There’s something otherworldly about swimming with sea turtles in the wild. Luckily, you can swim with sea turtles all over the globe as they’re some of the most widespread marine life. Sea turtles are also one of the most ancient species – they’ve existed for over 150 million years.
There are seven species of sea turtles around the world — sadly, all are vulnerable or endangered. They are the green sea turtle, loggerhead turtle, hawksbill turtle, olive ridley turtle, leatherback turtle, flatback turtle and kemp's ridley turtle.
Sustainable tourism can contribute to sea turtle conservation. Have an ethical experience when swimming with wild sea turtles by keeping the following principles in mind:
- Avoid any sort of interference with wild sea turtles.
- Never feed sea turtles as it curbs their natural instinct to provide for themselves.
- Touching or chasing wild sea turtles is an extremely irresponsible wildlife interaction.
- Report any suspected violations that are exploitative or dangerous for sea turtles.
If you get lucky enough to see a wild sea turtle gracefully gliding through the ocean keep a respectful distance of at least 20-feet. Use an extra-long selfie stick for your underwater camera to take pictures without getting too close to wild sea turtles.
Book snorkeling trips with local tour operators, or even better, with a conservation project. Vet the tour operator in advance to confirm that they limit the number of people on their tours to avoid distressing turtles and that they don’t allow snorkelers to feed or touch sea turtles.