Turtle Watch. . . .and Wait

We decided to take a turtle watch tour. It is set up by the Ranger Station in Playa Grande. We thought it would be cool to see these huge turtles come out of the water and on to shore to dig a hole and lay their eggs. Then cover it back up and head back to the ocean.
imageYes, that would have been great. However, that is not the way it works. First it doesn’t happen until well after dark once the beach has been closed off to everyone. During the day the beach it usually crowded, more so on the weekends. But at night they block it off so nobody can get down there.
So we have to be at the Ranger Station at 6:00 pm. At 6:30 they show a short video about the turtles. Then you wait, while there are people from the ranger station watching the beach from a tower for the turtles.
imageNot sure how they see them. I think they also have someone walking the beach. They may not see the turtle right away but they would see the track it makes coming on shore. It’s hard to miss. This happens to be one heading back but you get the idea.
imageSo back to the waiting. You could be waiting for hours. You don’t pay anything unless there is a turtle to see. I had already decided 9 would be our deadline. But around 7:30 they came out and said we have a turtle. Great. Now they get everyone in line to pay. Once this was done we had to follow her to the beach. We were about a block away. When we get there it is pitch black. The only light is the person leading with a flashlight with a red lens on it. The sand is real soft and deep. Eventually they are moving faster than Jane and I can keep up. So we lost what little sight we had of them. Thought about going back, but decided to forge ahead figuring we would have to run into to them eventually which we finally did. We were thinking or hoping we would see something like this
imageBut not sure how that would happen, seeing they usually come up at night. Not sure we’re they got this picture. None of the pictures with the turtles are mine. You are not allowed to take photos even without flash. Yet I found all these online. Anyway this was the only thing we got to see that night. Minus the eggs.
imageWe were watching the turtles back end for about an hour digging a hole. We couldn’t see a lot because the workers were all around the back of the turtle. You weren’t allowed to go around the front. And then some pushy girl squeezed between me and Jane to see, then got down on her hands and knees. I thought for a minute she was going to climb in the hole with the turtle. Then apparently the turtle had laid the eggs and was covering them back up. We were then told that was the end of the tour. But the workers stayed there and we had to find our own way back.

In all it was very disappointing. And after seeing what is done and how it is done I don’t think they should even be doing these type of tours. I know they are studing the turtles and tagging them and things which is fine, but they don’t need to haul 20 to 30 people there every night. But then of course they use the money they make to help them with the turtles. But there are also private tours too and they do it for profit. It would be nice to see the littles ones when they hatch and head for the water in about 30 days I think.

The problem is that of the hundreds that are born only one or two make it to adulthood. Most don’t even make it to the water. Birds get a lot of them. It’s sad. But as they say it’s the circle of life.





  1. uzcateguijoyce

    Interesting, sorry you couldn’t take pictures. Hope they gave you the flashlight for the walk back. We had one turtle come up on the beach in the daytime and then return-all with a little girl, 2 adults and 2 barking dogs watching. I was able to get video and pics. We never saw the babies hatch, though.
    Just one of the perks of living on the beach, right?


    • Joyce No flashlight for us. Had to just keep walking till we saw the tower where we came in. That must have been great to see the turtle come up during the day. Yes that is one of several perks of living on the beach. You guys are very lucky. Did you put the post on your site? If so I missed it.

      Sent from my iPad



  2. Shirley

    I thought the “turtle watch” was in Cost Rica. It’s says Ecuador at the beginning of your post.


  3. Shirley

    That explains why you didn’t mention it in your messages. And you even stayed up after your bedtime.


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