How to Help Save the Turtles in the Mexican Caribbean

In Cancún, Play, Play, Playa del Carmen & Tulum by Suzanne Koch

One in every 1,000 baby turtles don’t make it to adulthood. Since the inception of the Mexican Caribbean’s Turtle Protection Program nearly 40 years ago in 1982, thousands of turtles are saved every season. And since the area is home to more than half of the world’s endangered sea turtle species, it’s especially important to protect them. Guests and visitors can take part in the efforts to save and support the baby turtles through a variety of activities around the area and at specific resorts.

“More than an attraction, the turtle protection program is a way of life in the Mexican Caribbean. Now that such programs are becoming more popular among travelers, it is our responsibility to innovate the practices while ensuring the program’s longevity and integrity is maintained.”

Dario Flota Ocampo, Director of Quintana Roo Tourism Board

Akumal Ecological Center (CEA)

In Akumal (Maya for “place of turtles”), guests can visit Akumal Turtle Camp at Akumal Ecological Center. Since 1993, the camp has been inviting volunteers for a minimum month-long program that starts with in-class education on sea turtle monitoring protocols, methods and species identification before continuing with in-field team research. Monthly program fees begin at $276.

Sea Turtle Festival

Enjoy educational activities, music, games and more during the annual Sea Turtle Festival, taking place Oct. 19-21.


Many resorts throughout the Mexican Caribbean have turtle protection programs where guests can visit and support the initiative. Akumal Bay Beach & Wellness Resort has released an estimated 10,000 baby turtles over its time and has two biologists on staff. Palace Resorts features a private-sector turtle protection program managed by professional biologists, vets and environment engineers, and since 2006 has housed more than 18,000 nests. Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa can hold 59 nests while Fairmont Mayakoba has a dedicated turtle pond to preserve species naturally found in Mayakoba canals. And Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa hosts daily info sessions and activities to raise awareness.

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