Insights on Travel from Costa Rica Expeditions’ Founder Michael Kaye and his Expert Friends.

Worldwide Sea Turtle Nesting Sites.

Tip on When to Visit: The gestation period for all species of sea Turtles is approximately 60 days.  To see both nesting and hatching visit at least 60 days after the start of the season.

Ascensión Island, Green Turtles. Season:   December and June. May be the largest Green nesting site in the world, but access is very difficult

Australia, Bare Island at Great Barrier Reef.  Flatback Turtles. Season Year around. Peak May- October.

Costa Rica, Tortuguero Beach.  Season: May-October. Nesting peaks in July and August.  Trackers on the beach spot nesting turtles and radio their locations to the guides.

Costa Rica, Ostional Beach.  Olive Ridley Turtle. Season August-December. Mass nesting, called “arribada,” the Spanish word for “arrival.” generally occur during last quarter moon.  Arribadas last 3 to 7 days.  During this time anywhere from thousands to hundreds of thousands turtles lay eggs on the beach.  The largest arribada on record was an estimated 500,000 turtles in November 1995.

French Guiana, Awala-Yalimapo Beach. Leatherback & Green Turtles.  Season: February- August. Unique because the Leatherbacks Turtles nest during day light at sunset, but there is little infrastructure and poaching is common.

México, Various Beaches, Yucatán Peninsula. Hawksbill TurtleSeason: May to October. Hawksbill shells are used to make combs and other trinkets.  Hawks Bills are an endangered species. Harvesting Hawksbills is illegal in most of the world, but some amount of harvesting is allowed in Cuba, the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos.  Even if harvesting Hawksbills is permitted it is illegal to bring Hawksbill products into most countries and unethical to buy Hawksbill products and thus encourage the trade.  That said, the biggest threat to all sea turtles, including Hawksbills is habitat destruction.

Mexico, Tamaulipas, Rancho, Nuevo Beach. Kemps Ridley Turtle. Season: Arribadas April-July.  Kemps are the only other species besides Olive Ridleys that nest in mass.  At between 70 and 108 pounds they are the smallest of the Sea Turtles.

United States: Southern Florida and South Carolina, Various Beaches. Loggerheads Season: Spring to early Summer.

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