Mar 02 2009
While walking along the main drag in Puerto Escondido in Southern Mexico, I started to see notices in a lot of the hotel windows proclaiming “Ahora Liberación de tortugas 5:45″. I am not a Spanish speaker, but after reading this my imagination started to run wild. I pictured poor little turtles being held against their will in shackles by evil tyrants. They are actually being “liberated” by an organization called Fundación Selva Negra that is dedicated to helping protect the survival of three types of turtles: Tortuga Golfina, Tortuga Laud, and Tortuga Prieta.
My very energetic guide Esteban, who insisted that I call him Stevie Wonder, drove us to the beach and explained the work of the Fundación. At night, they follow the huge adult turtles and collect their eggs to protect them from natural predators. About 2-3 hours after the eggs hatch, the baby turtles are then released into the sunset to make their way into the ocean. Without protection, the survival rate is estimated to be around 2%; with the help of the workers, the rate has increased to around 10%.
We spent about twenty minutes playing with the turtles and watching them walk in the sand. Contrary to popular opinion, they were quite speedy. As the sun began to set, we gathered about 200 hundred of them and took them to the sea. Some started racing for the waves; some, perfectly happy to hang out on the sand, stayed back and received a gentle nudge to go to the water; and others just started to wander off on their own. But one by one they made their way to the sea. Viva la liberación!
The Moon Handbook to Oaxaca was packed with information for eco-tourism in the area. There were lots of tourist agencies offering services. However, from what I heard, some are just using the term “eco-tour” due to the tremendous success of other tours and may not be truly qualified. The Moon Handbook highly recommended Hidden Voyages Ecotours. I also found Esteban Ortega to be fun, and I would give him high marks as a tour guide. Esteban doesn’t have a website or email, but I would be happy to email his information to anyone. He can also be found in the lobby of Hotel Rincon del Pacifico or watching his son play soccer at the local field.Read more: Eco-tourism, Mexico, Nature & Wildlife, Oaxaca, Outdoor Recreation, Puerto Escondido, Tours, Travel, Travel Tips and Resources
Lisa can usually be found staring longingly at the Eastern European shelf at the Globe Corner Bookstore. However, she really wants to go to Colombia.