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Excursions to meet the turtles in Martinique

The best activities to discover the different species of turtles in Martinique

How to see turtles in Martinique ? Located in the Antilles archipelago, Martinique (or the island of flowers) is a French region of 1128 square kilometers. Its beaches and its climate are ideal for the life and the reproduction of several species of marine turtles.

These are among the best known, but also the most endangered species in the world. These reptiles, which attract the sympathy and curiosity of millions of travelers, can be observed in various places on the island. It is truly an unusual and exciting attraction that you will never forget! 

Discover these unusual animals and all the advice to be sure to see them.

The different species of turtles that can be observed in Martinique 

While there are seven species of sea turtles around the world, you may be lucky enough to see five of them in Martinique!

Green turtle 

The green turtle (like its scales) is certainly the best known and most representative species of this reptile. It is the one you will have the most opportunity to see in shallow waters. However, it almost never ventures onto the beaches. The beaches of Martinique are not its preferred place for laying eggs, except in August and September.

More frequently encountered on the beach, the leatherback turtle is easily distinguished by its size, sometimes up to 2 meters in length. It is the fourth-largest reptile still alive! It can also be recognized by its midnight blue carapace, covered not with scales, but with a leathery skin spotted with white spots.

Hawksbill turtle 

Smaller and with a hawk's beak, the hawksbill turtle is the third most common turtle in Martinique. It is also the most endangered. It gets its name from the disposition of the scales that cover its shell. You will find it both on the beaches and in shallow waters.

Two other species roam the waters of Martinique, but you will need a lot of luck to come across them:

The olive ridley turtle 

So with a little perseverance, you can observe the olive ridley turtle which owes its name to its color.

Loggerhead turtle 

It is the smallest of the five, it can be recognized by the slightly curved edge of its carapace. Finally, you may see the loggerhead turtle, which looks like the green turtle, but smaller and brown. Its scales are quite characteristic, in the shape of a flattened pyramid.

All these turtles are carnivorous, even omnivorous for the loggerhead turtle. Only the green turtle starts with a meat diet, then becomes herbivorous during its development. They are found close to the beaches, because the males mate with the females near the feeding and nesting sites. The latter then come to lay eggs collectively on the beach.

How to observe turtles in Martinique ? Advices and rules to respect 

All the turtles of Martinique that you will have the opportunity to see are threatened species or in danger of extinction. It is thus advisable to respect some rules not to disturb these species and to benefit from this natural spectacle while preserving them.

At sea, they are less vulnerable, and you can admire them without too much distance(about 5 meters). Be careful not to disturb them if they are feeding, and not to walk on the seagrass which can be the food of choice for some species.

However, it is on the beach that you should be most careful. This is the easiest way to see them, because we know the laying periods of the females. Unfortunately, they are slower on land and vulnerable to attack by predators or poachers. Leave a good distance between you and the specimens you may see(at least 10 meters). Be discreet when you find the ideal spot by crouching down and moving as little as possible.

The best time to meet them is at night. This is when the females prefer to lay their eggs because of the drop in temperature. To this end, avoid pointing a light at them and using flashes, so as not to frighten them. In any case, it is formally recommended never to touch these animals.

If you are lucky, you may even come across one when the eggs are hatching! If this is the case, enjoy this incredible spectacle from a distance, and only with your eyes. Once they have hatched, the turtles must return to the sea on their own.

Do not help them by catching them and carrying them to the shore. However, you can make their journey easier by clearing the path to the water of any obstacles they may encounter. You can also keep predators away from the area, such as crabs or birds.

Where to see turtles in Martinique? We give you the best spots! 

Be reassured: all the beaches of Martinique can allow you to cross these reptiles! However, some sites are well known to optimize their encounter.

It is in the south-west of the island that turtles are most often found, in the Anses Arlet area. The small bays of Anse Noire and Anse Dufour, the most famous, will offer you beautiful shots. Both are located side by side and easily accessible, with two parking lots a few meters away.

Larger and 4-5 kilometers further south, Grande Anse d'Arlet is another heavenly and unmissable spot. This site is also well known for its diving activities.

In the north of Martinique and at the foot of Mount Pelee, you will find two other accessible places for turtle watching. These are Anse Céron and Anse Couleuvre. They are a little less frequented and in a wilder environment. This makes them an ideal setting if you want to enjoy the scenery and hike around.

An unforgettable activity: swimming with turtles 

What if you realized the dream of every turtle lover: swimming with these incredible turtles? It is possible in Martinique! The different spots mentioned above will offer you this unique experience. You will be close to the turtles, in their environment, surrounded by the rich marine fauna and flora of Martinique.

Snorkeling - or underwater hiking - will undoubtedly allow you to make the most of this moment. So, put on your fins, mask and snorkel, and jump into the water!

When to observe turtles in Martinique? 

You are in Martinique, but no turtle on the horizon? It may not be the best time of the year... Indeed, the turtles are present during the laying periods, which themselves can vary according to the species.

The ideal period is between May and September, when all species are present to lay their eggs. This extends to October - November for green and hawksbill turtles. For leatherback turtles, egg laying begins in March - April.

Now you know all the tips to see these beautiful creatures. All that remains is for you to head to the island of Martinique and look for turtles. And the most important thing: enjoy this moment that will surely remain engraved in your memory!

Questions fréquentes sur Sea turtle

According to our customers' feedback, here are the best places to see turtles in Martinique:

  • Anse Dufour (the best place to see turtles at 20 meters from the shore!)
  • Le Diamant
  • Anse La Parle
  • Anse C√©ron
  • Anse Couleuvre
  • Grande Anse d'Arlet

You can see turtles all year long in Martinique.

The best places to swim with the turtles are :

  • The twin coves in the south of the island: Anse Noire and Anse Dufour
  • North of the island: Anse Couleuvre and Anse C√©ron

As a reminder: it is advised not to touch the turtles.

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3 activities of type Sea turtle