Who doesn’t love baby turtles? Well, if you’re anything like us, you adore them and want to visit all the turtle hotspots in the world.
When it comes to turtles, hatching season is one of the best events you could experience. But getting to watch baby turtles hatch is a difficult and tricky task. Due to the increased poaching of so many turtle eggs and hatchlings (such as the Olive Ridleys), governments worldwide have immense control over who can visit wild hatcheries and see the baby turtles.
Getting in touch with a qualified local tour operator is crucial to find out how and when to visit the locations to see turtles hatch. But first, let’s consider where to visit, to see newly-hatched turtles. In this article, we list the best places to see turtles hatch and take their first dive into the water.
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Five must-visit places to see turtle hatch in the wild
1. Ras Al Jinz in Oman
Ras Al Jinz is world-renowned for its turtle nesting ground. Here, you’ll primarily find Green turtles, Hawksbill turtles, and Leatherbacks. The State of Oman has also set up a dedicated Ras Al Hadd Turtle Reserve, which studies and protects the local endangered turtle population. Tourists can choose to come and watch the turtles hatch or hire a guide to view the nighttime nesting. There are plenty of opportunities to see the underwater wildlife here. A little away from the shore, you’ll spot adult turtles swimming back to sea after laying their eggs. Sometimes, you may even be lucky to spot a whale shark nearby.
The best month to visit for turtle hatching in July, although you can spot the brilliant wildlife all year round.
2. Turtle Hatch Kosgoda in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s sleepy township of Kosgoda is home to the nests of various turtle species, including the Loggerhead, Leatherback, Green, Hawksbill, and Olive Ridley turtles. The Kosgoda Sea Turtle Conservation Project oversees the hatching and also steps in to aid wounded and traumatized turtles who wash up on shore. Unfortunately, during the aftermath of the tsunami in 2004, Kosgoda lay devastated, and the beach became a dangerous place for turtles to nest. Since then, the Conservation Project has worked relentlessly to restore the pristine conditions of the beach and to get them ready for the thousands of turtle mothers who come here to lay their eggs.
The best month to visit Kosgoda for turtle hatching is November and May. If you can’t visit, consider heading to Bentota or Galle, two other Sri Lankan towns known for their turtle nesting grounds.
3. Pulau Tioman in Malaysia
If you’re interested in not just seeing the turtles but also contributing to their conservation efforts, you’ll find Pulau Tioman the best place to visit. This Malaysian island looks like paradise. But don’t let the calm waters and lush forests fool you. This is a hotspot for turtle trafficking, which is why the Juara Turtle Project, a local environmental organization, has a very strong conservation and research network.
Visitors can choose to volunteer for a few hours to a few weeks. You can help the Project protect the turtle nesting sites, count hatched turtles, support research operations, and assist them in community education and outreach activities.
It’s best to visit Pulau Tioman from June to September, as that’s when the Leatherback hatching starts. However, come earlier, and you may find the mothers laying the eggs.
Greece is a prominent place, and it’s excellent news that many Greek islands welcome nesting grounds for various species of sea turtles. You can visit any Grecian places, such as Zakynthos, Chania, Kyparissia, Koroni, Rethymno, and Lakonikos, to see baby turtles hatch.
Here, you’ll find several turtle species, such as the Loggerhead turtle, African Softshell turtle, European Pond turtle, Leatherback turtle, and Yellow-bellied Slider Turtle. Tortoise species like Greek tortoise, Hermann’s tortoise, and Marginated tortoise, amongst others. You’ll be able to see many species of turtles hatching between August and October.
5. Iztuzu in Turkey
Iztuzu is called “Turtle Beach” for a reason. It’s part of the Köycegiz-Dalyan Special Environmental Protection Area, set aside to protect endangered turtle species from harm. So while Loggerheads are the primary nesting species here, you’ll find other species occasionally here.
The perfect time to visit the turtle nesting grounds for hatching here is May to June. In that short period, you’ll find thousands of baby Loggerheads making their bid toward survival.
A few rules to follow when watching turtles hatching
It can be an exciting experience to watch turtle eggs hatch. But don’t forget to follow these essential rules when there –
- Maintain a reasonable distance between yourself and the turtle nesting ground.
- Do not pick up a turtle egg or a newly hatched turtle.
- Do not try to take selfies with the eggs or newborns.
- Do not interfere with the hatching unless directed by a qualified conservationist as part of your volunteering process.
- Do not try to interfere and save the turtles from the predatory feeding post-hatching (unless specifically directed by a qualified conservationist).
- Remove any waste or garbage left by other visitors, and do not litter the beach.
- Do not record or live stream the hatching unless you have received permission to do so.
Following these rules will allow you to enjoy the turtle hatching experience while letting nature take its course.
Now you’re ready to plan and book a trip to see some precious turtles! That trip would be a great one to start a travel journal where you can jot down or take pictures of all the turtles you see.