They say that only 1 of every 1,000 sea turtles survives to see adulthood. It’s a tough life dodging sharks and turtle fishermen, and that’s if a turtle gets to hatch without the eggs being dug up by dogs or poachers. It takes about thirty years to reach egg-laying maturity, so those little guys have a long way to go. Which is why the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua is lucky to be home to so many of these majestic creatures. Most of them can be found right here in the Pearl Cays.
Most people know they Pearl Cays for their exquisite beaches, excellent snorkeling and proximity to the Pearl Cays. However, the cays have something special about them besides their postcard picture appeal. Some of the largest sea grass beds in the Caribbean can be found here, which is basically a giant buffet for green turtles. Sea turtles also nest on the cays. In a report from the Wildlife Conservation Society, last year there were 280 clutches of hawksbill eggs discovered on the cays, up nearly 74% in the last 12 years. Nesting season starts right about now and runs through September with nesting peaking between July and August.
So if you would like to see turtles laying or hatching, this is a fantastic place to do it. Unfortunately the local turtle population is still at risk from fishermen and egg poachers. The Pearl Lagoon chapter of the Wildlife Conservation Society has been doing a great job with their conservation efforts and have recently started a new initiative to help former turtle fishermen become certified guides to take visitors to spot them in their natural habitat. The result, Kabu Tours, is designed to ease the pressure on the turtles by giving turtle fishermen an alternative income source by conserving instead of hunting, as well as giving visitors and turtle lovers a Pearl Cays experience that only knowledgeable locals would be able to provide.
There are other ways to get to the cays as well. In Pearl Lagoon Queen Lobster makes day and overnight trips, and most local hotels like the Green Lodge can arrange trips. Trips can also be made from Little Corn Island where you can find groups going for the day, overnight and sometimes one way from the island to Pearl Lagoon.
Read about one sea turtle’s incredible journey from being tagged 12 years ago in the Pearl Cays: There and Back Again