O que precisa saber para observar tartarugas marinhas | What you need to know to watch sea turtles


4 species of sea turtles nest in São Tomé island: green sea turtle, olive ridley sea turtle, hawksbill sea turtle, and leatherback sea turtle



Sea turtles are protected by law and the turtle watching activities are carefully organized and performed by Programa Tatô.


Turtle watching activities can be incredible and inspiring experiences that create several benefits, important to support the conservation efforts. However, without the proper care and follow-up, these activities can be also very dangerous to the well-being and preservation of these species and their habitats.


When you visit São Tomé, look for us and guarantee an unforgettable experience, guided by the team of Programa Tatô, thus minimizing the impact caused on these sensitive species, threatened of extinction.


Several hotels and touristic operators work in partnership with Programa Tatô. Inform yourself first and look only for guides and touristic operators that have a partnership and direct contact with Programa Tatô, in order to ensure a well succeed activity and to have the best experience possible.



FROM 15€ / 375 STN



The turtle watching activities start in November and end in February, with the possibility of releasing hatchlings to the sea until April.



Important to know that:

- During the peak of the season, from November to February, it is forbidden to camp at Jalé beach, and we strongly advise not to do it on every nesting beach;

- During the nesting season, from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., the nesting beaches are restricted to the public in general, in order to minimize the human impact caused;

- All nesting beaches have a local agents team from Programa Tatô, highly trained and qualified, to protect the females and their nests, as well as support the people that wish to participate in our turtle watching activities;

- Programa Tatô is the only organization in São Tomé responsible and authorized to develop the ecotourism activities regarding sea turtles;

- It is still possible to see handcraft made of sea turtle shells to sell in several local shops. We strongly advise you to inform first and not to buy the products, forbidden by law;

- As with any other wildlife observation activity, spotting the sea turtles is not guaranteed. We advise you to get in touch with us to get more details and information;

- We only allow small groups, of around 4 people, per sea turtle;

- The value charged by our turtle watching activities fully reverts to support our conservation actions as well as helps to ensure the financial sustainability of the program in the long term;

- In order to improve our work and our service, always ask for payment proof from the members of our local team.



 

Get to know our SEA TURTLE GUIDELINES and make sure you respect the sea turtles:



Watching the nesting females:


  1. Do not visit the beach alone and make sure you have a booking and a previous authorization to be at the beach, obtained by Programa Tatô coordination;

  2. Always follow the rules indicated by the local agent/guide, especially when you are at the beach or encounter a sea turtle;

  3. You should wait at the indicated place until the local agent/guide calls you and you show walks always behind him;

  4. Always keep a safe distance from sea turtles of around 10 meters, so you do not disturb or drive her off;

  5. Do not block the sea turtle way back to the sea. Always follow her behind and with a minimum distance of 10 meters;

  6. The females chose silent, quiet, and dark beaches to nest, so it is not advisable to use white or artificial light, make fires at the beach, listen to music and make noises, take pictures with flash, use light clothes, use vehicles or through garbage on the beach;

  7. When you arrive at the beach, make sure you have the car lights in the minimum and turn them off immediately after you park the car;

  8. Put the screen brightness of the mobile phone on the minimum level;

  9. You should not get close to the sea turtle before she starts to nest, because it can make her quit the nesting;

  10. It is forbidden to touch sea turtles because it can change their behavior, make them more vulnerable to the human threat, get sick, or be contaminated with chemical products;

  11. It is forbidden to touch or manipulate the sea turtle eggs because they can get contaminated or can not develop;

  12. Do not make any noise or sudden movements during all visits. Sea turtles are animals extremely sensitive to human presence. Make sure the kids are quiet and close to their tutors.



Hatchlings release to the sea


  1. Do not visit the beach alone and make sure you have a booking and a previous authorization to be at the beach, obtained by Programa Tatô coordination;

  2. Always follow the rules indicated by the local agent/guide;

  3. It is forbidden to touch the sea turtle hatchlings because it can change their behavior, make them more vulnerable to human threats, get sick, or be contaminated with chemical products;

  4. It is forbidden to enter the hatcheries;

  5. Do not block the sea turtle hatchlings way to the sea; always keep a safe distance of them of around 5 meters;

  6. Always stay behind the signaling indicated by the local agent;

  7. Be careful not to step the hatchlings, especially when they reach the surf zone and if you are doing the activity during the night;

  8. It is not advisable to use white or artificial lights at the beach during the night;

  9. When you arrive at the beach, make sure you have the car lights in the minimum and turn them off immediately after you park the car;

  10. Put the screen brightness of the mobile phone on the minimum level;

  11. Do not take pictures with flash;

  12. Do not enter the water at the moment of the hatchlings' release and when they are visible close to the shore.


Get in touch with our team of local agents of Programa Tatô that are patrolling the beaches every night. They have all the knowledge and experience to better spot these animals and to minimize the stress caused to them.

Have a nice visit and enjoy this unique and so special moment that Nature gives you.



Contact us for bookings and more information: turtlewatching@programatato.pt

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