The Tilapita Turtle Weekend

By Lucas Vidgen

What exactly is the problem here?
The Green Sea Turtles, which live and nest along the Pacific Coasts of Mexico and Guatemala, are in danger of extinction. Apart from loss of habitat, the greatest threat to their well-being is that these little suckers are delicious, according to the coast-dwellers, and Green Turtle Soup is a local delicacy.

What are we gonna do about it?
There’s an organization out of Coatepeque called Amigos del Bosque who run a Turtle Sanctuary in a small coastal village called Tilapita. They either buy the turtle eggs from the locals at the same price they’d sell them for in the market or go out looking at night, when the turtles lay their eggs and grab ‘em before the hunters do. They then take the eggs back to the sanctuary, incubate them ‘til they hatch and release them into the ocean.
What we’re going to do is go looking for turtle nests. Around midnight, the turtles come up onto the beach to lay their eggs. We’ll be going out in groups to look for eggs and take them back to the sanctuary.
So What’s the Plan, Man?
We’ll be heading down to Tilapita on Friday afternoon, the 19th of September [2008]. We can arrange private transport for Q150 per person, round trip. If Friday’s no good for you (or you want to save some cash), Tilapita’s easy enough to get to on the bus – the trip takes about 3 hours and transport should run about Q90 for the round trip. There’s a good, basic hotel (with swimming pool) charging Q50 per person per night. The attached restaurant serves excellent seafood and the garlic shrimp are worth making the trip for on their own.

Most of us will be coming back on Sunday, but you’re welcome to stay for as long as you like.

What should I take?
A flashlight, beach gear, bug repellent, money – the usual stuff.

Sounds good. Where do I Sign Up?
To secure a place, transport and accommodation-wise, get in touch with Tom from Xelapages (by the 15th at the latest) at 4 Calle 19-48, Zone 1, Xela, or call 7761-4396 or email

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