When Is the Best Time
Cayo Largo is a great island to watch turtles in the night. Also the education centre and breeding station are worth a visit to get an idea of these fascinating cold-blooded animals classified as reptiles. Green sea turtles come during the night to lay their eggs between May to September in the rainy season on Cayo Largo in Cuba. They lay their eggs on the same beach where they were born.
They dig just with their flippers and cover the ping-pong seized eggs with the sand afterwards. The temperature determines the sex of the hatchlings; hotter sand above 83°F/29°C produces females and below males. The hatchlings emerge roughly after 60 days.
Best time to spot turtles laying their eggs within two hours before and after high tide. Why? The turtles are swimmers not made for hauling up the sand. They prefer high tide to minimize the way and effort. Digging the hole with the flippers only is already challenging. They are vulnerable on land, the reason they try to finish as fast as possible.
It lasts from May to October in Cuba, although showers occur more often in the night or the morning. There is a possibility of hurricanes from August to October. The reason we gave June a try, and we had almost always wonderful weather during the day, just some brief showers.
Best Months to Visit
Location and Tips
One morning we saw a guy digging for eggs. We figured out he was an enthusiastic environmentalist, and he told us about his efforts for the sea turtles. We assisted him in digging for the eggs.
He protects them until they hatch. We were very impressed by how much effort it is to take care of eggs and turtles. He is doing such important work that we gave him a donation.
But better bring some food for the turtles. This is really appreciated and difficult to get in Cuba.
Afterwards, they are brought to the beach where their mother laid the eggs. The baby turtles crawl into an uncertain future in the sea.
When we came to observe turtles in the night, we were a bit unlucky. Often the green turtles get disturbed by the light of late arrival planes, which also happened this specific night. Cayo Largo is small and tourism is the main income. However, the arrival of planes should be prohibited at night.
However, the turtle came back in the night two hours later and laid the eggs successfully. Usually, you can watch the turtles while laying the eggs easily. It is such a big effort for them that they are almost hypnotized during this process.
Please, keep in mind the turtle watching rules; no torch, no flashlight, never stand in front of a turtle; best do it with a professional guide. Repellent for mosquitos is essential on Cayo Largo. Our poor nephew got more than 30 bites through his trouser.
- They are endangered and the second largest after the leatherback turtle.
- Weighing up to 225 kg/496 lbs and reach 1.2 m/ almost 4 feet in length.
- The name comes from the colour of their fat, not their shell.
- It's the only species that come onshore for basking.
- We watched this once at the Ningaloo Reef and Laniakea, Hawaii.
- This species can be found worldwide, and they are nesting in more than 80 countries.
- Their preferred diet is seagrass. It is believed that they enhance the growth of seagrass beds.
- The biggest threats to them are we, with leaving plastic and hooks in the sea. Another threat is the disease called fibropapilloma. It's a fast-growing tumour on the face.