The Turtles Of Isla Mujeres, Visiting Tortugranja Turtle Sanctuary

by Rebecca

Isla Mujeres may be a tropical Caribbean paradise a short boat ride away from the coast of Cancun, but there’s more to this Island than it’s tourist-friendly shops, beaches and bars. Conservation is of the upmost importance here, especially in regards to the islands turtle population. I took a trip to the islands turtle sanctuary, Tortugranja, to find out about the incredible work they do in order to save, conserve and educate.

Although Sea Turtles are endangered throughout Latin America, they are still killed for their meat and eggs. In order to help preserve this animal, Tortugranja Turtle Sanctuary has made it their mission to help bring back the sea turtle from the very brink of extinction.

day trips from playa del carmen

The sanctuary is home to turtles of all sizes, across a number of species. They release about 125,000 turtles each year, but sadly only one of every 1000 will survive. The work that they do at the sanctuary not only helps persevere this majestic animal, but the fact that it is open to the public helps to educate people and raise awareness of the issues this animal faces.

Watch my vlog below to see my trip to the turtle sanctuary and the rest of Isla Mujeres. 

The sanctuary is home to several different species of turtle, including loggerhead, hawksbill and green turtles ranging in weight from 150g to more than 300kg. The larger turtles either live in tanks or are free to swim in a sectioned off area of ocean where you can sit on the dock and watch them contentedly.

After the successful breeding and hatching at the farm, thousands of baby turtles are born and ready to return to the wild. The public is not always able to watch the releases (you can ask), but the farm usually does them around 7 pm from July through November. It’s quite a sight to see the tiny creatures scurry into the great big sea. If you’re not lucky enough to witness this, you may be fortunate to see some of these tiny baby turtles still housed at the sanctuary.

The sanctuary is open daily from 9am-5am. To get there from the main area of the island, near where the ferry’s dock, you can get a golf cart for as little as $80 Peso. Entry costs $30 Peso and tours are also available, in both English and Spanish.

To learn more about the amazing work this sanctuary does, visit their Facebook Page.

Thank you for reading my post about Tortugranja. I was so happy to be able to visit whilst on the island and to see first hand the great conservation work the sanctuary does. Not everyone will be lucky enough to see one of these incredible animals in the wild where they belong. To see a group of people care so much about the future of these turtles is comforting. My only wish now would be that I am one day fortunate enough to see tiny turtle hatchlings take that mad dash to the sea in one of natures most spectacular events.

Thanks for reading,

Rebecca Rayner

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Kathleen 17/02/2018 - 1:16 am

Oh, I love sea turtles so much. It’s a fairly recent passion, but it burns bright. I have swam with them in their natural habitat and it was such a joy. What a fantastic place to visit. If we ever get to Mexico again, I will put this place on my list for sure.

Rebecca 23/02/2018 - 11:17 am

Sea turtles are such magnificent creatures. I love how passionate you are about them! I highly recommend a visit. One day I hope to follow in your footsteps and swim with them in their natural habitats. Thank you for your comment Kathleen 🙂

Alyse 17/02/2018 - 1:05 pm

What a lovely experience! These turtles are so beautiful and it’s really great to see these conservation efforts in action. Thanks for sharing!

Rebecca 23/02/2018 - 11:14 am

I have to agree. seeing a successful conversation project like this set up by a local community to protect it’s wildlife was inspiring. I loved how they used the booming tourism industry to their advantage. Thanks for your comment 🙂

Lena 17/02/2018 - 3:18 pm

I really wanted to see the turtles in Malaysia but it was way too expensive to do the tour. I love what this sanctuary is doing for these creatures. I’d really want to witness it myself one day.

Rebecca 23/02/2018 - 11:15 am

Thats such a shame. I thought visiting the sanctuary was the best way to see these incredible creatures as you are supporting a project that invests in their future. I would love to see the moment the babies get released into the wild. That ones for the bucket list. Thanks for your comment.

Laura 18/02/2018 - 9:22 am

I’ve swam with wild turtles in Barbados and Indonesia but never seen any babies! How cute and sounds great the sanctuary sounds, will have to visit when I go to Mexico….

Rebecca 23/02/2018 - 11:07 am

Seeing the babies was a massive highlight. They were so adorable. Your experiences swimming with turtles sounds incredible. One day I hope to do that too. In Mexico you can also swim with whale sharks! That would be a truly WOW moment.

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