Best time to travel to Barbados

Swimming with Turtles in Barbados

Some sea turtles drift in the Caribbean waters year-round, but specific types gather near Barbados in certain seasons

Best time: February–July (leatherback) | late May–early October (hawksbill and green)

Swimming with Turtles

Swimming with turtles is a top thing to do in Barbados, as the island is among the world's best places to see these lovely creatures in their natural environment. Three main species reside here including the green turtle, the hawksbill turtle, and the leatherback turtle, which is the largest type.

When to swim with turtles in Barbados

The best time to visit is the turtle nesting season, for then you can see multiple turtles and hatchlings. Green and hawksbill turtles nest between late May and early October, and leatherback turtles from February through July. Yet, sightings occur even out of season.

Where is the best place to swim with turtles

The best sites to encounter sea turtles are on Barbados' south and west coasts, with calm waters and delightful beaches. Head to Carlisle Bay Marine Park, south of Bridgetown, to behold plenty of turtles as well as tropical fish and shipwrecks. Worthing Beach perfectly suits families with kids and inexperienced swimmers, but you'll have to bring your own snorkeling equipment. Freights Bay on the island's southern tip offers a unique opportunity to learn surfing with sea turtles in the backdrop. Besides, numerous sea turtles hang-out at the scenic Paynes Bay on the west coast. You can either join a guided catamaran sea turtle tour or plan a trip on your own. Also, feel free to examine the map of top turtle sites to find and book accommodations nearby.

Tips for swimming with turtles

While swimming with turtles, remember that green turtles are an endangered species, while hawksbill and leatherback turtles are critically endangered. So follow a set of rules not to cause more harm to these buddies.

Don't feed them

Many tourists like feeding the turtles, which is a bad practice. The animals get used to humans being the source of food and risk being striken by a boat. Besides, such food supplies are not their natural diet and may lead to health issues. Also, the turtles may accidentally bite you.

Keep a distance

Do not chase and touch turtles. Try to stay at least 5 ft (1.5 m) away from them and don't swim directly above, as they come up to breathe from time to time. Also, the best way to approach a sea turtle is from its side so that they get a clear view of you and are not taken by surprise.

Stay quiet

Making loud noises can stress the turtles out and scare them away. They are also more prone to swim closer to you when you're relaxed. So behave naturally and enjoy observing these brilliant marine creatures.

Report a problem

Thanks to the Barbados Sea Turtle Project, the situation with sea turtles gradually improves. After all, everyone can help: if you come across a lost or injured turtle, feel free to contact a 24-hour Sea Turtle Hotline (230-0142).

Practical info

What are the best months to swim with turtles in Barbados?

You can spot turtles in the Caribbean waters around Barbados whenever you visit, however the best time to swim with turtles is when the turtle nesting season occurs. Hawksbill and green turtles generally nest between late May and early October, and leatherback turtles between February and July. Show more

Where are the best places to swim with turtles in Barbados?

Calm waters and lovely beaches along Barbados' south and west coasts provide the best spots to swim with turtles. Worthing Beach is perfect for families, while Freights Bay is ideal for surfing with turtles in the backdrop. Carlisle Bay Marine Park offers an excellent chance to see turtles along with tropical fish and shipwrecks, and Paynes Bay on the west coast is a top location too. Show more

What are some tips for swimming with turtles in Barbados?

Remember not to touch, feed, or chase the turtles when swimming with them as they are endangered species. Give them space by keeping away from them by at least 5 ft (1.5 m) and avoid swimming directly above them. Try approaching from the side, stay calm, and don't stress them out. Report injured or lost turtles on the Sea Turtle Hotline to the Barbados Sea Turtle Project. Show more

Can tourists feed the turtles while swimming with them?

It's not recommended to feed turtles while swimming with them in Barbados. Feeding turtles alters their natural behavior and they start relying on humans as a source of food. It can cause them to be easily struck by passing boats. Moreover, unusual food supplies may lead to health problems. To conserve and protect these lovely creatures refrain from feeding them. Show more

How can tourists help the conservation of sea turtles in Barbados?

Tourists can help conserve sea turtles in Barbados by observing them from a distance and avoiding to feed, touch, or chase them. Likewise, they can support the Barbados Sea Turtle Project by reporting any sighting of injured or lost turtles on the Sea Turtle Hotline. By contributing to sea turtle conservation efforts you can make a positive impact. Show more

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Last updated: by Olha Savych