Sea Turtle Hatchery in Monterrico

El Tortugario in Monterrico by Rudy A. Girón

November is the one of the best months to visit Monterrico, quite possibly Guatemala’s most famous beach because there coinciding with peak turtle-nesting season, the Festival de la Tortuga 2011 (Turtle Festival 2011) will feature turtle releases, nature tours, concerts, arts and crafts, a horse show, sporting events, fun activities for children and much more.

The Tortugario (sea turtle hatchery) in Monterrico is a program by CECON, a project by Universidad de San Carlos (USAC). Criss-crossed by numerous lagoons and canals, the Monterrico-Hawaii Natural Reserve is home to a variety of birds and reptiles.

“The sea turtle is one of Monterrico’s most famous attractions, which allows foreign and local visitors alike to have a unique nature experience—once when the adult turtles come to deposit their eggs on shore and another when the hatchlings go back to the ocean,” Thomas Stutzer said on a Revue article last year.

On the same article:

One of nature’s marvels unfolds nightly this time of year on Guatemala’s Pacific coast—a beautiful yet awkward ballet of emerging life that, within minutes of existence, is challenged for survival against natural predators.

And this is the second test. The first was whether the hatchling completed its incubation at all because of human predators.Raccoons, opossums and some birds are among species that snatch up and eat sea turtle hatchlings soon after they break out of their eggs, which were deposited in sandy nests roughly 45 days earlier by mothers lumbering ashore.

Their little flippers scooting them to sea in an age-old, instinctive march, the tiny creatures are easy prey in these first defenseless hours between sand and surf.

If you’re in Guatemala in November, don’t miss the great opportunity to visit Monterrico, Santa Rosa; you won’t regret it!

© 2011, Rudy Girón. All rights reserved.

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