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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

Last Updated on September 11, 2023

25 thoughts on “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!

  2. 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: http://hintmama.com/2013/10/04/todays-hint-how-to-travel-lighter-with-your-little-one/)

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      I’v never shipped any of my kids stuff before arriving. Never needed it 🙂

  4. 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. 🙂

  5. 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 🙂

    http://www.belle-jeunesse.com

  6. 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.

    1. Hey Gabriel,

      I actaully saw a leatherback turtle lay her eggs in Costa Rica like 15 years ago. It was amazing.

  7. Amazing! What a beautiful experience! I would love to participate and can imagine that it is only more wondrous with and for children!

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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?

    1. 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!

  11. 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

  12. 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!

  13. 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!

  14. What a cool experience! I’ll be there in a few weeks and will definately check it out thanks 🙂

  15. 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.

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