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Estrella del Mar Turtle Sanctuary

Established in 1998, the Estrella del Mar Turtle Sanctuary’s top goal is to protect and conserve the sea turtle within its natural environment. Take a free tour of our on-site sanctuary to learn about our efforts for ensuring the preservation of these beautiful and peaceful creatures. You can even become part of our conservation team for a day!

Our Sea Turtle Conservancy Program in Mazatlán, Mexico

Every summer, olive sea turtles return to their native beaches to lay their eggs. Turtles will venture from hundreds of miles away to return to their place of birth to lay their eggs, a ritual that has occurred for thousands of years. By safeguarding the nests and hatchlings along our 3½-mile beach each year, we have dramatically increased the number of mother turtles and their resulting offspring. Unfortunately, many of the worlds beaches are now full of developments as man continues to encroach on the turtle’s habitat. This has significantly reduced the reproductive success of turtles to such an extent that sea turtles are in danger of becoming extinct.

With programs such as the Estrella del Mar Sea Turtle Protection, there is hope for conserving the specifies. Since 1998, our efforts have resulted in an increase of more than 36 times the number of eggs being collected and the number of hatchlings. For example, for the 2013 season we collected an unprecedented 256,306 eggs and hatches and released 200,375 baby olive sea turtles.

Our Protection Efforts Include

  • Collection
  • Incubation
  • Nesting
  • Security
  • Research
  • Supplies

The Best Time to Visit

During the summer months, the busy breeding season begins, and we welcome students, tourists and local residents who desire to help and observe the process. The first turtles arrive at the beginning of the rainy season in July. Once these turtles arrive, our staff works around the clock—trying to locate the trails left in the sand; following them to the nest; and excavating, cataloging, and relocating the eggs to a secure nursery at our camp where they will be protected from predators and man. The eggs are placed at the exact depth that the mother laid them and allowed to incubate for 45 days.

After those 45 days, we get to witness the miracle of life as these shiny, precious little creatures dig their way out of the nest, shake off bits of sand and opening their eyes to their new world. Normally, these hatchlings would immediately return to the sea, but we try to allow the baby a time to recover for a brief period before placing them back on the sand and allowing them to imprint their birth place and then make a dash for the water.

Off-Season Efforts

During the off-season, the camp is used to heal injured turtles and serve as an educational source for visitors and local children. We host several seminars throughout this time, and work closely with local government agencies and schools to increase knowledge about program.

Take a Tour of the Sanctuary

Guests of Estrella del Mar can enjoy a free tour of our Turtle Preserve. Depending on the time of year, you may even participate in our conservation efforts (signup and scheduling required).

Join Our Conservation Efforts & Book Our Turtle Sanctuary Vacation Package

Want to help out even more? Book our Turtle Sanctuary Vacation Package and a portion of your package price will be used to finance the efforts of this valuable program. For only $329 USD (taxes included), you can help us preserve the life of this beautiful species while also enjoying a stay at Estrella del Mar and an exclusive look at our program. This package is available from August to November and includes:

  • Three nights in an Ocean-View Room
  • American breakfast per person daily
  • Round-trip transportation between the airport and hotel
  • Guided tour of the Turtle Sanctuary, including a visit to incubation facilities and release of hatchlings