Baby Turtles Featured in
Spring and summer is the best time for turtle watching in Puerto Rico. There are five species of sea turtles in the archipelago, and two of these species, in particular the hawksbill turtle and the leatherback turtle, are endangered. In Puerto Rico, you can do more than just go and see those beautiful reptiles, but also help conservation efforts that are especially critical during the hatching period.
The nesting season of leatherback, green, and hawksbill turtles lasts from February to August. Turtles lay eggs a few times during the same season in the sand as deep as 3.3 feet (1 m). It takes about 60 days for the babies to hatch, so from April till August you can watch nature's spectacle: tiny hatchlings are striving through the sand to reach the ocean.
Smaller hawksbill turtles have a sanctuary on Mona Island between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Larger leatherback and green turtles prefer to lay eggs on the beaches of the island of Culebra, which still has many isolated spots, like Zoni, Resaca, and Brava. Puerto Rico's Department of Natural Resources seeks volunteers annually from April through June to monitor the nests, make sure they are secured from predators, and count eggs. Some hotels, like Mamacitas Guesthouse in Culebra, participate in Turtle Conservation Project.
Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort and Spa near Fajardo also runs a program together with the Department of Natural Resources and engages guests to monitor turtles' nesting and hatching. Bahia Beach Resort at the St. Regis hosts leatherback turtle nesting sites. The hotel has its own Nature Center and an on-site marine biologist to make sure its beach serves as a turtle sanctuary. Additionally, there are several Puerto Rican groups participating in monitoring the turtles, like Yo Amo al Tinglar, Tortugueros de Culebra, Playas pal Pueblo, Chelonia, Tortugueros del Sur, and the Culebra Sea Turtle Project.