STC Programs: Research: Bluff Beach, Panama

Bluff Beach is located on Isla Colon, 6 km from the town of Bocas del Toro, and is a nesting site area for leatherback, hawksbill and green sea turtles between March and October.

In February, 1997, the Mayor and City Council of Bocas del Toro declared Bluff Beach a Municipal Reserve. This designation provided protections for this regionally important nesting beach. In 1999, the reserve was officially regulated.

In 2010, the Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) promoted the creation of a community organization to conduct beach monitoring and scientific research in cooperation with other important stakeholders in the región, such as the Smithsonian Institute and Alianza Bocas. In 2011, with the support of USAID, STC was able to start the MAREA Project and establish a community sea turtle organization, ANABOCA (Asociación Natural Bocas Carey).

The members of ANABOCA  participated in several trainings to improve organizational, technical, and operational knowledge to better face the large challenge of managing the Bluff Beach Reserve and ensuring the conservation of nesting sea turtles. In 2012, ANABOCA  began an eco-tourism program to take people out on the beach to observe a nesting sea Turtle using both local and international trained guides. To date, thousands of tourists have enjoyed the amazing experience of observing a sea turtle laying its eggs.

Nowadays, the Bluff Beach project includes nightly surveys, track surveys, and nest inventories. From April to August, STC organizes nightly public tours with STC certified guides to observe a nesting sea turtle.

If you want more information about the Turtle tours, please contact STC at or visit our Facebook page for STC Bocas del Toro.

If you would like information about applying to be a seasonal Research Assistant, please visit STC Bocas del Toro Research Assistantship Application.