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Mexico Sea Turtle Odyssey

6 days with Natural Habitat Adventures   Rating: Deluxe

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Day 1: Huatulco, Mexico
Arrive in Huatulco and transfer to Posada Rancho Cerro Largo, an ecolodge with cabanas perched high atop a cliff with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. Here on the relatively undeveloped Oaxaca coast we are perfectly situated for a unique encounter with nature. Our Expedition Leader hosts a welcome dinner and orientation this evening.
Day 2: La Ventanilla / La Escobilla Turtle Camp
This morning we explore La Ventanilla, a community-based project devoted to restoring this mangrove estuary and protecting its inhabitants, which include sea turtles, crocodiles and birds. We also visit the Body Shop factory and store, where local people make products with natural materials from the area, creating a sustainable source of income. After lunch in the fishing village of Puerto Angel, relax on the beach before returning to the lodge. 
This evening we travel to La Escobilla Turtle Camp for a briefing on the sea turtle conservation program. Local residents, aided by the Mexican Ministry of the Environment and the Mexican Navy, patrol the beach to protect turtles from poachers. Tonight we help guard the beach close to the camp before returning to our lodge around 1:00 am. We may see females coming ashore after journeys of hundreds, even thousands, of miles, to bury their eggs in the sand. This stretch of coast is one of the best in the world for observing the arribada, a Spanish word meaning “arrival,” used to describe the mass nesting of olive ridley sea turtles. With many turtles coming ashore together, and many nests hatching at the same time, there is additional defense against predation, though the turtles also become more vulnerable to hunting and egg removal by human poachers.
Day 3: Mazunte / La Escobilla Turtle Camp
At Mazunte Beach we visit the National Mexican Turtle Center, created by the Mexican government to protect several threatened sea turtle species. Here, staff work to preserve the turtles both from natural predation and from human impacts such as gill nets, pollution, coastal development and hunting for the turtles’ meat, eggs and leather. Although olive ridley numbers have been vastly reduced from their historic populations, conservation efforts are helping this endangered species make a significant comeback. This evening we return to La Escobilla Turtle Camp, where we may have a chance to help release hatchlings into the ocean. These tiny creatures, just an inch and a half long, can grow to 100 pounds at full maturity.
Day 4: Iguana Farm / Puerto Escondido
En route to Puerto Escondido this morning, we visit an iguana farm run by a biologist working to increase the local wild iguana population. Our destination is a placid seaside town whose name in Spanish means “hidden port.” Here on the unspoiled coast, we unwind at Hotel Santa Fe, a 4-star hostelry set among palms and tropical gardens. This afternoon we visit Manialtepec Lagoon where we find verdant mangroves, fishermen in dugout canoes, and a rich diversity of wetland birdlife, including herons, ibis and egrets, and more exotic species such as roseate spoonbills, white-fronted parrots and tiger herons. This evening we’ll return to La Escobilla Turtle Camp or enjoy a picnic dinner at Manialtepec.
Day 5: Puerto Escondido
Early this morning we take a motorboat excursion to look for sea turtles in the ocean, where we may observe mating activity. There's also a chance for an optional snorkeling excursion in search of colorful tropical fish, which is included. After lunch, we return to our hotel for a final chance to enjoy the beach, visit the downtown area, or simply savor some unscripted time. Tonight we'll enjoy a farewell dinner in town.
Day 6: Huatulco / Depart
Our sea turtle tour comes to a close as we transfer to the airport this morning for homeward flights.
All This Included
Many of nature’s greatest spectacles impress with their bold size: the Himalayan massif, Iguaçu Falls, blue whales, millions of animals migrating across the Serengeti Plain. Yet one of the world’s most intriguing natural marvels takes place quietly and involves tiny, vulnerable creatures. For a few months each year on Mexico’s Pacific coast, olive ridley sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs in the sand. Under the cover of darkness, the baby hatchlings scurry to the sea, remembering forever their birthplace to which they will one day return to continue the cycle of life. When you join us on this "backstage" conservation tour, you're there to witness this wonder and help ensure the tiny turtles' safe passage. It's a nature travel adventure like no other!
  • Accommodations
  • Meals from dinner Day 1 to breakfast on final day
  • Bottled water, soda and beer with meals
  • Services of NHA Expedition Leaders
  • Airport transfers on Day 1 and final day
  • Donations to the turtle museum and iguana farm
  • Snorkeling
  • Most gratuities
  • All permits, entrance fees and taxes
  • Watch sea turtles drop eggs at night as we patrol the beach and help turtle hatchlings reach the sea, alongside staff at La Escobilla turtle camp
  • Gain inside access to sea turtle conservation research through the extensive connections of our Expedition Leaders and WWF
  • Stay at a remote ecolodge where individual cabanas perched high atop a cliff survey the blue expanse of the Pacific Ocean
Mazunte: Posada Rancho Cerro Largo
Puerto Escondido: Hotel Santa Fe
  • Group Size Limit: Approximately 8 Travelers.
  • Not Included: Travel to and from start and end points of the trip (Huatulco, Mexico), early arrival and late departure airport transfers, alcoholic beverages (except beer with meals), some gratuities, passport and visa fees, optional activities, items of a personal nature (phone calls, souvenirs, internet, etc.), airline baggage fees, optional travel insurance.
  • Physical Requirements: Moderate. This adventure does not require a high degree of physical fitness. However, in order to participate in this trip, you should be able to walk unassisted on steep inclines for short distances, and you should be able to walk a minimum of 1 mile over sand and uneven terrain in the dark, as our itinerary involves walking the beach at night to look for turtle nesting sites.  Please be prepared to stay up until 1 am or later in order to spend time with the turtles on the beach. Our accommodations at Posada Rancho Cerro Largo are set on the side of a cliff, so walking up and down a fairly steep hillside is required to get to and from your cabana. Travelers should be aware that the heat and humidity may be very high and roads may be bumpy.
  • You should plan to arrive in Huatulco on or before Day 1 of the adventure, as there is an orientation and an informal welcome dinner that begins at 7 pm. Our hotel for this evening, Posada Rancho Cerro Largo, is approximately 45 minutes from Huatulco by road. We recommend arriving no later than 4 pm on Day 1 to allow ample time for the drive.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.