Every species bar one is endangered so now is the time to experience a once in a lifetime opportunity to swim with these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Visiting the turtles has become a hugely popular eco-tourist activity and here are the best and most beautiful spots to get up close and personal with the Sea Turtle:
#1 Coral Coast, Australia
Australia has many turtles to see with Western Australia offering vital nesting sites for loggerhead turtles. You’ll find these at Dick Hartog Island and the Shark Bay World Heritage Site. Too experience the wonder of witnessing night-time hatching, a trip to Cape Range National Park is in order and no matter what time of the year, you can swim with the turtles at Ningaloo Marine Park. This region also offers some of the most diverse underwater habitats on the planet and gorgeous beaches too!
#2 Gili Islands, Indonesia
Diving or swimming at any time of the year here and you’ll come face to face with the Sea Turtles. There are also hatching projects on the islands where the babies are cared for in a tank before being released into the ocean. The effort to preserve the habitat and protect the turtles is honorable and the locals are committed to taking eggs to the hatchery instead of selling them at market. With coral reefs just offshore and beautiful palm-tree covered beaches, these tiny islands offer a peaceful escape to feel at one with nature.
#3 Turtle Islands, Philippines
With a name like this, you know you’re in for a treat. Hawksbill and Green turtles nest here but you may have to be patient as only a certain number of people are allowed to dive here each year. The government has declared it a protected area so diving is limited but it’s still worth the trip to grab a sighting of these beautiful creatures in this paradise setting. The Turtle Islands are a group of about 400 differently sized islands off the southwest tip of the Philippines and can boast UNESCO World Heritage status.
#4 Galapagos Islands
These islands should be on everybody’s bucket list, not just for the turtles but for the incredibly unique and indigenous wildlife found here. However, it’s easy to track the turtles here as you can watch them lay their eggs at the start of the year and hatch in April. It’s Green Sea Turtles you’ll see as there is an abundance of algae for them to feed on here. The Galapagos Islands are considered one of the top places on Earth for wildlife experiences and lie some 1000 km off the coast of Ecuador. The theory of evolution itself was developed here when Charles Darwin visited in 1835.
#5 Turks and Caicos
The special thing about travelling to the Caribbean to see the turtles is that you can get involved with tagging them. A day long boat excursion is on offer where you help with research and conservation on a Turtle-Tagging Safari. You’ll be able to follow your turtle’s progress online with updates every day. The Turks and Caicos Islands are gorgeous and secluded with breath taking beaches and some pretty impressive shopping and golf too.
#6 Turtle Bay, Hawaii
As the name suggests, there is ample opportunity to swim with Hawksbill and Green Turtles. These sea creatures are easy to spot whether you’re swimming in the sparkling turquoise waters or in the nearby lagoons. Turtle Bay sits to the north of the islands on Oahu and there’s plenty more to see here with the famous Waikiki beach and the state’s capital, Honolulu. There are plenty of luxury resorts to choose from so you can swim with the turtles and spoil yourself afterwards too.
#7 Playa del Carmen, Mexico
The best place to see turtles in the Riviera Maya is off Turtle Reef. The turtles are accustomed to seeing divers so certainly aren’t shy. Sea turtle snorkelling also takes place from Akumal Bay which is the only natural sea turtle sanctuary in this region. The setting couldn’t be more idyllic either with its long, white beaches and shallow, warm waters. Other marine life to be enjoyed includes manta rays and beautiful exotic fish. You’ll also find the unique attraction of Xcaret nearby which is an eco-park where you can learn about Mayan culture, the vibrant life of the jungle and swim with dolphins!