Ecotourism is booming around the world as couples and families enjoy exploring nature and learning about the world around them. Here, there are many Puerto Vallarta activities that will get you closer to nature and provide education about wildlife. One of the majestic sea creatures that finds a safe haven in Banderas Bay is the Olive Ridley sea turtle. From August until March, locals and visitors get the privilege of experiencing turtle release season in Puerto Vallarta.
Every year, female Olive Ridley turtles flock to the warm waters and sandy shores of Puerto Vallarta to lay their eggs during sea turtle season. The Bay of Banderas provides calm waters and natural protection from larger predators. During turtle release season in Puerto Vallarta, the mothers climb through the sand to dig a hole for their eggs. Once the baby turtles are ready to hatch, they have to make their way out of the nest and crawl to the rolling surf where they will swim out into the bay. However, along the way, birds, crocodiles, and other predators can come upon the baby turtles and end their journey to the sea. For the ones who make it, they’ll begin to grow within the tranquility of Banderas Bay.
Conservation during sea turtle season increases the turtles’ chances for survival. An organization in Puerto Vallarta called Campamento Tortuguero goes out during the day to find sea turtle nests to collect the eggs and take them to a protected environment where they can safely complete their incubation period. When the babies are ready to head to the sea, Campamento Tortuguero invites visitors to join them in releasing the babies. People looking to experience one of the best Puerto Vallarta activities will head down to their campsite just north of the Puerto Vallarta marina to participate in the release. To enjoy the evening, bug spray is recommended. Once there, the volunteers from the camp will teach you about the Olive Ridley turtle species before handing you a small pail with a baby turtle to name and release. Sending the turtles out is one of the most unique things to do in Puerto Vallarta, and it happens in the evening so that the light of the moon can guide the baby turtles out away from shore. Follow Campamento Tortuguero on Facebook to see when the eggs have hatched.
The Olive Ridley turtle is the world’s smallest sea turtle and is considered a vulnerable species. In some countries, these turtle eggs are considered a delicacy and taken from their nests. The babies also face danger from predators on land as they make their way to the sea during turtle release season in Puerto Vallarta. Conservation is one of the efforts people are taking to preserve the Olive Ridley turtles. Should the species become extinct, the entire food chain in the sea would be disrupted, and other species would be in danger. Not only are these sea turtle releases one of the Puerto Vallarta activities that brings you closer to nature, but they’re also an important effort in protecting the environment. This makes ecotourism good for both visitors and the planet.
Sea turtle season is always exciting in Puerto Vallarta as the babies make their way out into the bay. Guided by the light of the moon, these little creatures will hopefully continue on to grow into adults, possibly even returning to the same shore to lay eggs one day. Participating in the ecotourism of the sea turtle releases allows you to do your part in protecting these vulnerable babies. The uniqueness and natural beauty of this experience make it one of the best outdoor things to do in Puerto Vallarta.