Puerto Escondido Turtle Release: The 5 Best Tours in 2024

turtle swimming in the ocean | baby turtle release Puerto Escondido

Ready to book your PUERTO ESCONDIDO turtle release tour?

You’re in the right place because the Top 5 turtle release Puerto Escondido experiences are featured here. How do I know they’re the best? I’ve lived in Mexico since 2018, and spend a lot of time in Puerto Escondido.

I’ve also personally done the Playa Bacocho turtle release in Puerto Escondido Mexico. I vetted the five tours in this article to make sure they’re highly rated and well-reviewed — so all you have to do is book and enjoy!

turtle swimming in Oaxaca ocean

Don’t have time to read the whole article? I recommend this Baby Turtle Release and Bioluminescent Bay Tour, which has a perfect 5 Star rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

If that’s not the right one for you, there are four more tours featured in this article. No matter your choice, few experiences compare to seeing adorable newborn sea turtles flip-flopping toward the ocean. Heartwarming? Absolutely!

Once you’ve seen these adorable reptile babies disappear into the surf, you might want to book some adult sea turtle tours to keep the cuteness rolling.

Check out this list of the best baby turtle release experiences Puerto Escondido has to offer — from bioluminescent combo tours to sunset escapades. Read on to discover the best tour for you!

5 Best Turtle Release Puerto Escondido Tours

1. Turtle Release and Bioluminescent Bay Boat Tour

baby turtle in the sand on one of the Best Turtle Release Puerto Escondido Tours
Witness the majestic dinoflagellates when you book this turtle release and bioluminescent lights tours.

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 3-4 hours | 🐢 Check Rates & Availability

Get ready for a wonderful experience on this Turtle Release and Bioluminescent Lights Tour. These are two of the best things to do in Puerto Escondido, and you can combine them for a fun night out.

Not only will you get round-trip transportation from your hotel to a turtle sanctuary, but you’ll also see glittery dinoflagellates in Laguna Manialtepec, the famous bioluminescence Puerto Escondido lagoon.

The turtles were such a magical experience. Learning directly from the people that had the turtle sanctuary was wonderful.

-Jamie (read more reviews)

By participating in this Puerto Escondido sea turtle release, you’ll also be joining conservation efforts and learning more about how to protect these tiny critters straight from the folks in the conservation trenches. A win-win!

As one reviewer put it, “Our experience was so unique… The turtles were such a magical experience.” In short: get ready to create a special memory in a special place.

Best Turtle Release Puerto Escondido Tours

2. Baby Sea Turtle Release in Puerto Escondido

woman holding baby turtle for release in oaxaca mexico
Experience the magical bioluminescent lights of the Caribbean while releasing endangered sea turtles when you book this guided Baby Sea Turtle Release in Puerto Escondido Mexico.

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 1.5 hours | 🐢 Check Rates & Availability

No trip to Puerto Escondido would be complete without releasing baby turtles, and there are few better ways to do that than on this enchanting tour!

Learn about sea turtle behavior and breeding habits, then help the newly hatched reptiles journey over the sand and into the ocean.

You’ll finish off by watching the sunset over beautiful Palmarito Beach.

Releasing the turtles was so magical, you can tell they do amazing work there with the project. The beach was super remote and quiet. I defo recommend doing this! The highlight of our trip to Mexico!

-eloise (read more reviews)

This tour includes roundtrip transportation from your hotel, a local guide, and national park fees.

Travelers highly recommend this tour, calling it spectacular, magical, and amazing. According to one review, it was “the highlight of our trip to Mexico!”

Best Turtle Release Puerto Escondido Tours

3. Puerto Escondido Sunset Baby Turtle Release

someone holding a cup with a baby turtle in it, this is one of the best things to do in puerto escondido mexico
Book this sunset baby turtle release experience and get to hold baby turtles in your hand, release them into the ocean and watch them swim away.

⭐️ Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 2 hours | 🐢 Check Rates & Availability

Travelers loved this Sunset Baby Turtle Release in Puerto Escondido Mexico, so chances are high you will too.

What sets this tour apart? On this excursion, you’ll be participating in a Vive Mar Turtle Release Mexico. It’s arguably the most noteworthy turtle sanctuary Puerto Escondido has to offer.

A must do in Puerto Escondido! We did this our first night in Puerto & it was a great way to start the trip.

-kate (read more reviews)

Local conservations will explain their efforts to save these miniature reptiles in a beautiful setting. You’ll Finish off by watching the sunset from the gorgeous beach where the sanctuary is located.

Reviewers loved the great value of this tour, the excellent information and guides, and the magical location on Puerto Escondido Bacocho Beach. 

Best Turtle Release Puerto Escondido Tours

4. Turtle Release in Puerto Escondido with Transportation

woman holding baby turtle for release in oaxaca mexico
Book this Baby Turtle Release Experience in Puerto Escondido and take part in releasing young turtles into the wild. (Photo: Airbnb, Baby turtles on beach)

⭐️ Rating: 5.5 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 1.5 hours | 🐢 Check Rates & Availability

Join your super story-teller host, Juventina, on one of the best experiences releasing turtles Puerto Escondido has to offer.

During this tour, you’ll learn from a group of passionate volunteers who are all-in when it comes to conserving these incredible animals.

A fun and memorable experience. The little turtles were so cute and it was fun to watch them make their way to the sea.

-brandon (read more reviews)

You’ll get to learn about the different species of turtles as well as learn about coastal flora and fauna, all while enjoying a two-hour stroll along a beautiful beach.

This tour will take you on a Puerto Escondido off the beaten path adventure. Travelers loved it, mentioning the amazing staff, beautiful turtle release experience, and the great information they learned.

Best Turtle Release Puerto Escondido Tours

5. Huatulco Turtle Release & Bioluminescent Lagoon (Huatulco Turtle Tour)

bioluminescent lagoon in puerto escondido oaxaca mexico (laguna manialtepec)
Release baby sea turtles into the ocean and se bioluminescence in the waves on this Huatulco Turtle Tour. (Photo: Canva, Best turtle season Mexico time)

⭐️ Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 9 hours | 🐢 Check Rates & Availability

If you plan to stay in Santa María Huatulco but will be visiting Puerto Escondido, this is the perfect turtle tour for you! It is the highest rated Huatulco to Puerto Escondido turtle tour.

Not only will you get to see baby sea turtles at a sanctuary, but you’ll also tour Manialtepec Lagoon for a chance to see a rare bioluminescent phenomenon.

What an amazing day! …we were each given a few turtle hatchlings to release individually and watch as they made their way toward the ocean. It was an incredible experience and I would highly recommend to anyone who has an interest in turtle conservation.

-Siobhan (read more reviews)

Along the way, you’ll learn about the life cycle of sea turtles and the efforts to save them from extinction. You’ll also get to watch the sunset from a pristine beach. 

Last but not least, you’ll journey out onto Laguna Manialtepec Lagoon to see the shimmering bioluminescent waters. If you want, you can jump in and swim in this famous Puerto Escondido bioluminescent lagoon.

Travelers loved the guide on this turtle release Huatulco tour and the overall experience. One reviewer said, “I had a great day and was quite overwhelmed with the beauty of it all.”

Puerto Escondido Turtles FAQs

What kinds of turtles can you see in Puerto Escondido?

There are many different kinds of sea turtles in Puerto Escondido including Olive Ridley, green/black sea turtles, hawksbill sea turtles, and leatherback sea turtles.

🐢 Olive Ridley Turtle

turtle swimming in the ocean - Baby turtle release Puerto Escondido
The Olive Ridley turtle’s scientific name is Lepidochelys olivacea.

Olive Ridley turtles are olive green, and have heart-shaped shells.

They are among the smallest sea turtles in the world and are usually found in the tropical areas of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.

You can see them in several places throughout Mexico and Central America.

🐢 brown, black, sack, parlama, or torita turtle

green sea turtle swimming in the ocean - Baby turtle release Puerto Escondido
Adult green sea turtles weigh about 350 pounds (160 kg).

Green sea turtles, also called black sea turtles or Pacific green turtles have an olive or black-colored shell with a layer of green fat beneath.

These sea turtles are primarily herbivores and tend to live in shallow lagoons.

🐢 hawksbill sea turtle

turtle swimming in the sea
Hawksbill sea turtles grow up to 3-feet (1 m) in shell length.

Hawksbill sea turtles have lovely shells and prefer to live in lagoons, coral reefs, and coastlines. They eat shrimp, squid, anemones, sponges, crustaceans, and marine algae, among other things.

🐢 leatherback sea turtle

leatherback turtle in the sand - turtle with black shell
Leatherback sea turtles primarily consume jellyfish, and are one of the most unique turtles in Mexico.

Leatherback sea turtles are the largest turtles in the world. They can weigh more than 2,000 pounds (907 kg) and may reach lengths of up to 7-feet-long (2 m).

As you might guess from the name, they don’t have a hard shell, but a rubbery one instead. Leatherbacks can stay underwater for up to an hour and 15 minutes.

Best Turtle Release Puerto Escondido Tours

When can you see turtles in Puerto Escondido?

Turtle hatching season in Mexico varies by the type of turtle, but you can participate in the baby sea turtle release in Puerto Escondido all year-long.

That’s right: The Puerto Escondido turtle release season runs throughout the year because there are so many types of turtles in Oaxaca Mexico.

  • Olive Ridley turtles lay eggs throughout the year, so you can release the cute babies any time you visit Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Mexico.
  • Green turtles lay eggs from October through March, making those months the best time to release this particular species.
  • Hawksbill and leatherback turtles also lay eggs from October through March.

However, the hawksbill and leatherback sea turtles are critically endangered so tourists may not be allowed to be involved in conservation efforts and baby turtle releases for these species.

Best Turtle Release Puerto Escondido Tours

What month do sea turtles hatch in Puerto Escondido?

It depends — Baby Olive Ridley sea turtles hatch in Puerto Escondido throughout the year. However, other sea turtles Puerto Escondido has only hatch a few months out of the year.

These include the Leatherback, Hawksbill, and Green Sea turtles which hatch from October until March.

Wondering about Mexico turtle releases in other parts of the country?

This is primarily a Oaxaca activity, but you can also do turtle release Puerto Vallarta tours. However, there are no turtle release Cancun experiences nor turtle release Tulum experiences.

When in doubt, you can always Google “turtle release near me” or “free turtles near me” when you arrive in Mexico and see what comes up!

Best Turtle Release Puerto Escondido Tours

Where can I release baby turtles in Puerto Escondido?

The best places to release baby turtles in Puerto Escondido are 1) Playa Bacocho Beach, 2) Vive Mar Puerto Escondido, and 3) Playa Palmarito Beach.

baby turtles being held
Baby turtle release Puerto Escondido sanctuary is doing its best to cultivate a safe space for thousands of baby turtles being released.

The Playa Bacocho Turtle Release Sanctuary is popular and highly touristed. It opens daily at 5pm.

To get there, take a taxi from downtown Puerto Escondido, or drive your rental car. You’ll have to wait a while to register and pay, but you should get to release a baby turtle as long as you registered in time.

​​Vive Mar has multiple turtle release locations, including at Playa Palmarito Beach Puerto Escondido. Turtle releases are usually between 5pm and 7pm each day, depending on what time the sunsets.

This conservation center works with all four species of turtle found in Puerto Escondido: Olive Ridley, Leatherbacks, Black/Green Turtle, and Hawksbill Turtle.

Best Turtle Release Puerto Escondido Tours

What time of day is best to see sea turtles?

Most turtle releases in Puerto Escondido happen in the evening, between 5pm and 7pm. They usually coincide with the sunset.

two turtles in the sand
Watching the turtles crawl into the ocean is such an emotional journey to witness.

For example, the turtle release at Playa Bacocho takes place at 6pm, but you should arrive at least an hour ahead in order to register, pay the fee, and then listen to the introductory talk.

Keep in mind, this is a very popular activity and can fill to capacity. If you want to secure your spot, show up early to register.

Best Turtle Release Puerto Escondido Tours

How much does the Puerto Escondido Turtle release cost?

Turtle releases with a tour can cost anywhere between $35 and $125 USD.

These tours usually include transportation, a certified bilingual tour guide, and sometimes additional activities (such as visiting a bioluminescent lagoon).

However, if you have your own transportation, you can also visit a turtle sanctuary on your own. Most turtle sanctuaries charge between $150-200 MXN pesos (about $8-12 USD) per person, and/or per turtle you want to release.

Best Turtle Release Puerto Escondido Tours

Can you release baby turtles without a tour?

Yes — You can release baby turtles in Puerto Escondido without a tour.

Playa Bacocho Beach in Puerto Escondido Mexico
Head to Playa Bacocho Beach about an hour before sunset and you will likely be able to get a spot for the turtle release.

Simply arrange your own transportation to your preferred Puerto Escondido turtle sanctuary, register when you arrive, pay at the sanctuary, and release a baby turtle.

The Vive Mar Puerto Escondido Turtle Sanctuary and the Vive Mar Turtle Sanctuary at Playa Bacocho are popular spots. Of the two, the second one is closer to the main area of Puerto Escondido.

Best Turtle Release Puerto Escondido Tours

How do you release baby turtles safely?

You’ll be given your turtle in a container, and you should then carefully lower the container to the sand, facing the ocean. Whatever you do, don’t drop the turtle onto the sand.

baby turtles being held
Each baby turtle release Puerto Escondido sanctuary is doing their best to cultivate a safe space for thousands of baby turtles being released into the Pacific Ocean.

In order to release a baby turtle safely, you should not touch the turtle (unless you’re told it’s ok).

The oils from your hands can affect the ability of the newly hatched turtles to imprint on their hatching beach, and their ability to return to that same beach.

Stay behind the indicated barrier and cheer for your turtle as it makes its first journey toward the ocean. For a bit of fun, you can name your turtle and cheer it on by name.

Best Turtle Release Puerto Escondido Tours

What is Vivemar Turtle Release?

ViveMar is an organization comprised of community cooperatives working to conserve the coast of Oaxaca, particularly endangered the sea turtles.

Vive Mar Puerto Escondido turtle release
The Vive Mar Playa Bacocho location where you do the turtle release in Puerto Escondido Mexico.

The organization is well known for its sea turtle conservation efforts, especially in Puerto Escondido and Mazunte. Vive Mar has released more than 500,000 turtles in the past 10 years.

If you plan to release a baby sea turtle while visiting Puerto Escondido, heading to one of the Vive Mar sanctuaries is a great choice. They are located here on Playa Bacocho Beach Puerto Escondido.

🤔 Wondering, Who is Vivemar? A few people have had this question, so we want to be clear that Vivemar is an organization; not a person.

Best Turtle Release Puerto Escondido Tours

Is releasing sea turtles ethical?

Sea turtles are in danger of extinction so turtle releases have become an important part of conservation efforts.

child holding a baby turtle and a red bucket
The baby turtle release Puerto Escondido should be on your bucket list, as it’s a magical experience for sure.

In most turtle sanctuaries, volunteers and conservationists search for turtle nests and move them to the turtle hatchery.

The turtle eggs in the hatchery are kept in shaded camps (thus maintaining a more ideal temperature) and protected from predators.

By involving tourists and allowing them to release baby sea turtles, these turtle sanctuaries are not only raising funds for their operation but also raising awareness about sea turtle conservation.

Best Turtle Release Puerto Escondido Tours

Where is Puerto Escondido located?

Puerto Escondido is located on the coast of the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico. It is on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, located about 160 miles (258 km) south of Oaxaca City.

📍Puerto Escondido Map

Puerto Escondido is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Oaxaca state. It primarily attracts nature lovers, surfers, and beach fanatics.

Historically, Puerto Escondido or “Hidden Port,” was occasionally used to ship coffee. Nowadays it has gained fame for its beautiful beaches, surfing and biodiversity.

Tourists enjoy releasing baby sea turtles, going on dolphin and whale watching tours, horseback riding, experiencing bioluminescence, and lots more while visiting Puerto Escondido Mexico.

Best Turtle Release Puerto Escondido Tours

How do you get to Puerto Escondido, Mexico?

The easiest way to get to Puerto Escondido, Mexico is to fly to Puerto Escondido International Airport (code: PXM).

Mexico City to Puerto Escondido

Flights are available from Mexico City, Oaxaca City, and other major Mexican airports. If you prefer ground transportation, you can rent a car, book a shared or private shuttle, or take an ADO bus from Mexico City.

The ADO bus is the most budget-friendly option and is considered quite safe and reliable. Unfortunately, it also means a long 11 hour journey, whereas the flight is only about 90 minutes.

oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido

boarding the oaxaca to puerto escondido flight on AeroTucan Airlines
Boarding the AeroTucan flight from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido.

You can travel to Puerto Escondido from Oaxaca City by private transportation, taking the ADO bus, colectivo (shared van), booking a flight, or you can rent a car in Oaxaca City and drive to Puerto Escondido.

⚠️ Note: For a deep dive into this topic, check out Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido: Your 5 Best Transport Options.

Final Thoughts: Turtle Release Puerto Escondido

Ready for the best sea turtle release Puerto Escondido has to offer? Hopefully, by now, you’ve found a tour to love from this list, plus the answers to your pressing questions.

turtle swimming in Oaxaca ocean

If you’re still undecided, I recommend this Baby Turtle Release and Bioluminescent Boat Ride Tour, which has a 5-Star rating.

Will you release baby sea turtles and visit a bioluminescent lagoon? Will you go for this 2-hour stroll along the baby turtle beach and learn about sea turtles, sea birds, and coastal wildlife? 

Or will you head into the sparkling blue of the Pacific Ocean to snorkel with adult sea turtles while you keep an eye out for dolphins?! No matter what you decide, it’s sure to be a great choice!

Additional Puerto Escondido Travel Blogs

vintage navy blue car in La Punta Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Mexico
Soak in the bohemian vibes in La Punta Puerto Escondido.

I can tell you firsthand that Puerto Escondido surfing lessons are one of the best ways to enjoy Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Mexico — so I’m glad you landed on this article to book yours.

If you’re looking for more info on traveling to Puerto Escondido Mexico, check out these additional Puerto Escondido travel guides:

Oaxaca Travel Planning Guide

Should I buy Mexico travel insurance for Oaxaca?

100% YES! — With basic coverage averaging just $5-10 USD per day, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from Travel Insurance Master, one of the biggest names in travel insurance. (Read more)

Can you drink the water in Oaxaca?

No — You’ll want to buy this Water-To-Go Bottle, which filters your drinking water so you don’t get sick from drinking water in Mexico, and helps keep you hydrated while traveling to Oaxaca. (Read more)

Is it safe to rent a car in Oaxaca?

Yes — Renting a car in Oaxaca is one of the best ways to see the state. I always rent with Discover Cars, which checks international companies and local Oaxaca companies, so you get the best rates. (Read more)

Will my phone work in Oaxaca?

Maybe — It depends on your company, so check with your provider. If you don’t have free Mexico service, buy a Telcel SIM Card. As Mexico’s largest carrier, Telcel has the best coverage of all Mexico SIM Cards. (Read more)

What’s the best way to book places to stay in Oaxaca?

For Oaxaca hotels, Booking.com is the best site. If you’re considering a Oaxaca Airbnb, also check VRBO, which is often cheaper than Airbnb. For the best Oaxaca hostels, use HostelWorld.

What do I pack for Oaxaca?

Head to the Ultimate Mexico Packing List + FREE Checklist Download to get all the info you need on packing for Mexico.

What’s the best site to buy Oaxaca flights?

For finding cheap Oaxaca flights, I recommend booking through Skyscanner.

Do I need a visa for Oaxaca?

Likely Not — U.S., Canadian and most European Passport holders don’t need a visa for Mexico; but you can check here to see if you need a Mexico travel visa.

The vast majority of travelers will receive a a passport stamp, or 180-Day FMM Tourist Visa upon arrival.