The best places in the world to swim with sea turtles

By Stef Zisovska
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The best places in the world to swim with sea turtles

Stef Zisovska
 
Green sea turtle - Author: Brocken Inaglory - GFDL
Green sea turtle - Author: Brocken Inaglory - GFDL
 
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Sea turtles are one of the cutest animals to roam the oceans and seas of the world. They are also the favorite swimming companion of many snorkelers and divers who are always happy to hang out with them. Gentle and friendly, they are the reason why certain parts of the world gain popularity among travelers. Some people are so obsessed with sea turtles, that they travel only to those parts of the world where they can see these cuties. If you are one of those turtle fanatics, here’s a list of places where you can travel this winter and have an incredible experience.

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Sea turtle
Sea turtle

The Galapagos green sea turtle is an endemic species that only lives on the Galapagos archipelago. The best time to see them is from December to March which is their nesting season. If you want to see the baby turtles hatching, then pick some date between February and May. However, you can see them any time of the year, but the best time is during the winter.

The Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Green turtle swimming over coral reefs in Kona – Author: Brocken Inaglory – CC BY-SA 3.0
Green turtle swimming over coral reefs in Kona – Author: Brocken Inaglory – CC BY-SA 3.0

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral system on the planet and it’s even visible from outer space. Though a big part of it has been destroyed by global warming and pollution, the Great Barrier Reef is still massive enough to host more than 1500 species of fish, several different species of whales, dolphins and 6 species of sea turtle. The nesting sites of the green sea turtle are called rookeries, and there are 18 of them along the Reef. Sites often have more than 30,000 nesting female turtles, and the largest of which can be seen around Raine Island. The nesting season starts in October and ends in February, and the hatching period is from late December to April.

Ari Atoll, Maldives

Female Green Sea Turtle.
Female Green Sea Turtle.

The Maldives contain more than 1000 coral islands that are divided into 26 atolls. The white-coral sand and the extraordinary marine life are attracting people from all around the world to enjoy the Indian Ocean waters. Snorkeling at Ari Atoll is suitable for beginners who will be able to swim next to tropical fish, nudibranchs, starfish, dolphins and whale sharks. Sea turtles are everywhere, and even if you wanted to, you can’t avoid them. These hawksbill turtles rarely lay their eggs on the Maldives, so you probably won’t see this event. But, the best season to swim with the grown-ups is between January and April.

Maui Island, Hawaii

Immature Hawaiian C. mydas – Author: Mak Thorpe – CC BY-SA 2.5
Immature Hawaiian C. mydas – Author: Mak Thorpe – CC BY-SA 2.5

In the waters around the Hawaiian archipelago, there are five types of sea turtle including commonly seen are the green sea turtle and the hawksbill as the most common ones, and the less common leatherback, the loggerhead, and the olive ridley. Hawaiian green turtles can be seen in the water, on the surface, on the beach, and on the ocean floor feeding on algae. Turtle harassment is illegal in Hawaii, so don’t try to do anything stupid. The best time to see them is between April and October.

Marsa Alam, Egypt

Green sea turtle near Marsa Alam, Egypt – Author: Alexander Vasenin – CC BY-SA 3.0
Green sea turtle near Marsa Alam, Egypt – Author: Alexander Vasenin – CC BY-SA 3.0

Marsa Alam is one of the most famous diving destinations in the Red Sea, located in the southeast of Egypt. If you are looking for clownfish, reef sharks, and especially sea turtles, then this is the right place for you. Go to Abu Dabbab Bay where you can swim with green sea turtles. If you want to spot some hawksbill turtles then snorkel near the coral reefs where they feed. The waters of the Red Sea are always warm, calm, and transparent, so snorkeling here is a real joy.

All of these places are beautiful and worth visiting. Besides the sea turtles, all of these countries have so many more things to see and explore. Choose your favorite and book a flight. Good luck!

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