Before you head to the beach with your family this summer, make sure to check that your hotel is sea turtle friendly! This includes things such as lighting, educational activities and support of local sea turtle conservation efforts. Check out our list below for a sample of some sea turtle friendly resorts in Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean:
Courtyard Jacksonville Beach Oceanfront, Jacksonville, FL
In addition to being recognized as a Green Lodging Property by the State of Florida, the Courtyard Jacksonville Beach Oceanfront was also recognized as one of the Most Sea Turtle Eco-Friendly Hotels by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The resort supports the local sea turtle group, the GTM Research Reserve Sea Turtle Patrol Program and gives guests an opportunity to adopt nests.
Colony Club, Barbados
SUP dude? For an unforgettable animal encounter, guests will love Colony Club’s stand-up paddle board (SUP) and turtle swim excursion. Starting out on the white, warm sands of Barbados’ renowned beach, travelers will paddle out to The Lone Star Restaurant, one of the local, turtle hangouts, and dive into the crystal blue waters to get up-close-and-personal with the island’s friendliest marine animals – the once-endangered population of hawksbill and leatherback turtles.
Disney’s Vero Beach Resort shares its shores with nesting loggerhead, green and leatherback sea turtles. In keeping with founder Walt Disney’s conservation legacy, the resort was specifically designed to create minimal impact on the turtles’ nesting patterns. The resort’s east-facing windows are tinted to diminish the impact of interior lighting and there are no exterior lights facing the ocean. This allows for hatchlings to guided to the ocean by natural moonlight, rather than to be distracted by other harmful lighting and drawn further inland. Guests staying at the resort can sign up for expert-led Turtle Walks to see a nesting turtle on the beach at night. Each year, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort is also a release site for STC’s annual Tour de Turtles, which begins in August this year.
Sandpearl Resort at Clearwater Beach, Clearwater Beach, FL
The Sandpearl Resort offers a kids camp, Camp Ridley, that uses educational activities to teach children about Florida’s unique wildlife. Activities offered include nature walks, scavenger hunts and arts and crafts with Ridley the Sea Turtle, the camp’s mascot. The Sandpearl Resort also offers a range of enrichment program, including a behind-the-scenes tour of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to learn how rescued dolphins and sea turtles are cared for in the aquarium’s working marine hospital.
Three species of sea turtles – hawksbill, leatherback and green – nest on the tiny West Indies island every summer. And for more than 10 years a group of nesting season volunteers has worked day and night to monitor nests and do everything they can to protect the endangered sea turtles. The Four Seasons Resort Nevis does its part too, training its staff to spot turtle tracks and mark off nesting sites so they won’t be disturbed. Guests can also take part in nighttime Turtle Watch Walks with the Nevis Turtle Group. For younger guests, the Four Seasons Resort Nevis runs a sea turtle day camp, and thanks to GPS satellite tags kids can “adopt” two sea turtles and track them online year-round. Join Sea Turtle Conservancy and Four Seasons Nevis for our Annual Tour de Turtles Weekend July 10-13 as we release two satellite tagged critically endangered hawksbill turtles near the resort!
CasaMagna Marriott Cancun Resort & JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, Cancun, Mexico
The CasaMagna Marriott Cancun Resort and JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa’s Sea Turtle Protection program saves an average of 3,000 endangered baby turtles each year. From June through September, marine biologists guide the staff in preparing and caring for nesting areas on the beach. Guests at the resorts are invited to participate in the release of the baby turtles, and can do so by calling concierge to find out if turtles will be released on a given night.
Guests of the Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa are given the opportunity to observe endangered loggerheads, leatherbacks and green sea turtles laying eggs during the annual nesting season. To witness the phenomenon without risk of disturbing the sea turtles, guests are encouraged to sign up for the Escorted Turtle Walks offered by the Loggerhead Marine Life Center, which is located just minutes from the resort. At the center, visitors learn about the nesting process and are invited to return later in the evening to observe a turtle laying eggs if there is any nesting activity. Guests will also have the opportunity to meet turtles that are being rehabilitated at the center.
The Ritz-Carlton bases its kids program, Ritz Kids, on four pillars: water, land, environmental responsibility and culture. Nature’s Wonders, a program offered through Ritz Kids, allows little adventurers ages 5 – 12, to learn about and discover nature in a colorful, living eco-sanctuary, featuring 11 aquariums that house sea creatures like sharks, crabs, turtles, alligators and eels. Nature’s Wonders promotes awareness of and respect for Florida’s natural beauty and its sensitive ecosystems.
Acqualina Resort & Spa, Miami, FL
Acqualina Resort & Spa offers a variety of wildlife-themed adventure programs for kids, including a sea turtle-themed program offered during nesting season. The programs include eco-explorations, trivia challenges, scavenger hunts and other fun-filled activities. These programs are offered through AcquaMarine, the resort’s new marine biology program for kids ages 5 to 12 years old.
An official Guy Harvey Outpost, the Islander Resort is sometimes chosen as a release site for The Turtle Hospital (Marathon, FL) patients. Most recently, Miley the Loggerhead was released here on May 2nd. The resort also has a Marine Science Camp designed for kids, adults and families.
Turtle Beach, Barbados
Turtles nest on the 1,500 foot stretch of white sand this resort sits upon. The all-inclusive Turtle Beach resort protects its favorite animals by muting its beachfront lighting and by partnering with the Barbados Sea Turtle Project to help facilitate the birthing process. The Turtle Beach staff also participates in regular coastal clean ups to protect the turtles’ habitat, while their elite team of Turtle Pioneers teach guests about island conservation efforts.
The Resort at Longboat Key Club & Lido Beach Resort, Sarasota, FL
Just minutes away from The Resort at Longboat Key Club and Lido Beach Resort, Sarasota’s Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium has treated and released more than 100 sea turtles at their rehabilitation center and monitors more than 35 miles of Longboat Key’s nesting beaches. Back at the resorts, kids will love spending a day at Camp Loggerhead and embarking on the Children’s Beach Walk & Turtle Talk. They’ll learn about some of the ocean’s longest-living creatures and even get to take home their own plush turtle toy.