by Vanessa Martínez del Río
Mexico’s vast biodiversity, natural beauty and cultural riches are the principal tourism attractions of the country. Listed among the world’s first five nations with the highest number of wildlife species, and housing an estimated 10-15% of the global total, it is no surprise that six out of seven varieties of marine turtles come to the Mexican coasts. Marine turtles visit Jalisco, Nayarit and 10 other states privileged by the annual visit of these beautiful examples of the marine kingdom.
Following La Escobilla beach in Oaxaca, Puerto Vallarta and Nuevo Vallarta are the second- most important nesting grounds for marine turtles; in total the Central Pacific coasts of Mexico register about 200,000 nests per year.
Human contact with marine turtles is so brief that we are able to understand very few aspects of their life on the open seas. Sea turtles are solitary animals and not very social among their own kind. They migrate long distances between their feeding and nesting grounds, and only females go ashore to lay their eggs. It is therefore an honor to be present when a mother turtle arrives on the beach or to accompany the newborn turtles on their journey to the sea. There they will spend at least 8 years before returning (females only) to the beach where they were born; a trait particular to Gulf turtles.
The official marine turtle season is from August to December. However, we begin to see turtles arrive at the beginning of June. During your next visit to Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit, don’t miss this spectacle- it is a true gift of nature and something you will remember for years to come!