Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort, Aruba’s only adults-only resort is preparing for the pitter patter of little feet - or flippers, in this case. Sea turtle nesting season is underway and the Eagle Beach resort already has three Leatherback sea turtle nests within its care. For travelers hoping to possibly have their vacation timed with the estimated arrival of hatchlings, they can now plan with the Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort Sea Turtle Nesting Calendar 2023.
As a bonus, guests can even visit Aruba’s caves and rock formations where the island’s earliest humans communicated the importance of these very sea turtles’ ancestors with petroglyphic art.
A time traveler’s adventure
Today, Aruba is home to more than 100 nationalities throughout its 112,000 people. While Aruba is currently a constituent of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, with its own Prime Minister and government, prior to this, going back 2,000 to 3,500 years ago, the island’s earliest human inhabitants were Arawak Indians. However, stretching back many thousands of years earlier, sea turtles were among the earliest inhabitants to call Aruba their birthplace.
Sea turtles return to their natal beach to nest. Bucuti & Tara’s stretch of famed Eagle Beach is a popular nesting spot for Leatherbacks. Guests have the greatest chance of seeing the majestic site of a Leatherback coming ashore and laying her clutch during nesting season from March through Sept. Hatching season is May through Nov. With an incubation of 60 to 70 days, guests can increase their chances of being present for the newborns emerging from the sand by timing their stay with Bucuti & Tara’s Sea Turtle Calendar.
Every couple to the Caribbean’s first certified carbon-neutral hotel has a personal concierge. Those interested in connecting today’s sea turtles with their very ancestors can have their concierge arrange for a tour of the island’s cave and rock art dating back up to 3,500. Fontein Cave in Arikok National Park is known for its multitude of geometric and zoomorphic (animal) cave drawings. There, guests can see the inhabitants art communicating about the island’s sea turtles. Couples’ concierge can help them connect on a guided tour where they can talk with park rangers or visit Fontein at their leisure through either of the park’s two visitor entrances.
Sea Turtle Nesting Calendar 2023
Guests hoping for the best chance of witnessing Leatherback sea turtle hatchlings emerge from their nests on Bucuti & Tara’s beachfront can reference the real-time calendar updates. While four species nest in Aruba - Leatherback, Loggerhead, Green and Hawksbill - only the Leatherback turtles nest along Eagle Beach at Bucuti & Tara’s location. For the 2023 season, two nests are already on the beach; protected with barricades featuring instructions and tips.
Guests invited to join in sea turtle conservation
Today, a devoted network of conservation initiatives are working to restore Caribbean sea turtles to their historic abundance. The Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network, commonly known as WIDECAST, affiliates with TurtugAruba, Aruba’s dedicated sea turtle conservation organization.
Guests learn how to behave when turtles are nesting and when hatchlings emerge such as keep turning off unnecessary lights and how to avoid damaging nests. They can help prepare the sand by participating in Bucuti & Tara’s monthly beach clean-up or special ones throughout the year such as Bucuti & Tara’s Earth Day Beach Clean-up with Aruba’s Prime Minister. They learn fun facts such as how Leatherbacks can travel 10,000 miles to their nesting sites or dive to depths of 4,000 ft. while holding their breath for seven hours. They discover that sea turtle genders are determined not by a chromosome, rather by how deep in the sand the eggs are located. Those buried deeper are destined to be male while those closer to the top become female.
Classified as vulnerable, Leatherbacks are decreasing in population. According to the National Ocean and Atmospheric Association, or NOAA, Leatherbacks have significantly decreased by 40% in just three generations. It’s estimated only 30,000 to 40,000 are left worldwide. Loss is driven by illegal poaching and egg harvesting, rising seas from climate change, degradation and loss of natural habitat, damage from an ever-growing fishing industry, and ocean debris.
Inspiring awareness and conservation
By witnessing sea turtles dating back to prehistoric times in their natural habitat, seeing the importance of them in petroglyphic art on island, and having the opportunity to preserve the nesting grounds from the island community, Bucuti & Tara finds that guests who are hands-on have an even elevated vacation experience. A 2022 Sustainable Travel Study by Expedia showed that 90% of consumers are looking for sustainable options and seek hotel, transportation, dining, and excursions that align with their own personal commitments to sustainability.