Endangered Species / Tourism

It’s Turtle Time

The Pacific leatherback turtle is one of the ocean’s largest and most magnificent reptilian species. Sadly, without expanded conservation efforts, its last population stronghold could vanish in the next 20 years. It’s not the only turtle threatened with extinction, either. All seven species of sea turtles, from loggerhead to hawksbill, have an unfortunate place on the endangered species list.

Fortunately, sustainable tourism is playing an important role in turtle conservation. Here, we highlight five Rainforest Alliance Verified™ hotels doing their part to protect sea turtles:

This baby leatherback turtle could eventually weigh 2,000 lbs.

This baby leatherback turtle could eventually weigh 2,000 lbs.

  • Secrets Marquis Los Cabos manages a sea turtle protection and release program in Mexico.  Each year, turtles come to nest on the hotel’s beaches from the months of May to August. Guests are invited to help guide newly-hatched turtles to the ocean.
  • In Nicaragua, where locals have long collected olive ridley turtle eggs for food, Hotel Utz Tzaba is offering a sustainable economic alternative. The hotel buys the eggs from collectors, incubates them for 45 to 55 days and releases the hatchlings in the sea.
  • Nicaragua’s Los Cardones Surf Ecolodge protects four species of endangered sea turtles, relocating their nests to a hatchery and caring for the turtles until they break through their shells. Guests here are also invited to participate in the turtle release program.
  • Parque Maritimo El Cocealso located in Nicaragua–incubates turtle eggs in artificial nests and ensures their safe release after hatching.
  • Mexico’s Dreams Los Cabos Resort and Spa  trains its staff in the protection, handling and release of sea turtles to ensure that its beaches provide a safe haven.

The Rainforest Alliance works with hotels, restaurants and other tourism businesses to help them improve their environmental, social and economic practices. Our standard for tourism operations has been recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). Through training and technical assistance, we teach them how to operate sustainably and verify their progress toward this goal. Those enterprises that meet our requirements are eligible to receive promotional benefits, including the use of the Rainforest Alliance Verified™ mark.

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