Did you now you can get a front row seat to a baby turtle release along our local Ojochal and Uvita area beaches? A visiting family members dug through a list of local activities and came across the work done by a non-profit organisation called Reserva Playa Tortuga. From July to December, sea turtles nest along our South Pacific shores. Because of the threats posed by poachers and some other activities such as illegal campfires and illegal 4WD beach traffic, Reserva Playa Tortuga volunteers remove the freshly laid eggs and carefully deposit them into protected hatcheries/nurseries. Each year dozens of nests and thousands of eggs are secured by the organisation. The freshly hatched baby turtles are then released along our beaches with the public invited to attend some of these release events.

Baby turtles in a bucket, shortly before their release.


Reserva Playa Tortuga announces upcoming releases on their Instagram page, sharing the date, time and place. Because the turtles are released almost immediately after hatching there is not much lead time – in our case, the announcement of the release was made just a few hours in advance. Search and follow @reservaplayatortuga on Instagram to connect to the turtle release updates.

A typical post from Reserva Playa Tortuga notifying of a turtle release.


A family member excitedly announced the new turtle release Instagram update – she has been waiting for many days and her vacation here was about to come to an end. So it was a lucky last-minute break!

The release was to take place at 16.30 along Playa Hermosa near Uvita. We arrived at the beach early and waited alongside the advertised lifeguard shack (torre de salvavidas) meeting spot. Soon the reserve volunteers arrived and placed the baby turtles in two buckets, allowing the public to get a close look – they also answered questions and shared facts about the turtles. These particular hatchlings were of the Olive Ridley species, the most common on our shores. Three other species make an appearance here: Green, Leatherback and Hawksbill turtles.

A Reserva volunteer showing the baby turtles in front of the lifeguard shack.

We made our way to the beach, a bit of a walk to get away from the busy and crowded section, where volunteers drew out a square area, asking everyone to stand behind the lines. They once again walked around to show off the buckets of baby turtles, answer question and communicate very important rules for everyone to follow.

Waiting for the turtle release. Notice the lines in the sand drawn to give the baby turtles plenty of space.
Showing off the baby turtles just before the release.

The baby turtles were then scattered along the beach, a fair distance from the water, and allowed to make their way towards the waves unimpeded and unbothered. The crowds kept away the birds that would otherwise swoop in for a quick bite – the seagulls and frigate birds stayed at a distance. Other animals would be ready to feast on the easy meal – stray dogs, raccoons, coatis, lizards, birds of prey, and may other opportunistic creatures are known to snack on baby turtles. But on this day, one by one, all the turtles were taken by the waves and swept out to the vast expanse of the ocean, where their adventures were just beginning. A few strugglers were helped by the volunteers and soon all turtles were swimming freely in the Pacific, leaving only their tiny flipper prints in the sand.

Baby turtles just after release.
…making their way to the ocean.
…getting closer! You can see a few turtles already hitting the wave zone.
Soon, all we had left were the flipper prints in the sand.


Check out the Reserva Playa Tortuga website https://reservaplayatortuga.org/ for more information – not only about the Sea Turtle Conversation project, but their other active initiatives such as Tree Boa Population Study, Mammal Inventory Project, Crocodilian Inventory Project, and others. You can also volunteer to help our local animals!


Playa Hermosa shortly after all the baby turtles made their way (or were helped along) to the Pacific Ocean.

Category: Animals, Everyday Life, Nature, Tourist Attractions

- August 9, 2023

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