Releasing Sea Turtles in Rincón de Guayabitos is an Experience of a Lifetime

I will never forget the first time I released a baby sea turtle. It was magical.

It was back in October 2004, and we had just moved into our newly remodeled home in Rincón de Guayabitos a few weeks earlier. We had finished dinner and as we were about to leave the restaurant, the owner whom we had known for many years, showed us a styrofoam cooler filled with a dozen or so baby sea turtles. I was mesmerized. He asked us if we wanted to release a few of them on the beach in front of the restaurant. On our way to the beach, I was so excited and utterly surprised by the sheer strength I felt in my hands as I gently held onto these two tiny beings. That experience left a lasting impression on me.

Shortly thereafter, my husband David and I started volunteering with the local turtle camps. Turtle Camps throughout Mexico play a key roll in the survival of endangered sea turtles. Locally, volunteers from Los Grupos Ecologistas de Nayarit A.C. comb the expansive length of beaches at night to look for nests, eggs and mature female turtles. The eggs are collected and taken back to protected hatcheries. On occasion, Vicente Peña or Catherine E. Hart, who oversee the turtle camps in our area, stop by our house with coolers filled with newly collected turtle eggs. We volunteer to bury them in the sand in our protected beach area and watch over them while they incubate.

Near the end of their 45-day incubation period, we start to check for hatchlings first thing each morning. As they hatch, we collect them to keep them out of the hot sun and away from predators like iguanas, crabs, birds, opossums and dogs. We devised the mesh covers (shown in the left photo) to try to keep them contained as they hatch. We place the new hatchlings in styrofoam coolers to keep them safe, cool and hydrated Mobdro until they are released.


We then invite our friends and neighbors to participate in their release, or liberation as it is called, which takes place at dusk the evening they hatch. Los Grupos Ecologistas de Nayarit, A.C. and Hotel Peñamar in Rincón de Guayabitos organize several turtle liberations throughout the season.

Being able to hold a baby turtle in your hands, seal it with a kiss, and wish them farewell is an experience of a lifetime.


We had three Black sea turtles (aka East Pacific Green turtles), which very rarely nest in the Jaltemba Bay area, hatch under our watch back in 2010.

Olive Ridley turtles, known as Golfinas here in Mexico, typically hatch between August and mid-January. If you or your family are interested in participating, watch for release dates on Jaltemba Bay Folk, our community forum. To learn more, you can also visit the Los Grupos Ecologistas de Nayarit, A.C. community webpage.

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16 Reviews on “Releasing Sea Turtles in Rincón de Guayabitos is an Experience of a Lifetime”

  1. :

    We are here now in Los Ayala and would love to watch or participate in the sea turtle release. Please let me know details. Thank you, Marlies

  2. :

    Please send me information like where to see the turtles being released. email selmaandjoe@hotmaail.com Selma

  3. :

    I would love to release the turtles. Could I get more information. Where could I find where you are? I will be staying in Rinco De Guayabitos. Feb 7 to 2. I could be reached by email. Thanks Selma

  4. :

    Hi Allyson, my family and I will be in the area from December 24,2016 till January 4th,2017. Could you let me know if there might be a release day we could take part in during that time? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

    1. :

      Chrsty, In response to your inquiry...First of all Allyson is no longer living here, nor associated with this website. As far as the releases are concerned, we are all limited by the luck of the draw. When the female turtles lay their eggs, the gestation period is fairly constant but unpredictable. When the eggs hatch, the baby turtles need to be released as soon as possible so that their stored-up energy is not wasted while awaiting to be released. Chances are that there will be releases while you are here, but there is never a guarantee. After you arrive, it is best to ask to find out about releases. There will be plenty of them, but are unscheduled.

      1. :

        Thank you very much for the information. What is the best way to find that information out once we arrive? Is it posting on this forum or is there another way? Thanks!?

        1. :

          Christy, Again, there is no guarantee when the turtles will lay their eggs, nor exactly when they will hatch. There many many turtles laying about as many nests hatching, exactly when, where or the time of hatching is up to you know who. I would suggest that you go to the hotel Peñamar once you arrive and ask to speak with Katherine Hart or Vicente. They are the heads of the turtle camps here and should be able to give you the best guesses on just when there will be releases. Have a wonderful time here and good luck with your turtle release pursuits.

  5. :

    Hi Allyson, I am currently in La Penita and would love to experience the turtle release. Is there any coming up? I am here until Feb. 28th, 2016. Thank you.

    1. :

      Irene, I am no longer regularly involved in the incubation or release process... so it's best to post your question on our forum so others can respond.

  6. :

    I will be in Guayabitos with 5 friends Jan 10-15 2016 and would love to volunteer to release baby turtles. Who do I contact?

    1. :

      Thanks Allyson

    2. :

      Joan, you can post your question on our forum... http://jaltemba-bay-mexico.com/ Someone should be able to answer your question.

  7. :

    My daughter and I will be visiting March 14-21. I was wondering if there will be any turtle release that we can participate in at that time. Could you please email any info.

    1. :

      Hi Julie. It is very unlikely, as that is late in the season (they usually hatch August and mid-January). However, you can check with us once you arrive.

  8. :

    I never had the experience of turtle release programs, but I intend to partake in 2014.....so much to do, and all the time in the world to do it....Guayabitos......what a place....we love it so much....can't wait for our return.....

  9. :

    Quite an experience, maybe it is too late this year, Jan.30th,2013, but I would like to do it next year. So I will keep watch on the Jaltemba Bay journal.

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