Once a year, Goa's coastline welcomes Olive Ridley Turtles which head to the shore for nesting between November and April. Each of them lays hundreds of eggs. The incubation period takes about 40-50 days, and after that, the hatchlings return back to the sea.
As the mating season of these turtles coincides with the high season, it can become a great chance for tourists to spot them, though possibly dangerous for the turtles. Ecotourism is highly promoted in Goa, but only as long as nature is protected too. There are lots of rules to be taken into account while checking out the nesting beaches. The authorities and community of Goa carefully protect nesting places and overlook the whole process so that the turtles are not disturbed. Light pollution, bonfires on beaches, and flash photography can confuse baby turtles. To protect wildlife, beaches have been equipped with nesting pits, watched by local volunteers to make sure stray dogs and people do not harm the eggs.
In some villages, local people create special eco huts, where tourists can watch this natural phenomenon from a distance. Some of the best places to witness this phenomenon include Morjim, Galgibag, and Agonda beaches. Morjim Beach is located in Pernem, North Goa, while Galgibag and Agonda beaches are both in South Goa’s Canacona district. Galgibag Beach closes off its northern side completely during the hatching season making it a "protected turtle zone".
When is the best time to visit Goa to observe sea turtles laying eggs?
From November to April is the sea turtle nesting season in Goa, with the peak period being from December to February, when the chances of observing turtles are higher, albeit not guaranteed. Goa takes special care in protecting the nesting beaches during the tourist high season when they're prone to mating season activity. This allows safe observation of the turtles without any disturbance. Show more
Where are the recommended nesting beaches in Goa?
Morjim, Galgibag, and Agonda are the nesting beaches in Goa. Morjim Beach is situated in Pernem, North Goa, and Galgibag and Agonda are in South Goa's Canacona district. Volunteers and local communities have built eco-huts and observation spots on these beaches for tourists' safe distance observation. The authorities work with the volunteers to protect the turtles during nesting season. Show more
How long does the incubation period for the eggs take?
The Olive Ridley Turtles in Goa lay eggs that take about 40-50 days to incubate before hatching. The hatchlings make a dash towards the sea while avoiding any hurdles and predators. Observers need to observe the process cautiously and follow strict guidelines to minimize disturbance to the turtles and their newborns since it is an extremely vulnerable period for them. Show more
What are the risks for sea turtles during nesting season in Goa?
The nesting season is perilous for sea turtles, with environmental pollution, beach encroachment by humans and animals, bonfires on beaches, hunting, mishandling and many more threats. Goa enforces strict rules prohibiting human activities close to nesting sites, with the violators facing legal charges. The regulations are implemented to minimize disturbance during nesting season. Show more
Are tourists allowed to take flash photography or light bonfires on the beaches during nesting season?
No, tourists are strictly forbidden from engaging in activities that could endanger or disrupt the turtles, such as flash photography, open fire on beaches, and loud music playing. Such activities can confuse the hatchlings and disturb them as they dash towards the sea, making it a punishable offense with hefty fines or even criminal charges. Show more