These are the sea turtle conservation projects you should visit this year
The idea of holidaying somewhere tropical and sharing the beaches with sea turtles is a dream for many - particularly as many of them frequent some of our favourite tropical hotspots such as the Seychelles, Fiji and Mexico. The trouble is, idyllic beach spots have become increasingly peppered with resorts, hotels and restaurants, meaning this species’ home turf has become increasingly dangerous. Poachers, light pollution and habitat destruction have all contributed to the decrease in numbers of turtles, according to the World Wildlife Fund, which has now classed it as endangered.
In a bid to turn numbers around, several hotels are working with local wildlife trusts to ensure the protection of these hard-shelled, doe-eyed amniotes and even offer guests the chance to help them thrive. We’ve selected three that are worth a visit on your next trip overseas.
Surfing Turtle Lodge - Nicaragua
Nestled on the Isla Los Brasiles 30 minutes from Leon, Surfing Turtle Lodge makes up a cluster of thatch-roofed beach huts set back just metres from the seafront. They run their own turtle hatchery here, helping the leatherback, hawksbill and olive ridley varieties thrive by protecting the eggs that are laid on the beach and releasing the babies into the sea once hatched. So far, the lodge has released 5,700 sea turtles this season, all aided by guests who collect and free the turtles under supervision. The lodge itself is run completely by solar power and there are a range of sleeping options available. The luxury here is found in the views and activities, rather than the accommodation, which is basic and comfortable. Look to book between September and July for prime hatching season.
Find out more on www.surfingturtlelodge.com
Blue Osa Yoga Retreat - Costa Rica
A luxury yoga retreat tucked away on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula, this is a favourite nesting spot for green and olive ridley turtles. Aside from the daily yoga sessions, organic meals foraged from the retreat’s own garden and simple, luxurious accommodation, between April and November guests can help guard the nesting beaches, collect crucial data on the adults and help release the babies into the surf once they’ve hatched. Despite the active schedule, there’s still room for a little relaxation here, whether that be with a massage at the spa or a dip in the chlorine-free pool. This is a great place to interact with the local surroundings and feel virtuous whilst doing so.
Find out more on www.blueosa.com
North Island - Seychelles
Not only is this island in the Seychelles an uber-luxurious private getaway, it’s also a critical nesting spot for the green and hawksbill turtles. Each of the 11 private villas is exquisitely decorated in a soothing palette of blond wood, muslin drapes and golden lighting. Sunken baths, four poster beds and private pools all add to the opulence too - and the sense of romance. Thanks to the resort’s protection, numbers have increased at an exponential rate. Each day, tourists are given the opportunity to work with the on-site conservationists to patrol the beaches and collect data on nesting spots and hatching dates and thanks to a hatching season that spans from January to September, the likelihood of witnessing the babies make their courageous journey from nest to ocean is high.
Find out more on www.north-island.com
Writer: Bianca Barratt