In operation since 1976, Tortugario Monterrico breeds and releases several species of wildlife including turtles, caimans, green iquanas and a pre-historic freshwater fish. A dilapidated museum displays a hodge-podge of pickled specimens, exhibits, photos and newspaper articles relating to mangrove conservation, plants, fauna, whales and turtles. All is in Spanish. A separate section on the beach is devoted to turtle conservation with an egg hatchery, some pens for baby turtles and a small trail that briefly informs why turtles are dying in such great numbers and how to help prevent it. Entry is $5 and a knowledgeable guide can be hired for a tour in Spanish for an extra $6 p.p. The entrance is 10 minutes walk down Calle des Hoteles.
Every day, in season, baby turtles are released at 5.30 p.m. on the beach outside the Tortugario. Visitors can sponsor a turtle for $1.20 and let it go in a mock race. This race has attracted some criticism in the past, as turtles were saved up for a race on Saturdays only. It is best for the turtles if they are released as soon as possible after hatching. Like many conservation measures, it is a fine balance between best practice and creating a local interest in preservation.
Other Activity Types:
Either walk along the beach (to your left if facing the ocean) or take the beach path one block back. From the centre of town, it takes ten minutes at the most.
Travel Tips: Wear lots of insect repellant and cover up your arms and legs.
Price Description: $5 entry per person. A guide is $6 per person. If you want to be guided in English or be given English notes on the displays, it is best to book in advance. It is possible to pay in quetzals as well as US dollars.
Relative price: Budget
Open Hours from:7 a.m.
Open Hours to:7 p.m.
Travel Skills: None
You Need to Bring: A Spanish translation dictionary.