Releasing Baby Turtles – Monterrico, Guatemala

Have you ever had a chance to hold a tiny creature in your hand? Feel it squirm around, move its little legs and hands, tickle the palm of your hand.

Holding the Turtles - Monterrico, Guatemala

From September to February, every day, CECON (Conservation Center of Studies – University of Guatemala, San Carlos) allows people to join in the release of baby turtles from their hatchery.

Entrance to CECON hatchery - Monterrico, Guatemala

In the heart of Monterrico, this is one of the best hatcheries in the country where the eggs of female turtles, after they lay them on the beach, are taken and placed in the incubator to protect them from poachers.

Incubation for Turtles - Monterrico, Guatemala

When the eggs hatch CECON has a daily ritual on the beach selling  tickets to raise funds, so that people can learn, feel and let their hearts be touched by these tiny little creatures that are becoming extinct.

Turtles at the hatchery - Monterrico, Guatemala

Information to Release the Turtles

Arrive around 5 pm to the CECON Hatchery to buy your ticket

CECON turtle Hatchery - Monterrico, Guatemala

The actual release takes place on the beach at 5:30 pm – but tickets run out so it is a good idea to get there early

While waiting enjoy the small hatchery and see the good work that is being done

Exhibits at the Hatchery - Monterrico, Guatemala

Price – Each ticket to release one baby turtle is $1.25. Additional $1.25 to enter the hatchery/rescue center which houses turtles, caiman, and lizards.

Baby crocs at the hatchery - Monterrico, Guatemala

What It Is Like Releasing Baby Turtles

The process is extremely well organized and well maintained.

Truth be told, we’ve been walking around Monterrico for over two hours and barely saw any souls. But when it was time to release the turtles, the beach area where it happens was packed.

Gathering for the Turtle Release - Monterrico, Guatemala

Plus, CECON ran out of tickets and not everyone was able to do the release. But they were able to watch.

You exchange the ticket for a tiny little creature

Exchanging ticket for turtle - Monterrico, Guatemala

Next you wait until everyone has a turtle and we are all ready to let them go.

And off they go. The process is super slow, but so so fun

Releasing baby turtles

Some of the turtles get lost, they head in the wrong direction and but with a little help from the biologists they end up going where they need to be.

Turtles going off to Sea - Monterrico, Guatemala

Just watching them go is a true wonder

Turtle Release - Pacific Ocean - Monterrico, Guatemala

Bye Bye turtle – have a good life.

Off to Sea - Turtle Release - Monterrico, Guatemala

See all that happens live and root for the baby turtles with us.

Releasing Baby Turtles – Monterrico, Guatemala


About Marina Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 20+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!

25 Responses to Releasing Baby Turtles – Monterrico, Guatemala

  1. Thanks so much for sharing your story– I felt like I was there! What an awesome lesson to teach your kiddos too!
    Green Mommas recently posted..The 4 Minute DIY Hairspray that Actually Works!My Profile

  2. irish says:

    Lovely! I would lve to experience that. Great shots with your little buddy there. 🙂 Really cool that your family participates on such activities. 🙂

  3. This sounds like a great experience. Hoping to make it there one day! Thanks for the inspiration:) In the meantime, what’s your take on shipping baby/toddler gear ahead of time to your destinations? Have you done that during your travels? If not, what are your tips for traveling lighter with kids? I’d love to hear them (check out my hint today on the topic:
    Jennifer Saranow Schultz recently posted..Today’s Hint: How to Travel Lighter With Your Little OneMy Profile

  4. Lori says:

    It looks like a very special moment and experience. I’m glad you had this chance 😉
    Lori recently posted..Las Vegas seen from aboveMy Profile

  5. Robi says:

    Kudos to all of you there especially the organization that spearheaded this cause. I wish all human beings had the same heart such these examples. 🙂
    Robi recently posted..San Nicolas ~ Be Careful With My HeartMy Profile

  6. This is such a beautiful page! The photos of the turtles are just superb 🙂 You must have such an interesting life with all the travelling 🙂

  7. Gabriel says:

    That’s awesome. A couple of months ago a Leatherback turtle laid around 40-50 eggs on the beach in the Dominican Republic. Unfortunately we missed the hatch but the videos looked awesome.
    Gabriel recently posted..10 life lessons learned from surfing – Episode 3 – InstinctMy Profile

  8. Amazing! What a beautiful experience! I would love to participate and can imagine that it is only more wondrous with and for children!
    mary @ Green Global Travel recently posted..JORDAN: Why I’d Prefer to Forget Visiting the Dead Sea, JordanMy Profile

  9. Oh, how I have always wanted to do this. I was just a few weeks off in timing when I was in Costa Rica about 20 years ago.
    Heidi Wagoner recently posted..Nice To Meet You!My Profile

  10. Elle says:

    How lovely! That sounds exactly like the kind of thing I’d love to get involved in. It’s good to see tourists giving something back, instead of destroying the habitat.
    I holidayed on the Greek Island of Zante some years ago, and was lucky enough to see two giant turtles mating at the water’s edge as the sun rose. The locals told us it was rare to catch a glimpse.
    Nature at its best.
    Thanks for sharing your photos too!
    Elle x
    Elle recently posted..Spanish Crossword – Out & AboutMy Profile

  11. I love that they are teaching about turtle conservation!
    wanderingeducators recently posted..Shy Feet: Short Stories Inspired by TravelMy Profile

  12. OMG those are the cutest little creatures! Sounds like a well-run program.

    I’m curious – did you run into any organizations there that were playing to the eco-tourists but didn’t seem to actually have the skills or resources to back it up?
    Paige Conner Totaro recently posted..What to do in Washington DC with kids during the federal shutdownMy Profile

    • Hey Paige,

      There were a few people selling turtle tours that weren’t part of the organization. Luckily we didn’t go with them and found out that the organization, charged a lot less, was doing them the right way!

  13. My kids would LOVE the chance to do this! We missed our chance in Costa Rica, sadly. Thanks for sharing the cool experience and photos
    Shelly Rivoli recently posted..Roundup: Yosemite Family Vacation TipsMy Profile

  14. Ann says:

    What a cool and unique experience! How did you ever find out about it?
    Ann recently posted..My favorite family travel walletsMy Profile

  15. What a great experience! I’d love to do that with my son.
    Bethaney – Flashpacker Family recently posted..Bidding for Business Class – List of Airlines That Allow Bidding for a Business Class UpgradeMy Profile

  16. What a cool experience! I have a friend who works for Sea Turtle Inc. in Texas and gets to do this nearly every day. Talk about a sweet job!
    Cat of Sunshine and Siestas recently posted..Seville Snapshots: Summer Nights at Plaza del SalvadorMy Profile

  17. That must be an incredible thing to get to be a part of!!Doing this is definitely on my list of things I want to do!

  18. What a cool experience! I’ll be there in a few weeks and will definately check it out thanks 🙂
    Eleisha Lauria recently posted..Maybe travel blogging is like drinking beer…?My Profile

  19. Jennifer says:

    I would love to experience baby turtles going to the sea!
    Jennifer recently posted..We Want to Go With Oh to Dublin! #GwOGuestTesterMy Profile

  20. Oh, I love this! We had a chance to see a mama turtle lay her eggs in Costa Rica a couple of years ago, and it’s one of my very favorite travel memories.
    The Barefoot Nomad Travel Site recently posted..The Best of Lisbon 10 Things You Shouldn’t MissMy Profile

  21. What a delightful (and savvy) ritual — and a bargain to boot!
    Terry at Overnight New York recently posted..Yotel New York: On Your BikesMy Profile

  22. Ahhhh!!! SO CUTE!!! And also good for the environment.
    Lillie – @WorldLillie recently posted..Kayaking: A Great Way to Tour a River City Like Boston!My Profile

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