- Each year, in June, hundreds of sea turtles arrive on the beaches of the Riviera Nayarit to complete their life cycle.
The sea turtle is the official image of the Riviera Nayarit. However, it is more than a symbol or icon, as its ecological and environmental value goes beyond tourism. This is why the destination is committed to programs to protect sea turtles, in conjunction with the National Commission of Protected Areas (CONANP) and civil associations in the region.
Every year, beginning in June, hundreds of sea turtles arrive at Nayarit’s beaches to fulfill their life cycle by depositing their eggs in the sand, marking the beginning of the nesting season.
An alliance with the turtle camps set up in the destination’s different communities protects this natural phenomenon. These camps manage the sanctuaries and ensure that the turtles complete their cycle, saving them from extinction. The work is done through the National Sea Turtle Conservation Program of the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP).
Nesting season begins
Once the turtles lay their eggs, volunteers carefully move the nests to protect them from predators until they hatch. According to numbers from Conanp, they release around 1 million hatchlings into the sea each season.
The turtles return to the sea after laying their eggs, leaving their precious hatchlings on the beach. It is then that the camp volunteers guard the nests (about 45 days) until the baby turtles hatch and are ready to go to the ocean.
Hermilo Esparza, head of the Nuevo Vallarta Sea Turtle Protection and Conservation Center, reported that the first releases generally happen in the second half of July. However, most of them take place in August and usually conclude at the end of October.
The beaches in the hotel zones are excellent nesting areas—the massive arrival of turtles here is called an arribazón—and Nuevo Vallarta historically registers the highest number of nests in the tourist corridor with over nine thousand. This translates to more than 400 thousand hatchlings released per season.
Some camps hold ceremonies to release the hatchlings that managed to mature. This is a unique experience, especially for the children, who learn to love nature.
Supporting sea turtle conservation
World Sea Turtle Day was celebrated on June 16 to raise awareness about the preservation of sea turtles. There are currently four species of marine turtles that hatch on the coast of Nayarit: olive Ridley, green turtle, leatherback, and hawksbill turtles. The Olive Ridley is the most common and is the one that represents the Riviera Nayarit.
We invite you to participate in their conservation. Avoid using plastic bags because turtles confuse them with their primary food source, jellyfish. When they try to swallow them, the turtles choke and die. Likewise, avoid consuming any products derived from sea turtles. This is illegal because sea turtles are an endangered species.
If you visit a sea turtle nesting beach, remember:
+ Do not approach them.
+ Do not touch, harass, bother, or harm them.
+ Always observe the laying of eggs from behind the nesting turtles.
+ Make sure not to step on their nests.
+ Do not touch or consume their eggs.
+ If you see some sea turtle hatchlings, allow them to move through the wet sand and enter the sea without help.
+ Don’t leave trash on the beach.
The Riviera Nayarit is a safe destination. Our hotels, restaurants, and tourist establishments follow all the health protocols established by the Federal Government’s Ministry of Health and operate at the allowed capacities. Access to the beaches is limited. Be a responsible tourist: wear your mask and keep your distance.