They are Back! Turtle Watching Season Has Begun in the Caribbean
by Lou-Ann Jordan Jun 5, 2023
The turtles are back!
Recently, the marine turtles’ nesting season was declared open. Every year, the sea turtles make their long trek to our shores for the females to lay their eggs. It’s a wonderful experience for adults and children. If you and the family haven’t tried it yet, you can do it this weekend or on another over the next few months. You’ve got some time.
Still, you’ll have to prepare the family, whether this weekend or another. This activity will require keeping the kids up late, as the female turtles typically make their way to the beaches after nightfall. Therefore, tours are usually done late at night. The marine visitors rely on darkness to come ashore and lay their eggs safely. What’smore, these mothers make the long journey across the ocean to lay their eggs on the beach where they once hatched.
Turtle Nesting Grounds across the Caribbean
Whichever island you’re on, there will likely be opportunities to experience this wonder of nature. Several Caribbean islands’ shores have become nesting grounds for the leatherback, loggerhead, hawksbill and greens. For example, Trinidad is known for hosting the hemisphere’s largest aggregate of leatherback turtles. The turtles are found on the Grand Riviere and Matura beaches.
In Grenada, Levera Beach is also home to a large population of nesting leatherbacks. Additionally, the island is visited by the hawksbill, loggerhead and green sea turtles for nesting and foraging. Other lesser Antilles islands such as St. Lucia, St. Vincent, St. Kitts, Antigua, Aruba, Bonaire and BVI coastlines also host varying species. For several of these countries, the season remains open until August.
However, if you’re in Jamaica and Cayman, there is a slight shift. In Cayman, their arrival occurs from May to November, while in Jamaica nesting starts in June. This minor difference notwithstanding, you can still enjoy watching this age-old ritual because the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, the Bahamas and Turks & Caicos similarly host populations of the loggerhead, green and hawksbill species.
Whether you decide to venture out this weekend or postpone your visit, you’re guaranteed to enjoy the experience. We encourage you to contact your local conservation authorities or an authorised tour company and book your tour. Also, while on your visit, remember that sea turtles are endangered species, so be careful to follow your guide’s instructions. We want them around, making their annual visits for a long time.
Sources: SWOT and World Wild Life.