Aside from being an extremely fun activity for families, releasing baby sea turtles into the ocean is an easy and cheap way to support organizations and communities that are making the change from poaching for turtle eggs to preserving them. Gringa Traveling Mom lets you know all about this amazing experience in Guatemala.
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?
Join our NEW Facebook Community: Making Travel Easier. We promise to always tell you what we would tell our best friend -- what works for kids, what doesn’t and what you need to know before you go to have the Best. Family. Vacation. Ever. Our group of travel experts are ready to answer your travel questions!
CECON 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. By purchasing a ticket you are allowed to hold and learn about these tiny creatures. This is a way to raise funds to continue protecting the baby turtles.
Information about Releasing Turtles in Monterrico, Guatemala
Arrive at around 5 p.m. at the CECON Hatchery to buy your ticket because there is a limited number per day and they get sold out quickly. The actual release activity takes place on the beach at 5:30 p.m..
As you wait for all the fun to happen, you can explore the small hatchery and see the work that they do. They have a few other rescued 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 around $2. To enter the hatchery/rescue center which houses turtles, caiman and lizards, you are asked to pay an additional $2.
Our Experience Releasing Baby Sea Turtles
The activity is very well organized and seems to be extremely 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.
TravelingMom Tip: One of our favorite things to do when taking a vacation is to hire a photographer for family photos. This is a special gift and souvenir that we cherish. We use Flytographer to book a local photographer located in the area that we're traveling to. Use this link and you will get $25 off your photo session.
The day that we were there CECON ran out of tickets. Even though not everyone got a turtle, everyone who walks by 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 you get to see those little guys fight their way into the open water!
A few of the tiny 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 sea turtles – Have a good life.
Other Places Where Releasing Baby Sea Turtles is Available
You can also find this sort of activity in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. I’ve heard that you can contact Lula’s tours to learn about how to release baby sea turtles. Another place where you might be able to get a chance to do this is on the Osa Peninsula is Osa Conservation.
If you happen to be in Los Cabos, Mexico, between August and December, you might want to ask around for these sort of tours too. One of the companies offering this tour in town is Cabo Outfitters. Another place to learn about sea turtles is in Puerto Vallarta.
Finally, the beaches in the United States are also a good place to go to see and release sea turtles. Florida, for example, is a great place to go to if you want to see nesting sea turtles. Go to Boca Raton and contact Gumbo Limbo to learn about dates and fees that will allow you to join their Hatchling Release program.
Padre Island National Seashore in Texas is another great place to visit. Here, all of the fun happens between June and August. Take a look at their website to learn more about how you can witness baby turtles making their way to the sea.
I’m sure there are many other places where baby sea turtle release is a public event to educate people about the importance of conservation. If you know of any, let us know in the comments so we can all learn.