Most of us have been able to hold a small turtle in our hand at one point. Maybe at the pet store, or a hatchery. But how many of us have had the chance to carry a tiny sea turtle in our hands and help it to get safely into the water?
There is a place in Guatemala called CECON (Conservation Center of Studies) that allows you to do that during hatching season – from September to February.
It is located in the heart of Monterrico and is one of the best hatcheries in the country. Workers take the eggs after they have been laid on the beach and put them into incubators to protect them from poachers.
When the eggs start to hatch, CECON sells tickets, right on the beach, that allow people to hold and learn about these tiny creatures as a way to raise funds to continue protecting them.
Information about Releasing Turtles in Monterrico, Guatemala
Arrive at around 5 pm to the CECON Hatchery to buy your ticket because there is a limited number per day and they get sold out. The actual release activity takes place on the beach at 5:30.
As you wait for all the fun to happen you can explore their small hatchery and see the work that they do. They have a few other animals that you can check out as well, such as caimans, iguanas and different turtle species.
Price – Each ticket to release one baby turtle is $1.25. To enter the hatchery/rescue center which houses turtles, caiman, and lizards you are asked to pay additional $1.25.
What It Is Like Releasing Baby Turtles
The activity is very well organized and seems to be very popular.
Ironically enough, you can walk along Monterrico beach for hours and barely see a single person. But, as the time for the turtle release approaches the place gets packed.
The day that we were there CECON ran out of tickets. Even though not everyone got a turtle, everyone is allowed to watch.
First you exchange the ticket for a tiny little creature.
Next you have to wait until everyone has a turtle. They are all released at the same time.
And off they go. The process is super slow, but so so fun!
A few of the turtles get lost by walking in the wrong direction, in these cases the biologists give them a bit of help so they can find the right direction.
Just watching them go is a true wonder.
Bye Bye turtles – Have a good life.