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World Turtle Day: 8 best places to see turtles around the world

In celebration of World Turtle Day, we've selected the best destinations to see turtles in the wild. From eastern Mediterranean coastlines to the Maldives, discover how to integrate turtle spotting into your holiday.

World Turtle Day

World Turtle Day commemorates these remarkable marine reptiles, which have outlasted dinosaurs and play a vital role in sustaining productive coral reef ecosystems.

Seeing sea turtles in their natural habitat tops many bucket-lists - but it’s important to acknowledge the harsh reality of their endangered status. By supporting initiatives aimed at conservation and sustainable practices, we can make a meaningful difference in protecting sea turtle habitats. 

Read our Animal Protection Policy for more information.

Galapagos Islands 

Discover turtles on the Galapagos Islands, where wildlife thrives amid awe-inspiring scenery. There are turtle nesting grounds at Tortuga Bay on Santa Cruz Island, where you can watch turtles (from a safe distance) approaching the beach to lay their eggs.

The Galapagos Islands enjoys a tropical climate and an abundance of other marine life, promising unforgettable adventures both above and beneath the waves.

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Costa Rica

Tortuguero National Park is the largest Atlantic Green turtle nesting site in the Western Hemisphere. Between June to September, swathes of Atlantic Green and Leatherback turtles nest on the beaches in this national park. You'll also find Turtle Beach Lodge here, which has its own private beach and runs evening tours where you can watch the turtles navigating the sands.

While Tortuguero National Park is the best place to see turtles in Costa Rica, you may also spot Hawksbill and Olive Ridley turtles at the likes of the Osa Peninsula and Cahuita National Park.

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Loggerheads and Green Sea turtles frequent the Mediterranean Sea, and many females come ashore to the beaches of Cyprus to lay their eggs. Green Bay Beach in Protaras is one of the best places in Europe to see green sea turtles; this location boasts the blue flag seal of approval, and while snorkelling you may see turtles resting on the seagrass beds.

Other turtle beaches in Cyprus include Caretta Beach and Alagadi Beach in Northern Cyprus. The eastern area of the Mediterranean, including the likes of Greece, Turkey and southern Italy, is prime breeding ground for these two turtle species.

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Situated on the east coast of Central America, Belize is a haven for marine wildlife. Overlooking the Caribbean Sea, its stand-out destination is the Belize Barrier Reef. Immerse yourself in the crystal-clear waters to admire the vibrant coral reef while Hawksbill, Green Sea and Loggerhead turtles glide past.

About a half an hour boat ride from Belize City lies St George's Caye. This area includes three protected areas, from mangrove to archaeology reserves, which provide important habitats for these endangered sea turtles

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India’s natural beauty is diverse, with plenty of beaches and islands serving as sanctuaries for various turtles. Gahirmatha Beach in Odisha is one of the world's largest nesting sites for Olive Ridley turtles, while Agatti Island in the Lakshadweep archipelago is an ideal nesting ground for Green turtles.

Hop aboard a motorboat and glide across the River Chambal; some 300 turtles were released here for World Turtle Day in 2022. The famous Ranthambore National Park comprises of rivers, lakes and forests, and among the rich wildlife are Ganga soft-shelled turtles.

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El Salvador

Between November to January, baby turtles hatch on the sands of El Salvador, such as on El Zonte, before they embark on their oceanic journey. You may also see Hawksbill turtles at Jiquilisco Bay, a biosphere reserve that plays an important role in turtle conservation. 

Take a boat trip with a local biologist through the mangrove canals of Jiquilisco Bay and monitor Hawksbill turtles. Playing a role in monitoring these tiny creatures undoubtedly leaves you with a heart-warming feeling of connection to the natural world.

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Embark on an extraordinary journey to the Maldives, where pristine beaches meets vibrant marine life. January to April has the best underwater visibility, allowing you to see turtles gliding effortlessly through the waves.

July and August is another ideal time to see turtles in the Maldives; snorkel through the azure-blue waters of Vavuu Atoll and Kuda Anbaraa, where you'll likely see Green turtles amongst other underwater fauna.

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Sri Lanka

This teardrop-shaped island sees numerous turtles traverse its surrounding waters and nest on its beaches. Kosgoda, in southern Sri Lanka, has a turtle hatchery where you can learn about these endangered sea turtles and their breeding process. Those lucky enough to see female turtles coming onto the beach to lay eggs later in the evening is bound to be the highlight of any visit to Sri Lanka. 

Green, Loggerhead, Olive Ridley, Leatherback and Hawksbill turtles can be spotted on the beaches of Rekawa, a fishing village on the south coast of Tangalle. With its spacious, sandy beach and little development, it's an ideal setting for these turtles to rest up.

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