Cartagena: Sea turtles’ sanctuary

Cartagena has been increasingly become into a recognized worldwide destination, not just because its beautiful historical locations and charming environment, but also because the invaluable and unique natural treasures.

From the spectacular bird sight seeing’s tours, in forests and swamps, to the opportunity to see firsthand the spectacle that sea turtles offer when they arrive to its coasts, specially the type called Carey, Cartagena presents itself to the world as a biodiversity paradise, and as a sanctuary for endangered species.

According with science records, Colombia occupies the first place in the world in bird’s diversity, as well as for orchids; it also occupies the second place in plants, amphibious, sweet water fishes, and butterflies; it is ranked third in reptiles and palm trees, and takes the fourth place on mammals’ diversity. It is the ideal place for both, nature’s and scientist's tourism. At the beginning of September, Los Corales del Rosario y de San Bernardo National Natural Park conducted its sixth turtle’s liberation event. It was also supported by the Tortugas del Mar Foundation, the Sueños del Mar Foundation, and the National Army. There were 18 turtles released from 3 different species, such as Carey, Verde and Caguama. Its ages varied from 2 to 4 years, the young ones, and from 60 to 80 years, the adult ones. One of the most meaningful moments took place when kids and young people from these native areas, got involved in these activities along with scientists and supporters. All of them working together with a common goal: Protect the turtles.Liberación-de-Tortugas1 Between the months of May and November, the shores of Cartagena turn into the home and refuge for these reptiles which arrive every year to nest. Occasionally during those days, you get the chance to watch them in the beaches, but it is important to be aware of what they are doing. They do not come here to entertain us, they come to procreate, so it is really important to provide them with as much space and quietness as possible. Do not forget about the latent risk we face by letting this beautiful and valuable specie perish. Its absence would impact enormously life on the seas, and therefore the fate of all the planet.

Due to its migratory status, turtles’ reproduction process relies on the good care we, all human beings, give to its habitat and surrounding ecosystem. That is why we must offer them peaceful and safe places to preserve them. But, what shall we do, as visitors or tourists, to make sure sea turtles are well protected? How can we make sure we won't have to worry about the consequences of their disappearance? In here we share 10 norms that will help us to be the best guardians of the sea.

1. Do not ever throw any kind of trash outside its proper container.

2. You must avoid, at all cost, the use of any plastic bag or related plastic item. It is definitely forbidden the use of straws.

3. You won’t request or buy any object made out of animal parts, especially those endangered ones. Any kind of crafts and accessories containing Carey turtle shell, as well as the ones who purchase them, must be forever eradicated.

4. You will take care of the coasts and beaches as if they were the most precious and delicate of things. You will be the first guardian of this ecosystem, and fight for it against invaders, illegal constructors, and all of the unconscious people who alter the natural balance of this place.

5. You won’t eat or buy meat from turtle, or any other endangered species. You will also expose those who do it. Remember that you should not even take a little stone from these beaches.

6. Educate others and show them about the responsibility they have as the caregivers of wildlife and vegetation. The planet does not belong to anybody, so it must be protected beyond the needs every person has.

7. Take the time to appreciate the beauty and spectacle of life, but do it without taking away its space and without disturb it. Motored water vehicles, such as jet skis and fast boats, as well as the loud music of some beaches, and the massive arrival of tourists, do not allow the shores to present the proper conditions to host the turtles.

8. Forget about having a turtle or any other wild animal as a pet. Animal trafficking is a crime and it is penalized by law.

9. Keep always a green attitude and an environmentally responsible way of life everywhere you go. Remember that all of your actions have consequences, so you have to be aware of what you do in order to harm, as less as possible, this place called Earth.

10. You will support awareness campaigns where all social actors are included. In this way, nature’s protection becomes everyone’s task, and the impact and benefits can be perceived in all of the instances of the communities.Liberación-de-tortugas-en-Cartagena For these activities, they usually call ecologists groups, voluntary foundations, and youth communities involved in environmental education campaigns. If you are lucky enough, and you find yourself visiting one of the places they have chosen to conduct the liberation day, you may be witness of one wonderful spectacle. It is crucial to warn everyone about the importance of following the authorities’ instructions at all times. You must keep your distance, watch but no interfere. The sunscreen that we humans need so much, it is harmful for turtles, so we must not ever touch them while we are using it.

Lieutenant Stephanie Pauwels is the official voice and head of Los Corales del Rosario and San Bernardo National Natural Park. This kind and protective woman leads every process they conduct to protect turtles around the Park. If anyone is interested in knowing more about these conservation processes, you can access the web site: You can also write to the following emails: and You can also reach them on this phone line: (5) 665 5317.

Hopefully you can be part of the next liberation. Stay tuned.
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Cartagena, Colombia
El Universal, calle 30 N° 17-36, Pie del Cerro
Mon - Fri
8:00 a.m to 12: 00 p.m - 2:00 p.m to 6:00 p.m
649 9090 Ext. 167