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Villa La Joya Sea Turtles Sanctuary Riviera Maya

The annual sea turtle nesting season in the Riviera Maya is a natural phenomenon that is truly magical and mind-blowing. Every year between May and October, thousands of sea turtles return to the exact spot of their own birth on the shores of the Yucatan Peninsula to lay their own eggs. Protecting these mature adult sea turtles, the nests and their hatchlings is a community effort with government and volunteer organizations working together to ensure that the circle of life goes on. 

The Villa la Joya Sea Turtles Sanctuary project is a labor of love for the endangered sea turtles that visit our little corner of the universe in the Mayan Riviera. Since the days we began building Villa la Joya in 2008, we have been awed by the miracle of the sea turtle nesting season. 


"Helping sea turtles, ancient species in the Riviera Maya"

Our sea turtle conservation project began one beautiful morning in June, when the Villa la Joya and Playa Paraiso caretakers Domingo, Ignacia and Carlos found a stranded, lost turtle. It took four men to carry the huge creature to the shore to return to the sea! Since then, efforts to protect nesting sea turtles on our beach in Playa Paraiso have grown each year, led primarily by Irma, an amazing biologist and Marcial, an engineer passionate about nature.


With our Playa Paraiso neighbors, friends, family, co-workers, and couples who get married at Villa la Joya, we have helped protect and improve nesting conditions and spread the word about living in harmony with nature. 

Our Latest Achievements (2023)





Protected Hatchlings



Turtles Released


**Chelonia Mydas (green sea turtle) hatchlings. Last update Nov., 2023

What do we do at the Villa la Joya
Sea Turtles Sanctuary?

Since the first turtle sighting in 2008, Villa La Joya has been implementing a variety of strategies to protect sea turtles and facilitate their cycle in the face of natural and anthropogenic changes in their environment. In 2011 we began working with local authorities in conservation efforts and in 2017 the Playa Paraiso project was named an official “Campamento Tortuguero” or “Turtle Hatchery Camp”. So, how does the Villa la Joya Sea Turtle Sanctuary in Playa del Carmen help protect these amazing marine creatures?

  • Observe the phenomenon and teach our staff the proper procedures for when they see a turtle coming to shore to nest. 

  • Day and night patrols of the beach during the active sea turtle nesting season in Playa Paraiso to protect the animals and their nests and record data of nesting females.

  • Build fenced nests (Corrales), relocating the eggs and protecting them from predators and human interference to guarantee a high number of baby turtles released back to the ocean.

  • Offer workshops and chats with neighbors, local schools, and hotels nearby, to raise awareness and teach ways that we can all ensure the safety of the sea turtles and a productive nesting season.

  • Speak with authorities to show our interest in helping and getting their support. 

  • Invite neighbors to spay their cats and keep them indoors to avoid over-population as they are natural predators of sea turtle babies.

  • Clean our beaches of obstacles and seaweed to avoid turtles getting stuck.

  • Assist in sea turtle releases to protect the babies as they make their way to the ocean. 


How you can help the sea turtles and protect the world’s oceans?

You can help the endangered sea turtles, here are a few ways you can make a difference:

  • Recycle and avoid using plastic.

  • Use biodegradable products.

  • Keep beaches clear of furniture, seaweed, and other items during nesting season (from May to October).

  • Sponsor a Villa la Joya Sea Turtle Sanctuary Turtle or Nest, ask us how! 

  • Send us a message to learn more about our protection program.

  • Share this info with others.


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