Among the highpoints of any visit to heaven-sent Isla Mujeres (alongside the fun and splendor of Privilege Aluxes, of course), the Tortugranja, or “Turtle Farm,” showcases the beauty—and fragility—of the lovely sea turtles inhabiting our local waters.
The farm—administered by a branch of the Mexican government and funded by donations and modest entry fees—dedicates itself to sheltering rescued sea turtles in preparation for releasing them back into the wild, and to provide permanent homes for turtles too injured, sick, or otherwise hampered to return safely to the ocean.
For a mere $3 U.S. dollars, you can tour the facility, which includes both indoor and outdoor pools housing a variety of sea turtles as well as other marine life, including sea horses, horseshoe crabs, and a shark. Among the most important components of the Tortugranja is the sandy section used during turtle nesting season (roughly May through October) to protect egg clutches relocated to the site for safe, closely monitored hatching.
One on One With Caribbean Sea Turtles
It’s incredible to see a sea turtle up close: the large and soulful eyes, the wing-like beats of their great flippers, the scarred shells attesting to the marine reptiles’ all-around toughness. You can often glimpse turtles on snorkeling or diving forays around Isla Mujeres, but a visit to the Tortugranja guarantees a sighting—and clues you into some of the most vital conservation efforts going on here. Sea turtles all over the world have suffered mightily at the hands of humankind, whether it’s through overhunting, the loss of nesting habitat, or general ecosystem upheaval from pollution, climate change, and other factors. Places like the Tortugranja help give them a fighting a chance in the face of these threats.
The Tortugranja’s roster of shelled tenants obviously varies as the newly rescued come in and the rehabbed are set free, but you’re liable to see a whole slew of different turtles, from hatchlings and half-grown youngsters to huge veterans. Among the species generally represented are green sea turtles—docile grazers as adults—and loggerheads, named for their impressive jaws.
And there’s always a chance you’ll be privy to a turtle release, which is a heartwarming and unforgettable sight, to say the least.
Leave ‘Em Be
Meanwhile, if you’re hitting up the Isla Mujeres beaches during turtle-nesting season, be sure to give any mothers you see coming ashore plenty of room; don’t shine flashlights on them or otherwise interfere with their maternal activities. Just appreciate the privilege (so to speak) of seeing one of the most astonishing natural sights on the Yucatan coast!
Also set on Isla Mujeres’s west coast, the Tortugranja’s an easy journey from Privilege Aluxes, so consider making this worthy turtle-conservation institution part of your stay with us. We’re grateful this facility exists, as Isla Mujeres’s native sea turtles are absolutely precious members of the local ecosystem!