Sayulita Turtle Camp: Sea Turtle Preservation
Campamento Tortuguero Sayulita
As environmental awareness grows in Sayulita, so does the wildlife. Campamento Tortuguero Sayulita is a voluntary community project. The goal of this Sayulita organization is to relocate the sea turtle nests, as well as educate locals and visitors how to protect them from poaching. A huge effort has been put into effect for programs to educate young, local children about the importance of sea turtle preservation and environmental compassion. Sayulita is along the Nayarit Coast and is home to the Olive Ridley sea turtles. Recently in the winter of 2016, residents of Sayulita were excited to see a very rare nest of Leatherback turtles emerge from their nests. Locals and vistors enoy the sunset releasing of the hatchlings where many volunteers, families, and children help. Educating and protecting the beach helps the little baby turtles get a chance at life and has become an important goal within the Sayulita community.
The beaches of Sayulita are the perfect location for large numbers of sea turtles to nest. Although sea turtles live most of their lives at sea, the females return to land and lay their eggs. Female turtles always return to the precise location where they themselves were born to lay their own eggs. Because of this, it is extremely crucial to preserve the turtles natural habitat and preserve their species from poaching. After incubating for about two months in the beaches of Sayulita, the two-inch long turtles hatch, erupt as a group from their nest in the cool of the night, and scurry down the beach to the sea.
For the past eight years, locals and volunteers have come to Sayulita with the dedication to help preserve the native sea turtles and their legacy. Sayulita has been blessed with the amout of volunteers, night patrols, official uniforms, and interns as more awareness of the local program has increased. The creators of Campamento Tortuguero Sayulita emphasize their wish to keep the local Sayulita beach front clean and are trying to provide an example to others about volunteerism and give back to nature. The main season when volunteers are needed most are from the months of June to February. Sayulita’s Campamento Tortuguero is now part of a civil association known as Red Tortuguera A.C. that has similar turtle camps in different areas of Nayarit. This Sayulita association has not been provided any funds, so the turtle camp is entirely dependent on volunteers time and donations from locals and tourists.
Adopt a Turtle Nest
Campamento Tortuguero Sayulita welcomes all local residents and those visiting Sayulita to adopt a turtle nest. Turtle nests are available for adoption for $500 pesos and you will have the opportunity to release the baby turtles when your nest hatches. Be sure to check the Campamento Tortugueo Sayulita Facebook page, as they update frequently on adoption nests. By adopting a turtle nest, funds go directly to the camp for use of materials, flashlights, wood for the incubation area, marking points, markers, and more.
When to Visit
The turtle camp is on Sayulita's north playa just beside the Las Hamacas Compound and before Hotel CasaBlanca. It is a roped off area on the beach with marker sticks indicating each nest. Turtle Camp is open year round. To get there, walk past three compounds from the trailer park and Terrazola restaurant. Volunteers are needed to help relocate nests from the months of June and July. Be sure to check the North side of the beach every night around 6:30pm for the turtle release. Enjoy the sunset and help release the baby turtles that hatched that day! For those visiting during the end of the season, there is a year-round, river turtle rescue sancturary located on the inside of the fence at the property. Visitors are encouraged and welcomed to come and see the turtles all year round. Please check in at the bar before entering.
To find out more information, please visit Campamento Tortuga Sayulita's Facebook page.
Photography by Camilla Fuchs Photography and Val VanRheen