During the summer months, Punta Mita welcomes a seasonal visitor, fiery female turtles of varying species: Olive Ridley, Carey, the Green Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle and the Loggerhead, which migrate for their summer beach vacation from oceans up to thousands-of miles away to Punta Mita and neighboring shores, same beaches where they were born and that now they visit to lay their eggs.
These female turtles crawl onto the beaches of Punta Mita area where they dig nests and deposit their eggs, up to 120 at a time! Between 45 and 55 days later, the young hatchlings are born, and make their first journey to the sea, where they remain for the duration of their lives. Sadly, only about one in a 1,000 baby turtles survives to maturity, but due to the Banderas Bay Turtle Protection Program, now after more than 30 years, the numbers are improving.
Another interesting fact about these wonderful animals: If the average temperature of the sand during the 3rd week of incubation is 86 degrees Fahrenheit, half the hatchlings will be female and half will be male. If the temperature rises 2 or more degrees during this period, all the baby tortuguitas will be females. If it falls 2 or more degrees, all the babies will be males.
According to our dear friend, Enrique Alejos, Cultural Concierge at Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, Punta Mita is the major nesting location for Carey Turtles in the entire Pacific Ocean! They definitely recognize the best beaches and have made Punta Mita their favorite.
Normally hatchings happens at night and PROFEPA staff together with some other local non profits as Red Tortuguera AC, protect the turtles in their nesting areas and then transport their eggs to special designated areas where they continue their incubation period in a safe environment. Whenever the eggs are ready and little turtles start emerging, these organizations schedule releases allowing volunteers to join this wonderful experience.
In 2017, almost two million baby turtles where released only in the Banderas Bay area. Sea Turtles are keystone species, meaning they have a greater importance in the food chain than their size and numbers would indicate. Stay tuned to be part of a memorable experiences while participating in wishing bon voyage to these tiny creatures, luckily many of them will be back soon to dig their own nests.
About the Releases
Inside the gates of Punta Mita, Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita offers these releases at sunset with a small fee that is completely designated to support the sea turtle conservation. In other cases, turtles releases are organized at the local beach in coordination with in town foundations. Stay tuned to be part of this amazing experience!
For more information about Red Tortuguera AC and their work, visit them on Facebook.