Facts about turtle nesting season in Mexico

Article posted 19 July 2019

Ever wanted to see the enchanting sea turtle in the wild? If so, Mexico is one of the best places in the world to go and see them and even help them to hatch. In fact, it could be one of the most incredible experiences of your life.

All along the beautiful white sandy Mexican coast a variety of species of turtles are living, swimming and breeding. Time your holiday right and you could witness the amazing spectacle of nesting season as thousands of little shells with legs take their first tentative steps towards the beautiful blue waters.

Back to the beach

As their name suggests, sea turtles actually spend most of their time at sea. However, they return to the beach every year to lay their eggs.

The average turtle nest can be the home to as many as 200 eggs, buried in the sand to protect them from a range of predators including seagulls, foxes and even skunks. These are placid, vulnerable creatures and were also once widely hunted by humans to provide food. Thankfully we’re now more likely to nurture and appreciate them with a series of turtle sanctuaries appearing all along the coast of Mexico.

When to go

The average stay in the turtle nest is 50 days for a typical egg after which they hatch, then a little creature appears and a mad rush to the sea begins as they attempt to avoid a range of predators lying in wait.

If you want to witness this amazing nesting and hatching season, the best time to go to Mexico is in late August, September and early October, although the season can sometimes stretch as far as November. Dusk is usually the best moment for turtles hatching but it can also happen during the day.

As part of your holiday, you could also give these little turtles the best start in life by helping them to hatch and then making sure they reach the water. This is known as a ‘turtle liberation’ and a number of sanctuaries offer the experience for a reasonable price. It could be one of the proudest moments of your life.

Spot the turtle

Sea turtles are one of the oldest species in existence today with a heritage going back 130 million years. Mexico has six main species of turtle.

  • Loggerhead: you’ll find this one along the Yucatan Peninsula

  • Green Turtle: also known in the Pacific (perhaps confusingly) as the black turtle, this is another species indigenous to Yucatan.

  • Hawksbill: stay in the Yucatan and look for this species amongst the coral reefs.

  • Olive Ridley: go to Escobilla for ‘arribada’, a mass nesting event where an army of little Olive Ridleys make their dash for the beach all at once.

  • Leatherback: these huge beasts are a wonder to behold and can be found in Oaxaca and Michoacan.

  • Kemp's Ridley: head North for these critters as the main nesting beach for this species is at Rancho Nuevo, on the border with Texas.

So, who wants to see turtles nesting and hatching? Reading about it is one thing but going to see baby turtles and helping them to survive is a once in a lifetime experience.

Make Club Med your base then head for the sandy beaches and the joys of turtle liberation.

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