Just like every year to this time, our beloved marine turtles lay their eggs on the beaches all over the Riviera Maya. Six out of seven sea turtle species worldwide are already endangered or threatened due to human actions and ways of living. We do not want to increase this number by disturbing their most important process of live, so here are some regulations and tips how you can be part of their support and protection. And to be honest… who does not love all the pictures and videos of small mini turtles crawling over the beach with their small mini fins, being swept into the ocean when they made their way there?
Mexico is home to six out of seven sea turtle species worldwide. One very important area for the inhabitation of sea turtles is the Yucatan Peninsula, which has not only plenty of nesting beaches to offer, but also high nutritive feeding locations. The two most common sea turtle species along Cancun and Riviera Maya are the Green Turtles and the Loggerhead Turtles, and their nesting season lasts from June to August. Chances are that you might become a witness of this amazing process if you are in the right place at the right time.
On average, a sea turtle lays 100 eggs (50 – 200). Only 1 % of the hatchlings actually makes its way out into the ocean and survives. To lay the eggs, the female turtle usually returns to the exact same location where she was born – a mystery still not really solved. With her fins she digs a hole into the sand in which she lays the eggs. She covers the hole the same way and leaves them behind. It takes approximately 60 days for the baby turtles to hatch. Mostly at night, they dig their way out of the hole and towards the ocean with the moon as an orientation.
If you happen to see a turtle laying its eggs, it is very important not to disturb the process. If the turtle feels stressed it is likely that they abort their breeding process. Do not get close or even touch the turtle, and please avoid taking photos with flash. Notify the beach or turtle patrol or your hotel staff, so the nest can be marked and protected properly. To not distract and confuse the turtle, do not use flashlights on the beach at night. In case you have a beach condo or house, shut off your lights on the outside and maybe even cover a window if the light is very bright.
Due to the coastal development especially on the Riviera Maya in the last years, a lot of areas where the turtles want to return to nest are already destroyed. Let´s not take more space. Avoid having parties, and remove any obstacles on the beach during the night such as kayaks, chairs and of course litter.
It is an inspiring and unique moment, either to see the marine turtle nest or the babies hatch in Cancun and Riviera Maya Mexico. Observe, absorb and enjoy – only few people have the chance to be part of this beautiful process!