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Experience the Riviera Maya’s Turtle Season

A Turtle Swimming Under Water

Mahekal's Sea Turtle Season

Sea turtles are some of the most incredible animals on the planet. We adore these beautiful beings so much here at Mahekal, our logo is a sea turtle! These docile creatures populate the waters of the Riviera Maya region, and form an important part of the ocean’s ecosystem. Since their nesting season occurs annually from summer to early fall, many locals and visitors to the area enjoy observing the turtles’ perennial nesting practices. If you’d like to be a part of it, here’s what you need to know about the Riviera Maya’s sea turtle season.

A Large Mountain In The Background

The Circle of Life

Sea turtles spend the majority of their lives in the warm waters of the gulf. In fact, once hatched, the males never touch the sand again. When the breeding season arrives, the turtles make their way to the beaches of the region. From May to September, the mother turtles lay their eggs in the warm sand, and then return to the sea. Since the eggs gestate for around 45 to 60 days, the peak hatching season is between the months of July-September.  

A Turtle On A Beach

An Annual Tradition

Sea turtles are legendary creatures of habit. When the time comes to deposit that year’s clutch, mother turtles always return to the same spot where they themselves hatched. Each turtle can lay up to 200 eggs within a single nest! Of the seven known species of sea turtles in the world, six are known to come to Mexico’s beaches during nesting season (including Green, Loggerhead, and Leatherback sea turtle species).

A Bird Sitting On Top Of A Turtle

Impressive Instincts

When the turtle hatchlings emerge from their shells after their gestation period, they must immediately dig their way out of the nest, and begin making their way toward the waters a few meters away. The baby turtles’ sense of direction is impressive, and the sight of them moving toward the ocean is as adorable as it is inspiring. Sadly, some fall prey to seagulls and other predators en route. But once they reach the waters, their lives begin in earnest — a lifespan that can reach up to 60 years in many cases.

A Turtle Swimming Under Water

What to Know

Because the early life of these incredible animals is so fragile, there are many important things to keep in mind when visiting the region during their nesting season:

DO keep a respectful distance from both hatchlings and mother turtles at all times.

DO NOT attempt to “help” or interfere with the turtles at any time, even if you feel they may be in danger. 

DO respect the direction of authorities in the nesting areas. Sea turtles are protected, and many local police and volunteers monitor the nests against damage and poaching. 

DO NOT shine lights at the turtles (including flash photography) or make excessive noise in their direction.

DO understand that sea turtles are wild animals, and afford them the appropriate respect. 

DO NOT smoke or litter near the nests. Trash like cigarette butts, food wrappers and plastic straws can look like food to the turtles, and will harm them if they are consumed.
A Turtle Swimming Under Water

Where to Go

Even outside of nesting season, there are many areas in the region where you can observe sea turtles, some in the wild, and some in protectorates, parks and preserves. Among them: 

Xcaret: Xcaret Park is very near Playa del Carmen. Small and medium-sized turtles live in natural pools here.  

Akumal: "Akumal" means "Land of Turtles" in Mayan. Many local companies offer turtle tours. Contact our concierge for more information.

Xcacel: Playa Xcacel is a sea turtle sanctuary in the Mayan Riviera that's home to many White and Loggerhead turtles.
A Bright Light In Front Of A Sunset

Reserve Your Stay at Mahekal

Mahekal Beach Resort is the ideal stay when the time comes to plan your turtle encounter. Our exceptional accommodations, world-class service and beachside location make us the perfect spot to experience this amazing event. Take a look at our Special Offers page, book your stay, and get ready for your adventure!

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