Velas Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, has announced the debut of a new sea turtle experience that gives guests the opportunity to participate in conservation training, hatchling releases, nesting patrol and cleaning of hatching nests.
Available from June to December, the new program at the EarthCheck certified Gold resort is in addition to on-site behind-the-scene Eco Tours.
Upon arrival guests participating in conservation training will receive a talk on sea turtles and conservation activities. The talk will introduce guests to the world of marine conservation, sea turtle biology and what they will be able to take part in during their stay. Once the talk is completed and questions answered, guests will receive a Sea Turtle Team In-Training T-shirt. During a release, guests will be given a sea turtle hatchling at sunset and then will accompany the biologist down to the beach where a rope is placed five meters away from the sea. Guests will stand behind the rope and place their hatchling on the sand.
Hatchling releases are for no more than 30 people. Groups of no more than 10 guests will also be able to accompany the biologists patrolling the beach for nesting sea turtles from 9 - 11 pm. Upon encountering a female sea turtle, guests will wait in silence five meters away from the turtle until the biologist indicates that the sea turtle has entered her nesting trance. At this point guests will be able to approach the turtle and sit down by her side during the nesting process. Once the female turtle has returned to the ocean, guests can help collect the eggs and transport them back to the hatchery. If guests choose, they will be able to partake in cleaning the hatchery at Velas Vallarta, removing live and dead hatchlings and unhatched eggs.
All sea turtle programs are offered according to Mexican legislation on the conservation and protection of the species, Velas Vallarta said.
Families can also enjoy eco-tours, daily poolside games and activities like beach volleyball and water polo. The resort also has a recently renovated Kids Club with Xbox stations, air hockey, pool tables and a beverage station serving up non-alcoholic cocktails. Specialty guides lead behind-the-scenes eco tours, taking guests to hotel areas seldom seen by visitors including the solar panels, which heat the showers and pool water, and recycling facility. For aesthetic purposes, guest rooms do not have blue boxes but all garbage is sorted and recycled, where possible, to minimize waste, the resort said. Tour participants learn how composting is keeping plants healthy and reducing the use of pesticide chemicals by one half. Guests also get a look at enclosures used to house resident peacocks and injured wild birds and the turtle nursery.
Families can also discover the local culture through nightly live entertainment, including traditional dances and local music. When ready to explore the local community, Velas Vallarta offers city tours and shopping (Mondays and Tuesdays) and local culture and tequila tours (Wednesday and Sunday) included in the nightly rate.
Nightly rates at Velas Vallarta start as $153 per person per night, based on double occupancy. All-inclusive rates include suite accommodations, a la carte gourmet meals at a variety of specialty restaurants, premium branded beverages, 24-hour in-suite service, fitness center, taxes, gratuity and more.