One of the most memorable and rewarding things to do in Puerto Escondido is to release baby sea turtles back into the ocean.

Sea turtles are an endangered species, having long been hunted for their meat, eggs and beautiful shells. So valuable are they that, in some countries, having a stuffed turtle in your home can be seen as a symbol of wealth and status. 

Since 1990, more than 1.1 million sea turtles have been killed illegally, according to The Guardian.

With their numbers so low, it is a beautiful thing to be able to release baby sea turtles in Puerto Escondido. 

Puerto Escondido is famous for its sea turtle conservation efforts, with four of the seven remaining species visiting its shores every year. 

What type of turtles are in Puerto Escondido?

The types of turtles you can find in Puerto Escondido are: the Olive Ridley, Leatherback, Hawksbill, and Green Sea turtle. All of these turtles are endangered species.

When is the best time to see sea turtles in Puerto Escondido?

You can see sea turtles in the bays around Puerto Escondido all year round. The best way to see them is by booking a snorkeling tour with a reputable company, who will know the best places to see sea turtles in Puerto Escondido. 

But when is the best time to release baby sea turtles? Luckily for visitors to Puerto Escondido, the Olive Ridley turtle lays her eggs all year round, meaning that you can release baby sea turtles into the ocean at any time of year. 

In Puerto Escondido, you can also release the Green turtle. To do so, you should plan your visit between October and March – this also coincides with whale watching season. So, if you’re looking for a full marine life experience, book your trip to Puerto Escondido during those months. 

The Hawksbill turtle is critically endangered and can therefore not be handled by the public. So, release of this species is not currently possible. 

Where to release sea turtles in Puerto Escondido

For the best baby sea turtle release experience, you should choose a trusted tour company. Eco Adventures will pick you up from your accommodation in Puerto Escondido and take you to best beach for sea turtle release. Here, you will experience one of the most memorable moments of your life.

While most tourists head to Bacocho Beach to release turtles nightly, at Eco Adventures we head away from the crowds to Escobilla Beach. 

We also keep our numbers small so you can have a truly intimate experience. Our experts will explain the area’s conservation efforts to you in detail and you will get to meet the baby sea turtles up close, releasing your own turtle and watching him wriggle his way towards freedom. 

Threats to sea turtle conservation in Puerto Escondido

The main threats to a sea turtle’s survival are bycatch (when turtles are caught incidentally during the fishing for other species), illegal trade, habitat loss and climate change. 

In Mexico, the harvest, consumption and trade of sea turtles was banned in 1990. Poaching for human consumption, however, remains a major threat to the species. According to the WWF, the most common reasons for poaching include direct economic benefits from the sale of turtle meat and other products as well as lack of law enforcement.

Another major threat to these little creatures’ existence is the loss of their natural habitat. As development along the Oaxacan coast continues, the coastline becomes more and more illuminated. This deters mother turtles from coming up onto the shore to lay their eggs. 

Furthermore, wherever there is seafloor dredging and beach erosion, sea turtle food supplies and nesting areas can be impacted.

Climate change is also taking a tangible toll on the survival of sea turtles. It alters sand temperatures, which then affects the sex of hatchlings, leading to more females and fewer male sea turtles. 

The effect of climate change on the sea is also problematic. Warming oceans will change ocean currents, potentially introducing sea turtles to new predators and harming the coral reefs, needed by some of them to survive.

How does the sea turtle release work?

You will be given a small container with your baby sea turtle inside. You’ll be given clear instructions, but it is very simple! 

The sea turtle knows exactly where to go instinctively! So, all you need to do is lower your container, with it facing the ocean, and your sea turtle will make his way to the shoreline and into the sea.

Is sea turtle release ethical?

The short answer? Yes, sea turtle release is an ethical activity. 

All turtles that hatch must be released the very same day. So, by lending a helping hand, it takes some of the workload off the daily volunteers – you may even get to release more than one turtle during your visit!

Your contribution also raises money for conservation charities while promoting awareness for the cause. 

As it stands currently in the wild, a baby turtle only has a 1 in 1000 chance of survival. With conservation efforts, however, this chance increases tenfold to become 1 in 100.

Important note: when taking part in the sea turtle release, it is never okay to touch the sea turtle. Doing so can be very harmful. You may damage the delicate shell or interfere with the turtle’s ability to imprint when it touches the sand. 

Book today to be a part of Puerto Escondido’s incredible turtle conservation efforts. 

And, if you’d like to see fully grown sea turtles too, then join our Pacific Snorkeling Adventure! Our captains know the best hidden spots away from the crowded shoreline, so you can see a magnificent range of sea creatures in their natural habitat.