Turtles are fascinating creatures, but if you waited for them to come to you, you’d be wasting years. Luckily, there are places around the world where you can see them in their natural environments. In honor of World Turtle Day on May 23, a number of beachy destinations are hosting special events and activities to celebrate turtles and tortoises and to highlight their ecological plight. Ready to add some turtle time to your summer trip? Here are five opportunities in Florida, Barbados, and Mexico to get you started.
At the Sandpearl Resort in Clearwater Beach, Florida, some 150 loggerhead turtles nest on nearby beaches this time of year. Alongside guides from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, which patrols the property’s beaches, hotel guests can witness a release right outside their rooms.
Southward in Sarasota, the Mote Marine Aquarium treats and releases dozens of sea turtles at its rehabilitation center. Guests staying at nearby Lido Beach Resort and The Resort at Longboat Key Club can participate in kid-friendly turtle walks, learn about the turtles’ natural habitats, and take home a plushie turtle toy during the festivities.
On the eastern side of the state at the Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa, where endangered leatherback, loggerhead, and green sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs, hotel guests can take a peek at turtle nesting during nighttime walks hosted by a local marine-life center.
Heading to Barbados? At the beachfront Colony Club, guests can shell out for a combination stand up paddleboard tour and turtle swim, or they can sail a catamaran into the warm, turquoise Caribbean Sea to spend some quality time with the resident reptiles.
And in tourist hot spot Cancun, the CasaMagna Marriott Cancun Resort and the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa‘s sea-turtle protection program fun alternative to that other aquatic institution, Senor Frogs. From June to September, the resident marine biologists invite guests to participate in nightly releases of teeny-tiny baby turtles.
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(Photo: CasaMagna Marriott Cancun Resort)