting and beloved travellers of the vast, open oceans of the world and Mexico is lucky enough to host many of their nesting sites! In fact, all along Mexico’s coastlines there are nesting sites for green turtles, loggerheads, and hawksbill turtles.

Nesting Turtles

Female turtles return to the beaches on which they were born to lay their own eggs, sometimes travelling more than 1,000 miles to reach them from their feeding grounds! This ritual is not only fascinating, but essential to the survival of this species. The mother turtles are driven by pure instinct to drag their heavy bodies ashore and carefully dig a nest before depositing their precious cargo. Once this is done they return to the sea and leave their young to fend for themselves.

How Turtles are Being Protected in Mexico

It is a sad fact that all sea turtle species are now endangered, but measures are being taken to ensure that the next generations will have a chance to thrive and grow. It is now, for example. Illegal to hunt sea turtles or disrupt their eggs in Mexico, and during nesting season a dedicated group of people, including biologists, do what they can to keep nesting mothers and their fragile eggs safe. These conservation groups patrol the beaches at night to keep watch for mothers exiting the sea, and act as a deterrent to predators (both animal and human).

The mothers are left in peace as they dig their nests, but when they begin laying they are sometimes tagged and measured. The collection of eggs, known as a clutch, can contain 80 to 200 individuals and is transported from the original nest to a new one built to resemble it in a more secure area. These nests are then carefully guarded until the eggs begin to hatch (generally 45 to 60 days after they are laid). When they do hatch the guards, as well as lucky volunteers and tourists, get to help ensure that the turtles make it safely to the water; after that it’s out of their hands. There are so many hazards that most baby turtles will not mature, sadly, but this work gives them a better chance simply by getting them to the waves. The ones that do survive will return to these beaches in 12 to 15 years time to begin the cycle again.

How You Can Help

If you’re in Mexico’s beach destinations during turtle season there are a few things you can do to up their chances. Firstly, if you see a turtle on the beach let local authorities know ASAP. Secondly, be as still and quiet as possible to avoid startling them and do not approach or try to touch the turtle. If you take any photos please ensure the flash is off as turtles are very sensitive to changes in their environment. If frightened they will often return to the water in fear and lay their eggs at sea (bad for the babies!) so give them space and respect. Finally, if you think you have seen a nest do not approach or disturb it; let local authorities know of its location and move away.

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Sea Turtles in Riviera Nayarit

Banderas Bay and Riviera Nayarit has long been a top tourist destination and locations like Puerto Vallarta and Nuevo Vallarta are the crown jewels, so to speak, of the region. The tourist trade has done wonders for these destinations, making them vibrant and bustling, What is particularly enchanting is the way that the area’s wildlife lives side by side with tourism: sea turtle season being a great example of how a vacation in Riviera Nayarit will have you up close and personal with one of nature’s most beautiful creatures.

Sea Turtles in Riviera Nayarit

Sea Turtles are a beloved and longstanding part of the Riviera Nayarit ecological make-up, but in recent years their numbers have declined. Therefore, for the last thirty years Riviera Nayarit locals, hotels, restaurants and tour companies have been getting together to fight for the survival of the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle, and other similar species.

The beaches of Riviera Nayarit and Puerto Vallarta are host to swathes of turtles every year between July and December, as they ready themselves to bring forth the next generation. Pregnant sea turtles spend hours and hours digging the perfect nest for their eggs, and it’s not uncommon to see a whole group of them waddling about the beach in front of Villa La Estancia Residence in Riviera Nayarit at night during turtle season. It really is quite a sight to see!

Once the turtles deem their nests to be satisfactory, they will lay their eggs, bury them and return to the sea for another year. The cycle begins again when the baby Turtles hatch. Baby Sea Turtles have a rocky start in life; between airborne, landlocked and sea dwelling predators, poachers, and the struggle to even get out of their shells, let alone the danger of being dug up and devoured before hatching. Statistics reckon that 1 in 1000 will make it to adulthood. So you can see that they need all the help they can get.

Helping Sea Turtles in Riviera Nayarit

This is where guests and owners at Villa La Estancia Residences come in and the many dedicated conservationists. It’s very easy to do your bit for the endangered Sea Turtles in Riviera Nayarit while you’re on vacation in Banderas Bay. For a start you can be sure that you don’t interfere with the females while they lay and bury their eggs! You should also report anyone who does to the hotel or to local authorities.

Also, you can support one of the many conservation projects in the city by visiting open days and attending hatchings. Attending turtle releases really is beneficial; research has shown that spectators at such events ward off some of the turtle’s natural predators as well as poachers! Ask the activities team at Villa La Estancia Residences to tell you where the next sea turtle release will be in Riviera Nayarit. You may find there is one planned right outside the hotel.

Nothing makes a vacation truly magical quite like seeing these adorable reptiles scurrying towards the sea for the first time!