Dominica is ideal for observing three types of globally endangered sea turtles that nest on its beaches. Leatherbacks come ashore to lay their eggs between March and August. Hawksbills and Green Turtles come ashore between May and October. The best turtle viewing times are at night and into the early morning as that’s often when they come ashore or the hatchlings leave the nest.

The nesting females are protected by law and they are monitored very carefully by the Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation Organization Inc (DomSeTCO). Their trained guides can tell you more about the turtles and take you to an active nesting site. DomSeTCO is made up of a network of small groups across the island, such as the Nature Enhancement Team (NET) located in Rosalie.

 

What to Take on a Turtle Watch Turtle Watch Do’s and Don’ts Contact

Where are the Turtles?


Turtles nest all over the island.

  • Leatherbacks, Greens and Hawksbills are found in the southeast, around Rosalie Bay and LaPlaine and the northeast, near Marigot, Londonderry, Wesley and Calibishie between March and August.
  • Greens and Hawksbills are found on the west coast beaches between May and October. Sometimes the mature females return to the same areas where they were born.

Leatherback Sea Turtle Dermochelys coriacea

Leatherbacks are the largest turtles on Earth and most widely distributed.

Type: Reptile
Diet: Carnivore
Average life span in the wild: 45 years (est.)
Size: Up to 7 ft (2 m)
Weight: Up to 2,000 lbs (900 kg)
Protection status: Endangered
Did you know? The largest leatherback ever found was an 8.5-ft-long (2.6-m-long) male weighing 2,020 lbs (916 kg) that washed up on the west coast of Wales in 1988.
Illustration: Leatherback sea turtle compared with adult manSize relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man:

For more information visit National Geographic

 

Hawksbill Sea Turtle Eretmochelys imbricata

Type: Reptile
Diet: Carnivore
Average life span in the wild: 30 to 50 years (est.)
Size: 24 to 45 in (62.5 to 114 cm)
Weight: 100 to 150 lbs (45 to 68 kg)
Protection status: Endangered
Did you know? Young hawksbill turtles are unable to dive deep and spend their early years floating amongst sea plants near the water’s surface.
Illustration: Hawksbill sea turtle compared with adult manSize relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man:

For more information visit National Geographic

 

Green Sea Turtle Chelonia mydas

Type: Reptile
Diet: Herbivore
Average life span in the wild: Over 80 years
Size: Up to 5 ft (1.5 m)
Weight: Up to 700 lbs (317.5 kg)
Group name: Bale
Protection status: Endangered
Did you know? Like other sea turtles, the green turtle cannot pull its head into its shell.
Illustration: Sea turtle compared with adult manSize relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man:

For more information visit National Geographic

What to Take on a Turtle Watch


  • A specially trained Turtle Tour Guide who is a member of a community group that patrols the beaches. (See contact numbers below.)
  • A jacket/raincoat and hat, as it can get cool and sometimes rains after sunset
  • A camera that can take pictures without a flash. Photographs can only be taken with a flash when the turtle has commenced laying and she is in a trance-like state.
  • Some snacks and water to drink
  • USD $10.00 – the cost per person for a turtle tour

 

Turtle Watch Do’s and Don’ts


DO:

  • Ask your hotel or guesthouse about turtle watching activities;
  • Contact the Sea Turtle Hotline to book a tour with a trained turtle guide (See phone numbers below);
  • Keep quiet and maintain a respectful distance from the turtles at all times;
  • Report any sighting of turtles or nests to your hotel or a Forestry & Wildlife Officer or the Sea Turtle Hotline;
  • Walk only near the tide line of the beach and not in the dunes if in a known nesting area.

 

PLEASE DON’T

  • Touch or disturb turtles, hatchlings or eggs in any way
  • Walk above the tide line near dunes or on known nesting beaches
  • Shine any form of light at the turtles or towards the sea where turtles may be approaching
  • Go near turtles without a certified turtle tour guide

 Sea Turtles

Sea Turtle Watching
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Categories:         
Summary: Sea Turtle Watching in Dominica
Location:

Beaches of Dominica Map

 

For further information, contact:

Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation Organization Inc. (DomSeTCO): (767)-275-0724

Dominica Sea Turtle Hotline: (767)-616-8684 or (767)-225-7742

NEWCEPT Community Group (Northeast): (767)-225-6258

NET Community Group (Rosalie Beach): (767)-277-1608

La Plaine Sea Turtle Patrollers (Bout Sable Beach La Plaine): (767)-265-4549

Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division: (767)-266-5852