If there is one activity that was the highlight of our trip to the Riviera Maya, it was saving baby sea turtles!
This was such an awesome experience.
Getting to the release site is a cinch. You can get there by renting a car, taking a taxi, or even biking out.
For more details, including directions, fees, and reservations, read my Directions to Save Sea Turtles post!
Dress comfortably. Or in swimwear with a cover. I didn’t know what to expect so I wore jean shorts on Day 1.
Day 2’s attire was better.
Covered in sand.You’ll be digging deep. A sea turtle creates anywhere from 2 to 8 nests per season. Each nest contains an average of 110 eggs.
Just when you think you’ve reached the bottom of the nest, you’ll uncover more eggs. The staff are around to supervise so if
you’re in doubt about finding all the eggs, just ask and they can tell you if you can move to a different nest or keep digging.
The majority of eggs will be empty because most of the babies will have made it to the ocean… or met an untimely death from the many predators in the area. The purpose of digging is to unearth the babies that hatched from the bottom most eggs. After hatching, it can take babies up to seven days to reach the surface. After hatching, they don’t immediately surface and may stay in the nest for a few days, absorbing the yolk that is attached to their abdomen for sustenance. Weaker or hungry babies and those at the bottom struggle to their destination, and some may not make it.
The chance of a hatchling surviving until adulthood is about 1 in every 1,000. With the efforts of volunteers and conservation group members, the chances of their survival increase significantly.
Empty egg shells on the left, and an unfertilized egg on the right.
Turtles from a nest emerged at sunset and made their way towards the water.
After all available sites have been checked, all the babies that have been collected in the buckets are set free.
The display that unfolds is so heart-wrenchingly cute that every rescuer instantly becomes a motivational life coach as they start cheering the babies to the finish line.
I cannot say enough about this experience. If you’re in Cozumel for just one day, one afternoon, a few hours even, get involved and save the turtles. This one experience was more satisfying than any chocolate tour, scuba or snorkel experience, or happy hour at a popular restaurant.