Best time to travel to Guatemala

Speedy Turtles in Guatemala

Watching recently-hatched baby turtles "rushing" towards the sea is adorable and affordable for everyone

Best time: September–February

Speedy Turtles
Speedy Turtles
Speedy Turtles
Speedy Turtles
Speedy Turtles
Speedy Turtles

The southern coastline of Guatemala is home to three turtle species: Green sea turtles, Olive Ridley, and the rare Leatherback. Caring mothers choose the beautiful black sand beaches of Monterrico to lay the eggs. Every night between July and December these amusing creatures secretly come out of the sea and hastily bury their precious eggs in the holes dug out in the sand. However, the eggs hidden in seemingly safe desolate beaches still need protection from poachers that always nose about in search of a profitable capture.

The eggs of Green sea and Olive Ridley turtles start hatching in 50 days, whereas baby leatherbacks need 22 days more to see the world. The newly-hatched turtles rush madly to the sea so that they don't get caught by some seabird or another marine predator. It is sad to admit, but only 1% of baby turtles manage to reach maturity.

The CECON organization protects wild turtles of Guatemala, and from September to Februar​y they offer a unique afternoon "turtle race"—you may release your own turtle stored in a tank during the day and watch it race to the water. Such an amusing experience is available for only 10 Guatemalan Quetzals, ​which is a little more than $1. Night access to the beach to spy on the mother turtles laying eggs costs nearly $3, and an on-site tour is available for around $5.

Practical info

When can one witness baby turtle hatching in Monterrico, Guatemala?

The beaches of Monterrico, Guatemala are home to baby turtle hatching every night from July to December. Over the course of 50-72 days, the eggs develop into baby turtles that scurry to the sea. As such, the period from September to February is the best time to witness the turtles hatch. During these months, the weather is hot and dry, and the water temperature is favorable to the young turtles' survival. Show more

What is the price of the 'turtle race' and the tours for watching mother turtles in Monterrico, Guatemala?

In Monterrico, Guatemala, visitors can enjoy the 'turtle race,' for only 10 Guatemalan Quetzals, a little over a dollar. Additionally, the coastal region offers the opportunity to purchase a night access beach tour for almost three dollars or an on-site tour for approximately $5. Both types of tours offer a chance to watch mother turtles lay eggs or see baby turtles hurry towards the sea, providing visitors an insightful experience. Show more

What does the CECON organization in Guatemala do to aid the survival of wild turtles?

The non-profit organization CECON plays a critical role in protecting wild turtles in Guatemala. They watch over the beaches to remove turtle nests from poachers and help protect mother turtles during the egg-cooking phase until hatching. The baby turtles are also stored in a safe tank until they can be released to the sea. Through these measures, CECON helps in guaranteeing the safety and survival of the turtle population. Show more

What are the challenges facing baby turtles to reach adulthood in Monterrico, and what animals usually prey on them?

The survival of baby turtles to adulthood is incredibly difficult due to the many challenges they face. The tiny creatures face predators such as birds, unknown crabs, and can often get disoriented and lose their course to the sea. Additionally, pollution, encroachment on nesting grounds by humans and fishing nets all pose a threat to the turtles. Monterrico, Guatemala's rarest turtle species, the Leatherback Turtle, is included in the endangered species list. Show more

How much do the night access beach tours and on-site tours cost in Monterrico, Guatemala to watch mother turtles laying eggs?

Monterrico, Guatemala offers visitors two options to watch mother turtles laying eggs. The cost of a night access beach tour is nearly three dollars, while the on-site tour costs approximately $5. Such tours offer enthusiasts an opportunity to observe the nesting ritual, watch baby turtles rush to the sea, and learn about the turtles' natural habitat. For a more interactive experience, participants can purchase a 'turtle race' experience, where they can cheer for their own turtle and watch it return to the sea for ten Guatemalan Quetzals or a little more than a dollar. Show more

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