The turtle watching season begins in March and finishes in August.
Five species of sea turtle are known to nest in Trinidad and Tobago: the Leatherback, Hawksbill, Green, Olive Ridley, and Loggerhead. Only the leatherback nests in relatively large numbers. These endangered giants come, from March to August, to lay their eggs. Approximately two months later, the eggs hatch.
High density nesting beaches are found on the north and east coasts of Trinidad and on a few beaches in Tobago. Nesting by other species is reported to be largely centred along the north and east coasts of Trinidad and Tobago, as well as on the Bocas Islands.
Matura Beach, 5 km beach on the east coast of Trinidad is where the turtles go to nest especially the leatherback turtle. Historically, the major problems at Matura Beach have been poaching and human disturbance, beach erosion, and natural predators.
Poaching is believed to be on the decline. Since the 1990 turtle nesting season, beaches at Matura and Fishing Pond have been designated prohibited areas and volunteer wardens have been recruited. The result has been reduced poaching, an increased public awareness, and a large number of recreational "turtle watchers" visiting Matura Beach.
While turtle watching brings other potential problems, this activity is well-managed at present. Erosion is still a serious concern.
In addition to Manzanilla, other beaches which usually show signs of turtle nesting are Fishing Pond, Grande Riviere, G.Tacarib, Madamas, Paria Bay, P.Tacarib. Tobago on the other hand usually show turtle nestings at Turtle Beach, Stonehaven, Back Bay.
Contact: Forestry Division Tel: 1 (868) 662-5114; Grande Riviere Tourism Development Organization; Nature Seekers.