If you enjoy snorkeling, you must treat yourself to go swimming with sea turtles. Snorkeling with sea turtles in their natural habitat is a magical experience. There’s something otherworldly about swimming with sea turtles in the wild. Luckily, you can swim with sea turtles all over the globe as they’re some of the most widespread marine life. Sea turtles are also one of the most ancient species – they’ve existed for over 150 million years.
There are seven species of sea turtles around the world — sadly, all are vulnerable or endangered. They are the green sea turtle, loggerhead turtle, hawksbill turtle, olive ridley turtle, leatherback turtle, flatback turtle and kemp’s ridley turtle.
Sustainable tourism can contribute to sea turtle conservation. Have an ethical experience when swimming with wild sea turtles by keeping the following principles in mind:
– Avoid any sort of interference with wild sea turtles.
– Never feed sea turtles as it curbs their natural instinct to provide for themselves.
– Touching or chasing wild sea turtles is an extremely irresponsible wildlife interaction.
– Report any suspected violations that are exploitative or dangerous for sea turtles.
If you get lucky enough to see a wild sea turtle gracefully gliding through the ocean keep a respectful distance of at least 20-feet. Use an extra-long selfie stick for your underwater camera to take pictures without getting too close to wild sea turtles.
Book snorkeling trips with local tour operators, or even better, with a conservation project. Vet the tour operator in advance to confirm that they limit the number of people on their tours to avoid distressing turtles and that they don’t allow snorkelers to feed or touch sea turtles.
Here are a few locations we would recommend if you want to go swimming with sea turtles.
Pikaia Lodge, Galapagos
Pikaia sits within a Galapagos Tortoise reserve, so guests may encounter turtles just by exploring the land surrounding the lodge — no guide necessary. The Galapagos Islands is one of the only places in the world where you can encounter turtles on land and sea. The giant Galapagos tortoise is the land turtle, but the islands have a rare species of sea turtles, referred to as Galapagos Turtles, which have a darker shell color.
At Two Step, the regular visits from dolphins and seals make it easy to forget that this is also one of the very best places on Big Island to see green turtles. They often rest 4 to 5 meters deep. Yet another reason to get into the water at this exceptional spot!
You can see green turtles in almost all the snorkeling spots on the Big Island, and particularly at the Captain Cook Monument
The waters around La Digue are one of the best places in the world to see hawksbill sea turtles. In Anse Caïman, you can often see several turtles swimming around the immense blocks of granite immersed in the Indian Ocean, 4 to 6 meters deep. Hawksbill sea turtles regularly visit most of the spots in La Digue, and you can try your luck at Anse Patates or Anse Sévère, for example.
Turtle Bay Resort, Oahu, Hawaii
Located on Oahu’s North Shore, Turtle Bay Resort highlights snorkeling with turtles in Oahu as a must for every Turtle Bay visit, as it is home to many green and hawksbill sea turtles. You can spot these sea creatures on every kayak tour and by snorkeling in the lagoons and ocean that surround Turtle Bay.
The Brando, French Polynesia
Marlon Brando actually created his own turtle release initiative decades ago for his son, Teihotu. From September through April, green turtles swim to the island of Tetiaroa (where The Brando is located) to lay their eggs. Tetiaroa is a major sea turtle nesting site, and guests can view turtles November through April. Guests can swim with the turtles and visit the on property research station to learn even more.
The Tobago Cays are a group of 5 islets sheltered by a horseshoe-shaped coral reef located in the Grenadines archipelago. Their white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters make them one of the most enjoyable ports of call in the Caribbean. As they are protected by a Marine Park, the Tobago Cays also are a paradise for snorkelers. They are especially notorious for the green sea turtles that gather in great numbers right under the water surface.
So we have provided some advice & hopefully some useful pointers on how and where you can swim with turtles. so just relax fully and enjoy your time in the ocean and with its beautiful marine life as they are a gift…..