Every Night is an Adventure to Save the Turtles!

By: Damaris Marin-Smith, President, Campamento Tortuguero Ayotlcalli A.C.

Save our turtles! Some nights are bright, with a sky full of stars. The splendor of the Milky Way, the whisper of the waves, and the sounds of the tropical night are a treat to your senses. You can identify every phase of the moon on a clear night. Unexpected shooting stars, in the blink of an eye, falling in the silver-dark ocean make you hold your breath, with your eyes wide open. They are fast. Don’t miss them!

On pitch black nights, look for the turtles or their tracks.

Some nights are windy, stormy, or both. There are high tides. These are ideal conditions for the turtles to come on-shore to lay their eggs because their tracks will vanish. Predators will have a hard time finding the precious nest full of soft sea turtle eggs.

Every night is another adventure for Team “Ayotlcalli”. The volunteers are committed to protect the three species of marine turtles that nest in the area of Playa Blanca and Playa Larga in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. The Black turtle, Olive Riddley, and the magnificent Leatherback have chosen this beautiful zone in the Pacific Coast to reproduce. Unfortunately, predators, including human beings are contributing to the rapid extinction of these species that have survived since the dinosaur’s era.


Campamento Tortuguero Ayotlcalli is a non-profit organization with local and international volunteers who take turns to make night runs searching for marine turtle nests. Once found, the eggs are transported into a protected area. After several days, hatchlings are released into the ocean. We hope that years later, females will come back to continue the circle of life. Volunteers also organize visits to local schools to educate children about how to protect sea turtles.

During hatchling releases, international and local guests gather under a palapa. Within the shade and with a fresh ocean breeze visitors will learn about scientific facts. They will also learn about different ways to help, emphasizing on poaching and ocean pollution, including plastic bags, which can be deadly to turtles when dumped into the waters.

Campamento Tortuguero Ayotlcalli survives thanks to donations, and sale of products at Ecotianguis Zanka, held in front of the museum in Zihuatanejo every Saturday. Most of the products are crafts hand-made by volunteers and local native artisans.

Turtle project sales at Ecotianguis

This conservation project survives thanks to donations and the sale of products at “Ecotianguis Zanka,” held in front of the museum in Zihuatanejo every Saturday.

If you plan to visit Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, come to Playa Blanca to enjoy an amazing view, a breathtaking sunset and to learn about our program. Follow “Campamento Tortuguero Ayotlcalli A.C” on facebook, twitter and Instagram.

See this wonderful video about this project:

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