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A Guide to Saving Turtles & Enjoying Beach Vacation At The Same Time

If someone asks me what’s my passion, my answer would be Nature. It doesn’t matter if the its the icy lake of Baikal or tropical beaches of Mexico. I have been living in different continents and taking part in marathons just to satiate my urge for adventure and nature.

Loving nature not only means mountains and oceans, for me Nature encompasses all living beings also. For this reason, I am also actively engaged in various wildlife protection programs around the world.

A vacation usually means enjoying the destination without a care for the world. But isn’t that a bit selfish when you can do much more? Ever thought how you can be an ecological warrior even when you are a traveller? Can you help, save or conserve those endangered species like sea turtles in Akumal? Can your travels boost a fragile ecosystem?

Seems impossible? Not exactly! Any traveler can contribute to the surrounding and the environment of a destination if she or he is considerate enough.

Akumal in Mexico is one such destination where you can enjoy to the fullest as well as satisfy you duties towards Mother Nature. Akumal is not just about endless beaches but is also a breeding ground for two species of endangered turtles. Every year April 15 is officially the start of the turtle nesting season in Akumal, Riviera Maya.

Each year, like clockwork, adult female loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) come to the sandy beaches of Akumal to build their nests. The mother turtles can lay up to 150 soft-shelled eggs twice or more in every season. It takes about 60 days for eggs to hatch. Baby turtles head for the sea straightaway with the moonlight aiding them to their destination. On their journey, baby turtles smell and taste their way to the waters. It is truly mysterious that these turtles return to the same beach when they have to nest.

In 2012, Riviera Maya region of Mexico accounted for 200 loggerhead with 14,856 hatchlings and 596 green turtle nests giving 43,397 hatchlings.

Read more about sea turtles of Akumal and my marathon

So if you also wish to take part in the conservation of these turtles you can volunteer for one of the several organizations working for the turtles. Otherwise also, you can comply few guidelines which can help you in becoming a responsible and environmentally aware tourist.

  • Don’t use lights on the beach. If you’re staying near the beach then turn off your outdoor lights and cover windows so as to not allow light to seep out.
  • If you spot a turtle on the beach or coming to the shore for nesting then intimate the hotel staff or one of the many turtle patrol so that the turtles can be accounted for and their nests marked and protected.
  • Do not disrupt turtles in anyway. Flash lights scare the turtles and impeded the nesting & egg laying activities. So avoid flash lights.
  • Tourists are discouraged from touching the turtles or interfering in the nesting process in any way.
  • Turtles need clean beaches. Beach chair and other stuff which may hamper turtles’ movement should also be removed. As a good tourist do not litter the beach and allow turtles to have a free run on the beach.
  • Pets can harm turtles, eggs and baby turtles. Noisy pets can also scare away turtles.
  • Nests are sanctum sanctorum for turtles. Do not disturb them. If you believe that a nest has not been marked then notify the hotel staff about it.
  • Nesting turtles need peace and solitude. Beach parties with lights and loud music hamper turtles’ nesting so don’t indulge in such activities.

Nature needs minimal human interference. It has a great capacity to regenerate and grow without our assistance. Most tourist destinations suffer from high amount of human activity. Due to ever increasing need for more land, water and resources, nature and wildlife are put at stake. The need of the hour is to promote sustainable tourism which respects and take cares of the environment without hampering the commercial aspect.

Effort by the locals, hotels and the tourists in Akumal to save sea turtles is one such example of sustainable tourism. Akumal is establishing itself as a tourist and real estate destination which is different than it’s bigger and more established neighbors such as Playa del Carmen and Cancun.

It has strategically promoted itself as a less crowded destination where you can again connect your inner self with the nature.

So what are you waiting for? Akumal is the buzzing with activity right now. Catch those sea turtles nesting and witness a wonder of nature.