Enjoy camping on the beach and help protect the sea turtles in Baja on this 1-night experience. For 12 nights only in August and September you can volunteer with local biologists on the Pacific coast of Baja to protect endangered olive ridley sea turtles.
What to Expect
For 6 nights in August and 6 nights in September, around the time of the full moon, you have the opportunity to spot 100-pound female turtles as they haul their bodies out of the ocean and – purely by instinct – make their way to the rolling coastal dunes to find the ideal nesting spot. Each female turtle will leave 90-120 white ping-pong shaped eggs in a sandy hole, camouflage the nest with a characteristic belly dance, and then leave the offspring to chance.
That’s where you come in. Predators, coastal development, and illegal poaching all threaten sea turtle populations throughout the world. At this sea turtle research station you can help combat declining populations by volunteering with biologists as they collect the eggs and relocate them to a protective nursery. In many cases you’ll be able to see mature nests bubbling with turtle hatchlings and have the opportunity to guide the hatchlings on their way to the sea.
You depart Todos Santos in the late afternoon and arrive at Sea Turtle Camp in time to settle into your comfortable, safari-style tents with raised cots during daylight. You then watch the sun set over the magnificent Pacific beach that is your home for the evening.
The guide and camp staff will prepare a simple but tasty dinner, which will be followed by an orientation by the wildlife biologist Stephanie Rousso. Stephanie will provide some background and history of sea turtle ecology, and describe the local threats and conservation efforts in Baja California Sur. Before the night patrol, Stephanie will review the role of volunteers, and present her own background and research initiatives.
When it is good and truly dark you’ll have a magnificent bonfire in the specially-designed fire pit that shields the firelight from prying turtle eyes. Those so inclined can indulge in s’mores. You may then choose to sleep for a few hours until the patrol starts in the wee morning hours, or you may just want to stay up and feast your eyes on the gorgeous moon and a sky free of light pollution.
Stephanie will gather everyone around 1:00 to start the 4-kilometer roundtrip patrol of the beach on foot, where you’ll scout for nesting females and assist in relocating the eggs to protected corrals. Some nights you may see several turtles, some nights you may find the nest after the female has returned to the ocean. And with any luck you’ll see some nests in which the baby turtles are hatching and have the opportunity to help the hatchlings make their way into the sea.
In the morning you’ll enjoy a full Mexican “Turtle Camp Graduation” breakfast before heading back to Todos Santos. One short night, but a lasting contribution to the revitalization of the marine turtle population in Mexico.
- Roundtrip transfers between Todos Santos and Sea Turtle Camp
- 1-night in safari-style tent accommodations with raised cots
- Dinner, bonfire, and breakfast (sorry, no alcohol at Sea Turtle Camp)
- Biologist briefing and orientation; review of research objectives
- Night patrol on foot
- Relocation of eggs, hatchling release when available
Todos Santos Eco Adventures office in La Poza Hill, Todos Santos, BCS, Mexico
Know Before You Go
Funds will go towards purchasing items on the list below. We will notify participants by email and note on the website when each goal is met:
ATV gas and oil (ongoing)
Shoulder bags for carrying eggs
Rechargable batteries with charger
Red-light head lamps for night patrols
Chicken wire and rebar stakes for corrals
The price also covers the following items: Donation to purchase supplies for the biologists who work full time at Sea Turtle Camp. The list of items we will attempt to purchase with donations by the end of the summer is included below. Donation to support the work of Sea Turtle Camp lead biologist Stephanie Rousso. Please see the About Sea Turtle Camp and the Biologist tab for more information on Stephanie's work.