How to see Turtle Laying & Hatching in Mexico

      Guide to Seeing Turtle Liberations and Egg Laying in Mexico

      Put yo’ hand up if you’ve seen baby turtles hatch!? It’s on so many people’s bucket list but is a really hard one to pull off. Turtles only lay in certain seasons on certain beaches during the darkness of the night. Even doing a tour doesn’t guarantee you seeing it happen in action. In Mexico, the eggs aren’t usually left on the beach. Volunteers dig them up to keep them safe in sanctuaries.

      Mexico is a GREAT place to see the rehabilitation of turtle numbers in action, and the endless sunny beaches mean that if you go at the right time, you’ve got a great chance of catching them, and even helping out in some way.


      The turtle season starts in May and finishes up around late November. For a better chance of seeing the mumma turtles lay, go to Mexico between June and August. To witness the hatching, the best times are late August, September and early October.

      Some sanctuaries will keep the newly hatched turtles in the sanctuary for around a month to gain strength. When they are released from the sanctuaries it is locally known as a Turtle Liberation (Liberación de las Tortugas). The best time to be a part of a Turtle Liberation is in October.


      Adult turtles will only lay their eggs in the protection of the night, usually from about 11 pm. However, baby turtles can hatch during the day, though it is uncommon. It is much safer for the eggs to hatch in the safety of the night time when the birds have gone to bed.

      Turtle Sanctuaries and Hotels will usually do turtle liberations around dusk, and will never release turtles if they can see birds or other predators hanging around. If you are taking part in a liberation this may mean that you will have to wait some time before releasing the babies onto the sand.


      Taking a tour does not guarantee you will see turtles or be able to let them go, it’s all about the timing. So the longer you have in Mexico the higher your chances of witnessing an event. I lived in Mexico for two months and I was able to participate in two turtle liberations. However, I never saw an adult turtle laying eggs despite my efforts to scour several beaches over several nights. Locals who take you on tours will give you a much better chance of seeing something, as will asking around your hotel and at sanctuaries once you arrive.

      Many of the hotels in popular tourist areas conduct their own Turtle Liberations after baby turtles have hatched from the nests that the hotels protect. Not all will allow guests to take part and is at the discretion of the hotels to invite guests to take part.

      Please be wary of touts on the beach selling turtle tours. Some are not looking out for the welfare of the turtles and are just looking to make money. It’s best to either go through a sanctuary or your hotel.


      Isla Mujeres, Yucatan Peninsula 

      The best spot to see them is on the beaches along the Eastern side (along Av. Juarez), particularly the beach in front of Casa Sirena Hotel.

      Cancún, Yucatan Peninsula 

      The stretch of beach of Cancún, particularly Playa Delfines and the beach in front of Hotel Sun Palace has hundreds of turtles laying eggs during the season.

      Puerto Aventuras, Yucatan Peninsula 

      Sometimes baby turtles can be seen crawling across the beach to the water. Centro Ecológico Akumal offers nightly turtle walks from May to the end of September.

      READ: Heading to Cancun or Puerto Adventuras? Here’s my Budget Guide to the Yucatan

      Turtle Liberation Isla Mujeres


      Isla Mujeres, Yucatan Peninsula 

      The Turtle Sanctuary on Isla will have pools full of tiny baby turtles growing strong during the season. Visit them and ask when there will be a turtle liberation. They tend to give less than a day’s warning but may be able to give you an idea. When they do a liberation, the sanctuary invites all the local school children to let them go for free because it educates the youngsters and encourages them to care for the sea turtles as well. They do this at the small, calm stretch of beach in front of Poc Na Hostel.

      READ: The BEST Budget Guide to Isla Mujeres

      Cancún, Yucatan Peninsula 

      The ‘Hotel Zone’ of Cancun has many hotels participating in the protection of turtle nests. CasaMagna Marriott Cancún Resort, Sun Palace, SolyMar Condos, Royal Caribbean and JW Marriott are among those that protect baby turtles and will do Turtle Liberations once baby turtles have hatched.

      Mazunte, Pacific Coast

      The Turtle Sanctuary in Mazunte allows small groups of guests to free baby turtles once they have paid to do the tour.

      Puerto Vallarta, Pacific Coast

      Puerto Vallarta has a number of participating hotels which care for the beaches that the eggs are laid on. Many Puerto Vallarta hotels including Marriott Resort and Spa, Holiday Inn and Hotel Rosita provide guests with a unique opportunity to participate in the release of baby turtles. Click for a full list of participating hotels in Puerto Vallarta.


      turdleeee 2 rotated EXTRA SMALL FlippedYucatan Coast
      • Tulum
      • Rio Lagartos
      • Cozumel
      Pacific Coast
      • Mazatlan
      • Costalegre
      • Puerto Vallarta
      • Manzanillo
      Baja California Sur
      • San Jose del Cabo
      • Cabo San Lucas
      NOTE: This article contains Affiliate Links. That means if you book a hotel/hostel using one of the links above I will receive a small commission of the booking at no extra cost to you. Affiliate Links allow me to make a little extra cash and keep the blog running.

      READ: The Best Cenotes near Tulum and Playa del Carmen

      How to see turtle laying and hatching in Mexico - Castaway with Crystal

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      Location Info

      Country: Mexico
      Language: Spanish
      Currency: Mexican Peso
      $1 USD = 18.92 Mex$
      I was here: October 2014
      Post Updated: 24th October 2017

      Got any other great spots to see turtles in Mexico? Tell me in the comments below!

      Who doesn’t want to see turtles hatch?! Share this post!

      Categories: Central America, Eco-Tourism & Cultural Immersion, Guides, Mexico, Most Hits
      Crystal Egan

      Passionate baby goat cuddler and part-time adventurer, Crystal can often be found doing headstands on the edges of cliffs, taking photos of abandoned buildings or sleeping on deserted islands with dangerous criminals. She has too many awesome stories and helpful tips to keep them all to herself so follow along and in return she will bring you inspiring pictures, travel videos and a whole load of fun!

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