Turtle Nesting Season Well Underway

Cozumel is fortunate to play host to thousands of sea turtles coming
ashore to nest each year.
During the nights of May through September, on the Eastern shore of
the island, two species of sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs on
the beaches of Cozumel.

The turtles, known as the loggerhead turtle (Careta careta or as they’re commonly known caguamas) and the green turtle (Chelonia mydas), generally lay
from 100-150 eggs and can nest up to 6 times in one season. Roughly 60
days later, the young hatchlings emerge at the surface of the nest,
typically at night when the temperatures are cooler, and immediately
head for the ocean following the light reflected off of the water’s

In addition, the bays and reefs of the Cozumel area are also
foraging areas where sea turtles such as hawksbill (Eretmochelys
imbricate) turtles and giant leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) turtles
have been sighted swimming just offshore.

Since the nesting season began this year, already over 600
nests have been identified. Of these nests 75 of them are loggerhead
turtles and 56 are from green
sea turtles. Volunteer brigades are patrolling the eastern side of the
island from Mezcalito’s down to the ecological reserve “Faro
Celarain” in search of nests. 

During the Cozumel nesting season, the City works in co-ordination with
local police and Federal armed forces to limit activity on the east side
at nights during turtle nesting season. In the evenings of nesting
season, only the salvation program participants with specifically
designated biologists, interns, and volunteers are allowed to walk the
beaches in search of nesting female turtles, turtle nests, and recent
hatchlings. Among their duties include the protecting and tagging of
females, the collection scientific data, the relocation of eggs to more
favorable locations on the beach, and the release of hatchlings to the
sea. From the data collected, the salvation program is then able to
determine turtle hatching success, behavior, distribution, and

At this time there are essentially two turtle salvation efforts in progress:

  1. The Parks and Museum Foundation’s Punta Sur Park Salvation Program
    – This program began in 2000 and covers the beach area from the
    entrance of Punta Sur Park all the way to the south lighthouse. Since
    access to the park is closed to the public at night, this program enjoys
    significant protection from poachers. This is a FOR PROFIT endeavor
    that offers tours that are publicized through the Cozumel Museum.
    Tickets for these excursions run about $50 per person and are sold
    through the Cozumel Museum downtown.

  2. The City of San Miguel’s Volunteer Salvation Program
    – This program began back in the late 1980’s and covers the beaches
    from Mezcalitos south to the Punta Sur Park entrance. What began as a
    grassroots effort by a few citizens interested in turtle conservation,
    eventually evolved into a small City funded program whereby the City
    relied upon volunteers to do the nightly work, but were able to fund the
    salaries of 2 biologists to supervise the sanctuary and the work of the
    volunteers. For many years, no other funds were available to further
    develop the program or to provide supplies, gas or vehicles for the
    volunteer groups working the beaches each night.

How can you particpate?

Beginning with the 2006 season, in an attempt to generate more interest
and increase awareness of Cozumel’s turtle population, the Turtle
Salvation Program’s governing Committee of Brigades has made a provision
to allow “one time guests” to participate in the Program provided these
guests are supervised and work within the structure of a Brigade.

Those wanting to participate and work with a
Brigade for 1 or 2 nights during their vacation stay must request
permission in advance, be approved and be assigned to a Volunteer

There are 2 ways to participate ~

Tourists visiting Cozumel or those living here who would like to work for an entire night (or morning) side by side with a turtle brigade can do so during the sea turtle nesting season for a nominal donation per person June 1 through November 15th annually.

Tourists visiting Cozumel or those living here who would like to observe, learn and release baby turtles one night for a few hours with a turtle brigade can do so during the sea turtle nesting season for a nominal donation per person from June 1 through November 15th annually. 

To make a request to participate or observe please visit
Turtle Brigade Participation Application or Observation Request Form

NOTE: Requests are submitted to an approval process and are handled
on first-come, first-serve basis. Please allow 1 week for a response.

Also, please remember to never take dogs to the other side
of the island during the turtle nesting season (day or night).  Many dogs will dig holes and take out the eggs.  Also, the scent of
dogs may discourage a female turtle to nest where she smells ‘predators’.

Where to snorkel in Cozumel!

One of the places my husband and I always snorkel is the Barracuda Hotel.  If you’re staying at Casa Cascada, you can walk to the Barracuda for some awesome snorkeling right off the beach.  I’ve seen stingrays, all types of reef fish, a lionfish (and a stonefish) and of course, a few Barracuda. Enjoy their awesome pool with float up bar (and a great restaurant) while you’re there too!  http://www.hotelbarracuda.com 

Also, try the roped off area to the right of the Money Bar.  You can see rays, barracudas, octopus, turtles, crabs and lobsters. Snorkel all the way to the other end of the ropes and don’t forget to circle around the rocks and coral formations as that’s where most of the critters are hanging out. 

Punta Sur Park has a great long reef to explore. Costs money to get in, but well worth it! 

Cozumel – One of the 20 Best Islands to Live On!

Islands Magazine has released their annual “Top 20 Islands to live on2010” and Cozumel has made the list!  The list is featured in their July/August 2010 issue now available on newsstands.

The Island of Swallows came in at number 16, beating out other great locations such as Bali and Malta.  The editors of Island’s Magazine base their list on criteria such as real estate values, ease of immigration, expat communities, and quality of island life. 

Be sure to check out Islands.com for their best islands web app, where you can find real estate links, immigration tips, expat stories, and maps. There is also an archive for the lists from years 2007 – 2009.

For those who have not yet picked up the current issue, here is the list of the islands that made the coveted list for 2010:

  1. Big Island, Hawaii
  2. Kauai, Hawaii
  3. New Zealand
  4. Vancouver Island, Canada
  5. U.S. Virgin Islands
  6. Great Exuma, Bahamas
  7. Barbados
  8. Ko Samui, Thailand
  9. Moorea, French Polynesia
  10. Fiji
  11. Cyclades, Greece
  12. Bermuda
  13. Ambergris Caye, Belize
  14. Tokyo, Japan
  15. Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
  16. Cozumel, Mexico
  17. Sugar Loaf Key, Florida
  18. Vanuatu
  19. Malta
  20. Bali, Indonesia
Check it out for yourself!  Stay in Casa Cascada as you discover the beautiful island of Cozumel.  

Beaches to see in Cozumel

Since Cozumel is an island…with so many beaches? Where should you go? What should you really see?

If you love wildlife and beautiful beaches, rent a car and definitely go to Punta Sur on the other side of the island.  This day trip is one of my favorite things to do and I always come back with literally hundreds of incredible photos. 

Here is a video that I took of a saltwater crocodile at the lookout tower town the Punta Sur Lighthouse road.  You walk down this long boardwalk and come to a platform that overlooks the mangroves. The photo below was taken from the viewing tower that you can climb up.  To the right of the walkway towards the ocean, you can just barely see a Mayan ruin that you can stop at as well.  And oh yeah…if it’s windy, you can feel the lookout tower move.  Beautiful view from the top though!

Down that same road, past the lookout tower, my sister in law Cindy, filmed this awesome video of something swimming in the surf.  We later found out that they may be trigger fish or even young swordfish.  It is still a great mystery and if anyone knows what these guys are, please let me know!

Along the way, you’ll come to the lighthouse.  If you’re comfortable in small spaces and walking up steps, go for it!  Climb to the top of the lighthouse and don’t forget your camera.  Honestly, the best view on the island (Prima’s Trattoria and parasailing rank up there too).   I love this picture I took from the top of the lighthouse.  The colors were AMAZING!

Punta Sur lighthouse view Aug. 2009

At the end of the road is the finale.  There is a beach unlike no other in Cozumel and the name says it all.  “The Most Beautiful Beach” in Cozumel lies here.  With rows of hammocks, powdery white sand and beautiful water inset in a cove, it’s heavenly.  I highly recommend stopping here, having a refreshment or two and enjoying this little slice of heaven.  If you like crowds, come on Sunday (the locals head to the other side of the island on this day).  I took this picture in August 2009 and I still use this as a screensaver on my computer.  If you notice, there’s very little wave activity because of where the beach is located in the inlet.  The water is so warm, the sand so soft….

Here’s another great photo of The Most Beautiful Beach. (taken by my sis-in-law Cindy)