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Top 10 Travel Destinations to Help Sea Turtles

There’s no reason to forego creature comforts when you pitch in to help this endangered species! Many lovely resorts have programs that encourage visitors to participate in sea turtle conservation efforts.

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Sea turtle tracking on Turks & CaicosPhoto: Amanyara

1. How to Help Sea Turtles in Turks & Caicos

Tagging sea turtles with satellite trackers so researchers can better understand their journeys-and the perils they face-is an integral part of sea turtle conservation efforts. At Amanyara resort on Providenciales, Turks & Caicos, you’re invited to lend a hand in the process. The resort’s Turtle-Tagging Safari is a full-day excursion to Caicos Banks where you’ll find and tag a turtle, then release it back to the wild. Afterwards, you can track your turtle online by tapping into the tag’s unique signal.

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Child's encounter with a sea turtle on DominicaPhoto: The Bucket List Family

2. How to Help Sea Turtles in Dominica

Dominica’s virtually prehistoric landscape has always been a huge draw for sea turtles; particularly along the soft black volcanic sands where the Rosalie River meets the sea. Now, thanks to Rosalie Bay eco-resort’s owner, Beverly Deikel, these sea turtles are well-protected. Along with a small team of local sea turtle lovers, Deikel has been successful in educating the community-and the island as a whole-about the value of protecting these endangered creatures. Rosalie Bay guests and Dominica locals can also participate in guided baby sea turtle releases and nesting events.

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Sea turtles hatching in ArubaPhoto: Turtugaruba

3. How to Help Sea Turtles in Aruba

Aruba’s sea turtles are well protected thanks to resident sea turtle saviour Edith van der Wal. It was she who co-founded Turtugaruba, the local sea turtle preservation and educational foundation, which erects barriers around sea turtle nests to give babies safe conditions for hatching. (Visitors are encouraged to call Turtugaruba’s turtle hotline when nests are spotted.) Seaside hotels like Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort are on board with preservation initiatives, lowering lights during nesting season, and alerting guests to turtle activity. They also recruit volunteers for beach clean-ups to remove debris like plastic straws, rings, and bags-a sea turtle’s worst enemies.

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Sea turtle on the beach in FloridaPhoto: Clearwater Marine Aquarium

4. How to Help Sea Turtles in Florida

Jupiter, Florida, is a prime sea turtle nesting spot. If you check in to Jupiter Beach Resort, be sure to purchase one of their plush sea turtles (dubbed “Loggie”), with proceeds going to help Loggerhead Marine Life Center. Guests are also invited to join the centre in guided walks to view nestings at night and hatchings by day. In Clearwater, Florida, Sandpearl Resort-the state’s first Silver LEED certified resort-is dedicated to preserving the Gulf Coast environment. They’ve partnered with the Clearwater Marine Aquarium-a rescue hospital and home to world-famous Winter the Dolphin-to educate guests on the needs of resident sea turtles other rescued marine animals.

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Baby sea turtle in CancunPhoto: Jason Feinberg

5. How to Help Sea Turtles in Cancun

It’s estimated that only one in 1,000 baby sea turtles lives to maturity-and that survival rate plummets even further when the eggs are at a premium for poachers. To help even the odds, two resorts on Cancun’s most popular tourist beachJW Marriott Hotel and CasaMagna-have partnered to build a sea turtle nursery. They scour the beaches for nests, and then transplant the eggs in a special sanctuary to keep them safe. When the eggs hatch, the resorts encourage guests to participate in the hatchlings’ safe release to the sea. To date, over 3,000 endangered sea turtles have been saved through this initiative.

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Sea turtle on the beach on NevisPhoto: Four Seasons Resort Nevis

6. How to Help Sea Turtles in Nevis

Though Nevis is a tiny island, it’s made huge strides in protecting sea turtles, including tracking some of them via satellite to better understand their migrations. Since 2006, the Four Seasons Resort Nevis has worked alongside the Sea Turtle Conservancy and the Nevis Turtle Group to study and preserve the three species of turtles that nest there: Leatherback, Green and the critically-endangered Hawksbill.  Guests are encouraged to take part in a wide range of eco-activities, including the annual “Tour de Turtle” during which they release the turtles that have been tagged for tracking.

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Sea turtle arribadaPhoto: WildQuest

7. How to Help Sea Turtles in Huatulco

An “arribada” is a rare event in which 1,000 or more sea turtles come to shore at the same time. Your best bet to experience such a phenomenon is in Huatulco, the most bio-diverse region of Mexico. All-inclusive resorts like Secrets and Dreams Huatulco can connect you with Homie Tours-a guide service run by local environmental champion Alberto Chavez that specializes in this epic event. Even if you miss the arribada itself, you’ll still enjoy Chavez’s “Crocs and Turtles” tours, which provides a thrilling opportunity to learn more about Huatulco’s resident sea turtles.

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Sea turtle swimming in BarbadosPhoto: Colony Club

8. How to Help Sea Turtles in Barbados

The aptly-named Turtle Beach Resort has a great respect for its shelled neighbours and works with the Barbados Sea Turtle Project in facilitating hatchings on its beaches. Guests at the all-inclusive are invited to speak with the resort’s team of “Turtle Pioneers” to learn more about their conservation efforts. Elsewhere on the island, guests at the Colony Club resort have the option of taking a stand-up paddle board (SUP) to a renowned sea turtle hangout, and then diving for an up-close-and-personal visit with the resident hawksbills and leatherbacks.

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Sea turtles hatching in Puerto RicoPhoto: ShutterStock

9. How to Help Sea Turtles in Puerto Rico

Boasting an on-site Nature Center and resident marine biologist, the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort offers guests the opportunity to become “guardians” of the local leatherback turtle population. The resort’s stellar conservation efforts, which include a pristine stretch of protected beach, have earned its designation as the Caribbean’s first (and only) “Audubon International Certified Gold Signature Sanctuary” hotel. Puerto Rico’s Wyndham Grand Rio Mar also offers guided turtle walks, and has partnered with the Department of Natural Resources to help guests witness nestings and hatchings of the hawksbill, leatherback and green sea turtles that frequent its beach.

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Sea turtle in TrinidadPhoto: Susan Campbell

10. How to Help Sea Turtles in Trinidad

For centuries, one little beach in the remote Trinidadian village of Matura attracted thousands of leatherback sea turtles-that is, until fishermen’s nets and a thriving turtle meat trade slashed their numbers. Today, the area is an eco-tourism hotspot thanks to government support and the hard work of dedicated groups like Nature Seekers, which fosters conservation through guided experiences. The region’s transformation-and resurgent leatherback turtle population-has attracted many charming little eco-retreats like Acajou where visitors can enjoy close encounters with the turtles themselves.

To find out how you can do more to help sea turtles worldwide visit the Sea Turtle Conservancy website.

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