Community based sea turtle conservation on the Pacific Coast of Guatemala.
Every year populations of endangered sea turtles return to lay their eggs at the turtle hatchery at el Banco on the Pacific Coast of Guatemala.
Join this expedition to contribute to the conservation of endangered sea turtles in Guatemala, and develop a deeper appreciation for wildlife, and connect with your true nature.
Protecting the nesting beaches is a crucial part of our conservation work to ensure the continued survival of sea turtles at el Banco. We work in partnership with the local community to run the sea turtle hatchery, and involve the local schools in conservation projects.
Many sea turtle populations are declining around the world due to loss of nesting beaches, pollution, and the poaching of eggs and adult turtles. Three species of sea turtle nest at the hatchery, olive ridleys, leatherbacks, and even green turtles make an appearance.
Saving olive ridley sea turtles
Welcome to Estación Biológica el Banco – take the tour!
Explore with Indigo and discover the volcanic beaches of the Pacific Coast
Located in the community of el Banco on the Pacific Coast of Guatemala, Estación Biológica el Banco is a community-based biological research station.
It was established by Asociación Fundaselva de Guatemala and Indigo Expeditions in 2017 to monitor populations of endangered sea turtles.
This expedition offers you the opportunity to get involved with sea turtle conservation.
Help with looking after sea turtle eggs at the hatchery before the hatchlings are released into the Ocean.
Get hands-on and help release sea turtle hatchlings back into the Ocean with the community.
BEACH CLEAN UPS
Join local school children on their beach clean ups collecting plastics to be sold for recycling to raise money for computer equipment for their schools.
Your questions answered
If you want to experience the wonder of 1000s of sea turtle hatchlings running to the ocean for the first time, or coastal wildlife right on your door step, then this is the expedition for you!
Three species of sea turtle nest on the beach at the ‘tortugario‘ or turtle hatchery. The most common is the olive ridley, and in 2017 over 195,000 hatchlings were released! Leatherbacks and green turtle have also now been recorded.
Other striking species
The birdlife is stunning on the coast including pelicans, frigate birds, and osprey. Black-tailed iguanas roam the beaches, and dolphins can often be seen fishing in the crests of the waves in the ocean!
You will stay at the Estacion Biologica el Banco itself. Our biological station on the Pacific Coast was established to monitor sea turtle populations – all year round!
A comfortable shared dorm awaits you! Wake up each morning to a stunning sunrise over the Pacific Ocean as the morning reveals pelicans flying overhead, orioles chatting in the surrounding palm trees, and even a glimpse of a humpback whale!
From the time you are picked up by the Indigo Team in Guatemala, all in-country transport, accommodation, food, water & field training is provided! All you need to do is cover your flight to Guatemala City, grab your travel insurance, and cover any extra sundries.
9 Days £1,720 exc.flights
1 Oct – 9 Oct 2021.
Small group travel. Places limited to 12.
El Banco is a small community that traditionally relies principally on fishing as its mainstay. Fishing takes place in the ocean just offshore, and also in the wetlands a few hundred metres inland.
The el Banco community is humble, and very welcoming and open to receiving visitors. Be prepared to be greeted by smiles, and leave having made new friends.
You will work alongside members of the local community on their long-term sea turtle conservation project.
For the past 25 years the staff at the Tortugario el Banco have tirelessly incubated sea turtle eggs in protected hatcheries and then released the hatchlings into the ocean.
Their efforts have been hugely successful with numbers of turtles released each year consistently rising. In 2017 an amazing 195,754 olive ridley turtles were safely released back in to the sea.
While there’s an almost constant breeze from the Pacific Ocean, the climate on the Pacific coast is remarkably hot and humid for most of the year.
Mornings are a perfect time to enjoy the peace and tranquility of the coast. Sea turtles seem to prefer coming up to nest during, or after, recent rains so be prepared to get a little wet.
It will be worth it to witness the spectacle of these wonderful creatures.
Discover the Pacific Coast
The volcanic coastal plain of Guatemala is home to mangroves, wetlands, and black sandy beaches. Three species of sea turtles nest on these striking beaches, and the wetlands are an important resource for migrating birds.
The Pacific Coastal Plain of Guatemala is a fertile region rich in diverse habitats, from marshy wetlands, to mangroves and black sandy beaches.
The wetlands and mangroves are important habitats for migrating birds. Many species are found here, including yellow-headed vulture, white pelican, wood stork, and osprey.
The black sandy beaches are the nesting grounds for three species of sea turtle, the most common is the olive ridley. In recent years green turtles have also started to use the beaches here to lay their eggs on. The endangered leatherback turtle is an occasional visitor to the area, a true gentle giant.
Indigo Expeditions works closely with Estación Biológica el Banco to help better understand the ecology and conservation of endangered sea turtles, and how to provide sustainabe employment for the local community, and protect important habitat for endangered wildlife. We believe that by working in partnership with nature we can protect these species now and for future generations.
By working in this region of Guatemala we will be able to contribute to conservation efforts for these amazing species.
It is an honour to work with the community of el Banco managing the sea turtle hatchery and contributing to the survival of endangered sea turtles on the Pacific Coast.