Where to Release Sea Turtles in Puerto Vallarta: Times and Dates


Attending a baby sea turtle release in Puerto Vallarta at a local sanctuary is definitely on the top of our list of things to do as a family in the area. During hatching season, sea turtle liberation ceremonies in Puerto Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta, and Sayulita are held almost daily at the different camps and sanctuaries around Banderas Bay.

When you participate in a sea turtle release in Puerto Vallarta, you’ll be part of the conservation efforts that help the baby turtles make it safely to the water. Before participating in a sea turtle release Puerto Vallarta event, learning more about them will make sending a little baby turtle out to sea even more meaningful. Below we’ll cover Puerto Vallarta turtle release dates, hatching season, and the best places to see them.

Sea Turtles in Puerto Vallarta

Banderas Bay is home to some of the most important beaches in the world dedicated to the conservation of sea turtles. Sea turtle season is one of the most popular events of the year in the area for locals and tourists alike. The main species of sea turtle that return every year to the shores of Puerto Vallarta is the Olive Ridley, named for their dark green color.

Females return to the same beach they were born at to deposit their eggs 10 to 20 years later. They make their way to the shore starting slightly before sunset and they are most active sometime around midnight since the sand is cool and many of their predators are sleeping.

Baby Turtle Hatching Season

The season for releasing baby sea turtles in Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit is between the months of July and December, although it occurs frequently outside this period of time.

45 days after the mother lays 50 – 250 eggs that are roughly the shape and size of ping pong balls, the baby turtles are born and come to the surface.

Sea Turtle Protection Program

If you spot a mother building her nest during sea turtle nesting season, it’s important to contact the Patrulla Verde (Green Patrol) by calling 911. If the hundreds of eggs are left there, they are at risk of being poached, stepped on, ran over by ATVs, or eaten by predators. The Green Patrol will help take them to a conservation camp where they can safely hatch in 45 days. 

The area’s coastline is one of the most important breeding grounds for multiple species of sea turtle, and Bandera Bay’s preservation program ensures that sea turtles will thrive for years to come.

Sea turtles suffer from poaching as they are often slaughtered for their eggs, meat, or shells. Only 5% will ever reach adulthood, which is the reason Sea Turtles are an endangered species. Conservation efforts in Puerto Vallarta have been very successful, where approximately 2,500 nests are laid and around 150 thousand hatchlings are born and released every year.

turtle, coast, amphibian

Turtle Release Camps in Puerto Vallarta

In these camps, the turtle nests are looked after until the eggs hatch, and they organize turtle release ceremonies where visitors and volunteers can join to witness how this amazing marine species finds its way into the ocean for the first time. Below are the best sea turtle camps in Puerto Vallarta for release ceremonies:

Boca de Tomates Sea Turtle Camp

The Boca de Tomates Saving Sea Turtles release camp & sanctuary is right behind the Puerto Vallarta airport on the beach. You’ll see airplanes taking off right over your head on the beach! The staff claims an average of 60,000 baby turtles are released each year. The babies are released at sunset to minimize the risk of being prey to birds, fish, and other natural predators. Book a tour that includes:

  • Ground transportation in vans with A/C
  • Small group visit to the sea turtle camp
  • An educational talk about sea turtles by a professional biologist guide
  • At sunset, help release the baby sea turtles and get them safely to the ocean
  • A donation to the sea turtle camp conservation program

Your donations to the sea turtle release camp help keep the conservation efforts alive by supporting the hard work of a dedicated team of Mexican biologists and volunteers to increase the survival rate of Olive Ridley sea turtle.

See Release Dates & Times

CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Turtle Release

The Marriott Puerto Vallarta turtle release is one of the most popular ones in the area. Since 2005, it has been one of the resorts leading the way for the conservation of sea turtles in Banderas Bay, releasing an average of 60,000 baby sea turtles each season. After they hatch, guests of all ages are invited to participate in the release. The release dates and times vary depending on the month and day, so we recommend calling in advance to plan your visit.

Contact Marriott for Release Times

Puerto Vallarta Sea Turtle Release

Mayto Turtle Sanctuary

The Mayto Sea Turtle Camp is one of the largest camps in the state of Jalisco, 2 hours south of Puerto Vallarta. They are focused on environmental education and conservation through student programs and volunteering camps.

More Information

Turtle Release Nuevo Vallarta Sanctuary

In Nuevo Vallarta on Flamingos Beach, there is a sea turtle preserve dedicated to the conservation, hatching, and releasing of baby sea turtles. See Release Dates & Times

Nuevo Vallarta Sea Turtle Release

Sayulita Turtle Release Camp

Take a short hike on the beach to reach the Sayulita Turtle Release Camp. Baby sea turtle releases happen on the same day that they hatch which is they can only announce release dates and times at 10 am on the day of the event.

Adopt a sea turtle nest or donate to their conservation program by emailing antonio_banderas270@hotmail.com.

See Release Dates & Times

An adopted sea turtle nest in Sayulita

Sea Turtle Volunteer Opportunities

Adopting a sea turtle nest is one way you can help donate money to volunteer-run camps or sanctuaries. They are available for around $500 MXN and you will have the opportunity to release the babies once they hatch! All funds go directly to the camps for materials, flashlights, gasoline for the 4-wheelers, and more.

Another option is to join a Sea Turtle volunteer vacation program. As part of the sea turtle volunteer rescue effort, you’ll be working to support relocate nests, care for hatchlings as they emerge from their nests, and help release them into the ocean. Learn how to collect nesting data on turtles and keep an organized egg inventory. If you are looking for the most unique vacation opportunity, this is it!

Early morning beach patrols are usually run on ATVs, and the days are spent supervising the incubation area, releasing hatchlings at sunset, helping with beach clean-ups, designing publicity, educating visitors, or simply relaxing.

Below is a flyer for the sea turtle volunteer/vacation program at the Boca de Tomates Camp:

Flyer for Sea Turtle Volunteering in Puerto Vallarta


What kind of sea turtles are in Puerto Vallarta?

The main species of sea turtle that return every year to the shores of Puerto Vallarta is the Olive Ridley, named for their dark green color.

When is turtle hatching season in Puerto Vallarta?

The season for releasing baby sea turtles in Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit is between the months of July and December, although it occurs frequently outside this period of time.

Is it free to help release baby sea turtles?

Participating in a turtle release in Puerto Vallarta is usually free, but donations help keep the conservation efforts alive. Make sure to reach out to the turtle camp you are interested in to ask for more information before showing up.

Source: beachpleasemexico.com

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