The sea turtles in Riviera Maya are one of the many species of animals that have become a big attraction of guests vacationing at this Caribbean destination! At Princess Hotels Mexico either during your morning walk or in the afternoon at the Chill Out, you will have the opportunity to see amazing animals like:
● The coatis
● The spider monkeys
● The crocodiles
● The cat family that lives in our hotel and that is in constant expansion
In addition to these animals, at Princess Hotels Mexico we welcome, every year, the visit of thousands of sea turtles in Riviera Maya that arrive at the beaches of our hotel. The visit marks the beginning of the turtle nesting season. We are proud to be the first home of thousands of newborn sea turtles in Riviera Maya that begin their lives at our resort!
Sea turtles are cold-blooded animals that prefer warm, tropical waters to live their lives. Of all the places in the world, the Mexican coast is one of the favorite places of these incredible animals. The Mayan Riviera is one of the destinations where sea turtles create their nests and lay their eggs. The warm natural climate together with the white sand beaches make this the natural ecosystem that sea turtles love and seek. It is the ideal place to start a new life for all sea turtles that are born every year.
During 2018, the Riviera Maya hosted the arrival of the largest number of sea turtles to date, with a total of 2708 sea turtle nests. These nests produced about 318,571 turtle eggs, which resulted in a total of 95,760 newborn sea turtles that returned to the ocean so they could start their new life.
→ Turtle season: usually begins in May and ends around September. However, due to climate change, this period has extended to the coldest months of October and November. For all the inhabitants of the Riviera Maya and Mexico in general, sea turtles are a special and sacred animal. Its importance is expressed with pride throughout Mexico and in other countries. You can see representations of this animal in places like:
● The archaeological ruins of Quiriguá, in Guatemala
● The Governor’s Palace of Uxmal
● The Temple of the Warriors at Chichen-Itzá, in Yucatan, Mexico
FOR THE MAYANS: the turtles were a very important cultural and religious symbol which has been represented in several Mayan legends. One of the most popular says that the moon and the sun escaped the destruction of the Universe by covering themselves with the shell of a turtle. The mythological deities were also represented with icons of turtles, especially Pawahtun. He is one of the 4 Mayan gods who hold the Cosmos with his arms and who, moreover, is the patron of writers and painters.
Although the process of breaking the egg and crossing the beach to the ocean is already a very difficult task, it is only the beginning of the life of a sea turtle. His circle of life is a journey full of dangers and adventures:
1. When a sea turtle finally reaches the sea, it swims frantically for 24 hours straight. They look for deeper waters where there are fewer natural predators.
2. Their first stop is in the Sargassum Sea. There they will find refuge and a lot of food that will help them to grow.
3. Later, they will cross the Gulf Stream until they reach the colder north.
4. Then, they continue to swim across the Atlantic through the islands of the Azores.
5. Later on, they will continue this incredible journey when they reach the coasts of the Mediterranean and Africa. This is a place where they will remain for a longer time.
6. Finally when it’s time to lay their eggs, turtles will start they long swim back so that they can return to the shores of the beach that saw them born.
The protection of sea turtles and their nests is extremely important for this region and, also, for the World. The Department of Ecology of this state has declared that:
“Sea turtles are of vital importance for the ecological balance of ecosystems, because they promote the growth of seagrasses that stabilize beaches, are part of the food chain and regulate large populations of organisms such as jellyfish and others”.
Despite the fact that sea turtles are a highly respected and admired species in the Riviera Maya, it is still very important that everyone knows how to protect these creatures so they can have a good start to their new lives.
Currently, on the beach of Princess Mexico we have a total of 12 nests so far, of the species Caguama. Some nests begin to emerge during July. The duration of the incubation is approximately 60 days.
→ If you want to know more about sea turtles in our hotel, follow us on Facebook to be informed of the news.
• Females have the ability to store viable sperm from several males for long periods of time. In this way their eggs can come from more than one parent.
• The majority of sea turtle species are in danger of extinction. One of the main reasons for this is the false belief that turtle eggs have special characteristics that can improve sexual stimulation. This has been constantly refuted by Science, who also discovered that turtle eggs contain a high level of bad cholesterol. The shell of these turtles is also very sought after because it is used to make various objects such as, for example, combs.
• What determines the sex of the newborn sea turtles is the temperature at which the nest is, being females when the temperature is higher. When temperatures are lower, most eggs will be male and if the temperature is medium, there will be females and males alike.
• They cannot retract their fins and get into their shells. Their anatomy makes them more agile when they are under the sea but very vulnerable when they are either nesting or hatching.
• They can hold their breath for five hours under water. To achieve this, they decrease the heart rate up to nine minutes between each beat to conserve oxygen.
• They have an excellent sense of direction. Sea turtles can detect the Earth's magnetic field and use it as a compass.
• They can live up to 100 years. And that number, too, is approximately the number of eggs each turtle puts each time it nests.
This entry is also available in: Spanish