Whether you're a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fan or not, there's no excuse for anyone to not see the real deal of turtles in their natural habitat. Turtles are known for being one of the most ancient creatures in the ocean and have been living on earth for around 215 million years.
One of our many goals in life is to see and swim with these amazing species, however, they're critically endangered. Their natural surroundings have been damaged and they’re slowly being eradicated from over-fishing, poaching and climate change, where six out of seven sea turtles are now seriously at risk of extinction.
Continue reading and celebrate with us World Turtle Day’s 19th year anniversary, by discovering some of our favourite places to see the turtles!
Fun Fact: Did you know that sea turtles live anywhere between 80 –100 years, making them some of the longest living creatures in the ocean.
Turtle Joke: What kind of photos do turtles take? Shell-fies.
1. Playa Grande
This beautiful beach is one of the top locations in the world to see humongous leatherback turtles all year-round. Of the seven turtle species, this one is the largest of them all, weighing up to around 700 kg (1500 lbs). The leatherbacks’ nesting period is between October and March, so visiting at this time means that you can get a special glimpse of hatching eggs and baby turtles making their way to the water.
Playa Grande is the world’s second largest nesting place for leatherback turtles. In order to see this amazing species, you’ll need to book a tour guide so that their nesting habits are not disturbed and that the eggs are not harmed in any way. Most of the tours are offered late in the evening, typically after sunset to ensure the safety of the turtles, but don’t worry as your guide will show you everything you need to know and much more.
Take me to Playa Grande
Flying to Liberia Airport is easy, with plenty of airlines including Delta Airlines, British Airways, Lufthansa and Air Canada stopping there. The airport offers a private minibus service to Playa Grande which is around 2 hours away from the airport.
2. Gili Islands
The Indonesian Gili Islands are composed of three tiny islands. The islands are home to Green turtles who are vegetarians and Hawksbill turtles who are the most beautiful of them all due to their colourful shells. The turtles are looked after under the protective eye of the island’s Turtle Protection Centre.
These tropical islands are good for divers, where you can dive up to around 10 metres below sea level. However, if you’re not ready for diving just yet, not to worry, you can take your snorkelling kit and have a swim with these lovely species between the months of March and September.
Take me to Gili Islands
Lombok International Airport is the nearest mainland airport to the Gili Islands. Some of the airlines that fly to the airport are Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Eurowings and Air Canada. From the airport you can take a short boat trip of around an hour long to the Gili Islands.
3. Heron Island
Australia boasts six of the seven sea turtle species; the green turtle, the hawksbill, leatherback, the olive ridley, the flatback and the loggerhead. The Sea Turtle Foundation recommends visiting the Heron Island which is south of the Great Barrier Reef and was featured on Sir David Attenborough’s series, The Blue Planet II. During nesting seasons you’ll find both the loggerhead (who are carnivores) and green turtles breeding here. On this island, you’ll be able to get a guided tour to learn more about the turtles and watch them nest. Snorkelling is also a good way to see the sea turtles. Visiting them any time from Spring to fall is a great time to get a glimpse of all the excitement.
Take me to Heron Island
The nearest airport to Heron Island is Gladstone Airport. From the airport you need to catch a ferry which takes approximately 2 hours to get to the island. Airlines such as Emirates, British Airways, China Southern and Qantas all fly to Gladstone airport.
4. Laniakea Beach
Laniakea Beach, also known as the ‘Turtle Beach’, is on the north coast of the Hawaiian island of Oahu near the city Haleiwa. This Hawaiian Paradise is home to one of the rarest species of turtles, the green sea turtle or ‘honu’. Throughout the year, turtles come to this beach to eat from the seaweed and lie on the sand to sunbathe in the sun. This makes them relatively easy to spot whether in the sea or on the shore. Scuba diving and snorkelling are popular amongst tourists here so be sure to bring your gear along. The best time to visit the beach is during spring, summer and fall.
Tioman Island is well known for being all about turtles and tropical sunshine. The island is located off the eastern coast of Malaysia, with a turtle protection centre that protects eggs from being consumed by animals and to help the baby turtles safely reach the sea. By visiting Tioman Island between May and October you will be able to find the Green and Hawksbill turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs in the sand. The island is also known for being a top destination for turtle spotting because of its vast amount of coral which attracts the turtles and it also makes it great for snorkelling too.