Turtle Encounter Guidelines

As soon as a turtle has been sighted, slowly retreat to a distance of 20m (60ft) away from her and make yourself comfortable. The entire nesting process can take up to 2 hours.

When the turtle has stopped digging, the SOS Turtle Patrol, hotel security or a knowledgeable guide will determine if the laying process has begun by approaching the turtle cautiously from behind (see also Flashlights).

During the actual laying process, SOS patrol volunteers may measure and tag the turtle and occasionally, if the situation permits, small groups may be led closer to briefly see the eggs.



All flashlights being used on turtle nesting beaches during nesting season should be equipped with a red L.E.D bulbs or filters.

Overall flashlight use should be kept to a bare minimum. Flashlights may be used from behind the turtle to 1) highlight the laying process, 2) aid in the collection of research data by qualified patrol volunteers, 3) In case of emergency.  Never shine a flashlight near the turtle’s face or directly at hatchlings.


Flash photography of nesting turtles is a controversial issue. In some places it constitutes harassment and is illegal.  Out of respect for the nesting turtles and hatchlings, SOS asks that there be no flash photography as it can blind and disorient turtles and complicates their return to the sea. Buy a postcard instead! Infrared / low-light video recording is ok.


Be VERY careful where you put your feet when there are hatchlings on the beach as they are difficult to see at night and can be easily crushed!

Do not touch or disturb emerging hatchlings, as they must orient themselves to their environment by crossing the beach; NEVER place hatchlings directly into the sea.

As far as possible, remove any objects (sandcastles, debris etc.) or predators (dogs etc.) and turn off or block any light sources that may complicate the hatchlings journey to the sea.

Final Note

If you should ever come across hatchlings /adult turtles emerging during the day OR hatchlings / adult turtles that are clearly disoriented by artificial lighting at night OR hatchlings / adult turtles that appear to be in any other kind of extraordinary difficulty, immediately alert SOS directly or through the hotel staff. Thank-you for your cooperation!

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