Puerto Rico Sea Turtle Adventure
Join us for our first trip to the wonderful island of Puerto Rico! We will see lots of sea turtles in a variety of ways, on nesting beaches, in the water, and more. We will also participate in volunteer activities restoring beach dunes and mangroves, and visit a manatee conservation center, take two kayaking trips, participate in cultural activities, and more. Our guide will be Irmaury Serrano, a Puerto Rican turtle conservationist and guide who is eager to show our group this beautiful island. SEE Turtles President Brad Nahill will also be leading the trip.
2023 Date: May 13 - 20 (trip is full, please contact us at right to be added to the waiting list or alerted for future dates)
Prices: $2,395 pp.
$100 off for kids under 18 years
$50 off per person for paying by check
Monthly payments are available until 4 months before departure
Includes: Guide, private transportation, accommodations, meals (except where listed), activities, and a donation to turtle conservation.
Excludes: Airfare to Puerto Rico, personal items, and tips for the guide and driver.
Minimum recommended age is 12 years old.
Maximum group size is 10. At least 8 people are required to confirm the trip.
* Please note: We give 100% refunds on any trips that we need to cancel and our cancellation fees (when travelers need to cancel) can be used on any future trip, no expiration or penalties. See our full terms and conditions here.
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Day 1: Arrive to San Juan
Fly into San Juan International Airport (SJU) anytime today and we will pick you up and bring you to the hotel. No meals planned for today so grab something on the way or we will provide recommendations near the hotel.
Overnight: El Canario By The Lagoon (or similar). Meals: None
Day 2: Kayaking, Manatees, & Turtle Nesting Beach
After breakfast today, we will head out for an easy kayaking trip to explore the area’s reefs with glass bottom kayaks. After that, we will have lunch and then some free time to explore our neighborhood in San Juan.
We will have dinner at a local restaurant and then drive to Playa Grande, where our friends at Chelonia will give a presentation on their work and then accompany us for a beach walk looking for nesting leatherback turtles. We will have different options for walking distances based on people’s ability to walk on sand and there will be opportunities to work hands-on with the turtles and hatchlings (if they are present). This is a good time for year for leatherback nesting, at the end of the nesting peak and the beginning of hatchling season.
Day 3: Manatees & Leatherbacks
After breakfast, we will visit the Caribbean Manatee Conservation Center, where we will do a tour and visit the manatees, sea turtles, and other wildlife that this facility is rehabilitating. We will have lunch at a local restaurant nearby.
After lunch, we will head to the Aguadilla area to visit our colleagues at Vida Marina, part of the University of Puerto Rico who have been longtime partners of SEE Turtles. We will have lunch in that part of the island and then some down time. In the afternoon, we will have an optional snorkel to explore the area’s coral reefs and look for hawksbills and other ocean wildlife. This will be an easy unguided snorkel, but we recommend practicing at home if you have not previously snorkeled. We will also give basic lessons for anyone who needs it. Gear will be provided but feel free to bring your own if you have it.
That evening after dinner we will have a presentation by Vida Marina on their work and then visit a nesting beach to look for and work with leatherback turtles. Each night is optional so feel free to rest up if needed. The group can split into two with one group walking further down the beach
Overnight at Punta Borinquen Resort (2 nights). Meals: BLD
Day 4: Dune Restoration & Leatherbacks
Today after breakfast, we will join our friends at Vida Marina for a beach dune restoration activity. The dunes are not only important for sea turtle nesting but also for protecting coastal communities from hurricanes. We will spend an hour or so planting native vegetation to help stabilize the dunes as well as a nearby mangrove. After lunch will be open to relax, take a swim, or rest up for one more night on the beach looking for leatherbacks. That evening, we will visit the beach one final night patrol with Vida Marina. We will make it a shorter patrol so we can get up early for the drive inland the following day.
Day 5: Casa Pueblo & San Juan
After breakfast today, we will transfer to the Adjuntas area up on the island’s mountains. We will visit Casa Pueblo, which is a wonderful community project that has created a community solar project, a local radio program, and a protected forest. We will visit their solar community center and forest for a hike and see a presentation about how this community is working to better the lives of Puerto Ricans including hurricane response.
We will have lunch on the way back to San Juan at a restaurant that specializes in a popular local pork dish (note: vegetarian and vegan options will be available at this and all other restaurants). After some down time at our hotel in the San Juan area, we will go out for dinner on the town. That evening is free to explore the nightlife of the city.
Overnight at El Canario By The Lagoon or similar (3 nights). Meals BLD
Day 6: In-Water Turtle Monitoring and Bioluminescence Kayaking
This morning, we will join biologist Carlos Diez to study and release juvenile green sea turtles. This will be an in-water activity, involving catching and studying these turtles from the beach (the catching will be done by professionals). The group will be too large for everyone to participate in the swimming portion of the activity, so the strongest swimmers will join in the water and the full group can observe and help with the data collection for those turtles caught. We will then have lunch and then a break to rest.
Late afternoon, we will visit the Luquillo area which has a variety of options to choose from local Afro-Caribbean food in the area (dinner not included today). After dark, we will travel to the Fajardo area for night kayaking (on calm waters). This area is known for its bioluminescence, which makes for a magical experience.
Day 7: Dune Restoration Work & San Juan Tour
Today, we will have breakfast at the hotel and then head out for another dune restoration activity with Vida Marina, this time in the Loiza region. After lunch and downtime, we will take a guided walking tour of historic San Juan. We will visit the city’s highlights including the San Felipe Castle, La Perla, and more. We will then a have farewell dinner with the group in the city followed by an optional night on the town.
Day 8: Departure
We will drop you at the airport in time for your flight home or feel free to extend your stay. Breakfast at the hotel is included.
Why Travel With US?
All profits support conservation efforts
Work directly with local researchers
Conservation: $740 of the tour price
Local Communities: $605 of the tour price
Travel Expenses: $950
Is This Trip Right For Me?
Puerto Rico is a safe island with great opportunities for turtle watching. Night beach walks on soft sand can be taxing but we will have different options of distance to choose from. There are several activities requiring moderate physical exertion including two kayaking activities, walking in the forest and on the beach, and snorkeling. The temperature will be hot (high 80's to low 90's) with humidity but all accommodations offer air conditioning, as well as our private vehicle.
Click here for our full terms and conditions.
Photos courtesy of Vida Marina and Chelonia
other turtle conservation trips
Photo credits: Hal Brindley, James Richard, & Latin American Sea Turtles