Guests are encouraged to spend time with a local biologist, learn more about the endangered species and participate in combing the beach so the mama turtles have a groomed surface, on which to lay their eggs.
Strictly carried out according to the procedures established by the National Institute of Fisheries and the Fishing & Marine Biology Station of the University of Guadalajara, the resort’s work coincides with the sea turtle season which begins in June and continues through December as sea turtles breach the water to come ashore and lay their eggs. However, the daily activities of a beach resort are hardly a safe place for a turtle nest. Therefore, under the supervision of biologist Catharine Hart, the resort staff patrols the beaches to gather turtle eggs. The eggs are then transported to the sea turtle nursery for incubation. The incubation nursery at Marriott CasaMagna is the largest in the city with a capacity of 500 nests hatching simultaneously.
Approximately 45 days after the sea turtles lay their eggs; the hatchlings emerge from the sand and are ready to be released on the beach, with the aid of the recreational staff and the public. Tradition holds that each child names their baby sea turtle, wish them luck, and set them free to find their way to the water. Since the baby turtles face threats to their survival from land predators, they are released at night. Baby sea turtle releases are held every evening at 7:30 pm at the CasaMagna Marriott beach.
Conservation efforts have paid off through the 10 years of the hotel’s protection program. Since its inception, more than 4,000 nests were incubated at the hotel’s nursery, and over 1,200 were incubated naturally at the beach. This represents the release into the sea of 293,000 turtles. In 2011 alone, 584 nests were collected with 47,385 sea turtles released back into the sea. The program will continue collecting and releasing sea turtles through December.
An interesting fact: sea turtles return to the same beach where they are born to lay their own eggs. As a result, the beach of CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta will prove a safe haven for these hatchlings to lay future eggs, thereby, ensuring many generations to come.