Oaxaca Nature & Culture Adventure
Join our adventure to experience the incredible arribada, a mass nesting of olive ridley turtles that can be hundreds of thousands of turtles. The state of Oaxaca Mexico offers incredible opportunities to experience their unique culture, food, and beautiful coastal areas. Over a week, we will visit two nesting beaches looking for olive ridleys and leatherbacks, visit local artisans and families, explore mangroves, lagoons, beaches, and the ocean, and much more. This trip will be led by our Latin America Director Adriana Cortes who lives in the region. Profits from this trip will help to save at least 500 hatchlings at a turtle nesting beach per participant.
*Please note: Due to the unpredictable timing, we can’t guarantee that the group will see an arribada though the trip is timed for the best chances. The itinerary may change depending on when the turtles arrive (though the dates are set).
Date: Dec 2 - 9, 2023 (5 spots left)
Price: $1,795 pp.
Includes: All in-country transportation, accommodations, meals as noted in itinerary, activities, airport pickup & transfer, and a donation to turtle conservation.
Excludes: Airfare, 1 dinner, personal items, tips for hotels and activities, and travel insurance.
Will SEE: Olive ridley turtles (hatchlings and in the water), crocodiles, iguanas, deer, many species of birds
Probably will SEE: Olive ridleys (nesting), dolphins, & rays
May SEE: Leatherbacks (nesting and hatchlings), humpback whales, black turtles (nesting & hatchlings)
The minimum number of registrations to confirm the trip is 6 and the group maximum is 10 people.
Minimum recommended age is 10 years old.
* Please note: We give 100% refunds on any trips that we need to cancel and our cancellation fees (when travelers cancel) can be used on any future trip, no expiration or penalties, except for cancellations made within 60 days of travel when payments to local providers has already been completed. See our full terms and conditions.
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Work directly with local researchers
DAY 1 - ARRIVE TO PUERTO ESCONDIDO
Fly into the Puerto Escondido Airport (PXM) by 3 pm to meet the group in time to transfer to Escobilla, one of the most important arribada beaches for olive ridley turtles in the world with up to 500,000 nesting turtles in one event (over a few days). After a 30 min drive we will settle into our accommodations upon arrival. That afternoon, we will get an introduction to this extraordinary beach and these fascinating turtles. That night following dinner, we will walk the beach to look for turtles. (Overnight at Hotel Escobilla (2 nights). (D)
DAY 2 - BIRDWATCHING, BEACH TIME, & NESTING TURTLES
Today we will get up early for an optional birdwatching walk (6:30 am). We will have breakfast during our walk. We may see up to 50 species of birds. We will have lunch at Agua Blanca (15 minute drive) followed by some beach time. We will have some time off in the afternoon and meet again for dinner at 7:00 pm. We will walk Escobilla beach again to look for nesting olive ridleys. (B, L, D)
DAY 3 - TRANSFER TO BARRA DE LA CRUZ, BEACH TIME & NIGHT PATROL
After breakfast, we will head to Barra de la Cruz, which is a significant nesting beach for leatherbacks, olive ridleys, and black turtles (2 hour drive). Once we arrive, we will have some time to settle into our accommodations. We will then head to the beach, which is a very famous surfing spot. We are having lunch at the community restaurant and then some time to relax at the beach. This evening, we will have a presentation with the lead biologist of the station about leatherbacks and the work they do. After the talk we will have dinner in a local restaurant. This evening, we will visit the local conservation project station and hatchery. If there are hatchlings, we will release them. We will also patrol the nesting beach looking for nesting turtles. When we find one, we will help the local researchers collect data on the turtles and move the eggs to the hatchery.
DAY 4 - COCONUT FARM & BEACH PATROL
After breakfast, we will visit an organic coconut farm to learn about how this ubiquitous fruit is used for beauty products. We will learn the whole process of this family production and make our own coconut-based soaps. We will also have a presentation regarding the history of the traditional dresses from this region (known as Istmo), one of the most beautiful traditional dresses in Mexico. We are going to have a traditional lunch here and then have some time off to rest and be ready for our second night walk in Barra looking for nesting turtles. (B, L, D)
DAY 5 - WATERFALL TOUR, FREE TIME, & NIGHT PATROL
After breakfast, we will head to San Miguel del Puerto to visit part of the mountains and a beautiful waterfall, which we will have time to explore and jump in and swim. We will have lunch there and then visit a local plant-based products store. Then we head back to Barra de la Cruz. We will have some time off before dinner and then we will go to the station for our last night of beach patrol to look for turtles. (B, L, D)
DAY 6 - MAZUNTE, MANGROVE TOUR, & HANDICRAFTS
After breakfast this morning, we will head to Ventanilla (1.5 hour drive), the first community in the coast of Oaxaca to offer ecotourism activities. We will tour a mangrove lagoon by boat to look for crocodiles, birds, iguanas, and more. During the tour, we will visit a small island home to a deer rescue center and small museum that we will visit. We will also visit some local handicraft stands to shop for souvenirs and have lunch in this community.
After this activity, we will take a 10 minute ride to the coastal town of Mazunte. In the afternoon, we will have free time to explore this “Pueblo Magico,” named for its charming beach town and the local material used in its constructions. Dinner will be on your own tonight to choose from one of several excellent options. (Overnight at Cabinas Amaia or similar). (B, L)
DAY 7 - BOAT TOUR, SNORKELING, & SUNSET WALK
Today starts with an early morning boat ride (7:30 am) to look for animals including turtles, dolphins, whales, and rays as well as visiting several beautiful beaches. We will stop for breakfast at the beach of Estacahuite, have some beach time, and go snorkeling. We then return to Mazunte for lunch and some rest. In the late afternoon we will visit Punta Comenta, the westernmost point on Mexico’s mainland coast, a great spot to catch beautiful sunsets. We will wrap up the day with a celebratory dinner together in Mazunte. (B, L, D)
DAY 8 - DEPARTURE
After breakfast, we will transfer the group to the Puerto Escondido airport. Feel free to extend your stay to enjoy more of this beautiful region.
* Itinerary Note: We will adhere to this schedule as closely as possible, but participants should be aware that due to the unpredictabililty of the timing of the arribada, our itinerary can change to take advantage of that, though we will aim to include all of the listed activities if possible.
Turtle Conservation: $860 of the tour price
Local Communities: $510 of the tour price
Travel Expenses: $425
“Unexpected pleasures everyday on this trip. The 5 days and nights in search of turtles nesting and helping hatchlings to the ocean was an incredible experience. Escobilla Beach was an outstanding turtle experience. The daily adventures, the meals each day and the night experiences with the turtles filled up the days and nights!”
Is This Trip Right For Me?
SEE Turtles offers trips for people with a spirit of adventure. Oaxaca is a safe region in Mexico to visit. On this trip, you’ll be staying in basic to mid-level accommodations, eating authentic dishes with local families and in restaurants, and participating in fun activities. Activities may be modified due to wind, weather, and other conditions. We can’t guarantee wildlife interactions (these are endangered species after all), but this trip is scheduled at the most likely timing for the arribada. There will be various physical activities that require some exertion including kayaking and beach walks though all activities are optional.
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Photos: RED Travel Mexico, Elizabeth Moreno, Neil Osborne