Travel & Outdoors | August 2008
|Kids Love Marriott Resort's Turtle Camp|
Aaron Watson - PVNN
Ileana and Sofia Ceja, two teenagers from Southern California who spent their summer vacation in Vallarta, show us how you can spend one night of your Puerto Vallarta beach vacation helping the CasaMagna Marriott Resort and biologist Oscar Aranda battle the odds against the extinction of endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles.
The Olive Ridley sea turtle or Golfina receives its name due to its overall olive color and the discovery by H.N. Ridley on the island of Fernando de Noronha. This is a relatively small omnivorous sea turtle that feeds on crustaceans, algae, tunicates and more.
Most noted for its massive nesting aggregations, known as Arribadas, where thousands of females flood small stretches of the beach for nesting purposes. These sea turtles are regarded as the most abundant sea turtle in the world, yet still listed on the Endangered Species list.
The decline of this species includes the loss of nesting habitat, fisheries and the harvesting of adults and eggs. However, in 1990 Mexico instituted a law forbidding sea turtle harvest and established protection camps on nesting beaches. Since then, the numbers of Olive Ridleys in Mexico leveled themselves out, however, they are still exploited and sold on the black market.
From Jalisco to Oaxaca, opportunities throughout Mexico exist to aid these sea turtles from their extinction. Here in Puerto Vallarta, the CasaMagna Marriott Resort has been actively participating in the conservation of Olive Ridley turtles for the last eighteen years.
Every June, scores of Olive Ridley turtles arrive on Banderas Bay beaches to lay their eggs. So, every year from June to December, the CasaMagna Marriott staff, working under the supervision of biologist Oscar Aranda, recovers the eggs that have been laid on the resort's beach in Marina Vallarta and carefully re-buries them in the Turtle Camp's breeding grounds, where they are watched over until they hatch.
After participating in the CasaMagna Marriott Resort's marine turtle protection program, 16-year-old Ileana, who aspires to be a kindergarten teacher, plays the drums in marching band and loves the statues on the Malecón, remarked, "This is one of the coolest things for kids to do in Puerto Vallarta. Being in such close contact with nature is an unforgettable experience I'll never forget."
Available from June through December, the CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort Sea Turtle Rescue Program is an amazing experience for all ages. For more information, call (322) 226-0000 or 1-800-228-9290 toll free from the US and Canada.
To find more kid-friendly tours and activities in Puerto Vallarta that everyone in your family will enjoy, click HERE to watch our exclusive Vallarta for Kids video series.