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St. Maarten Nature Foundation Confirms Start of 2024 Sea Turtle Nesting Season

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While the sea turtle nesting season in Sint Maarten officially starts in May, extending through December, sea turtle nesting activity can also occur outside of this timeframe. Based on a confirmation from the Nature Foundation Sint Maarten, the sea turtle nesting season has started early this year. This is positive news for these endangered species and positive news for the island, as locals and tourists alike appreciate the beauty of this process unfolding on our shores. 

According to reports, a team from Nature Foundation responded to a tip. The team investigated the turtle's tracks on Maho beach as well as eyewitness videos showing that a leatherback sea turtle had potentially laid a nest of eggs the night of Thursday, April 18th. Following this investigation, the Nature Foundation confirmed that this was in face the first recorded sea turtle nesting of the 2024 season. This nesting is the first recorded leatherback sea turtle nesting on St. Maarten since June of 2022, and the first occurrence on the busy Maho beach since 2020, reported Loop News.  

“This is quite a rare event. The moment we walked on the beach and then measured the two-metre-wide tracks, it was obvious that a leatherback, the biggest species of sea turtle in the world, had come to shore on busy Maho Beach. We are currently busy creating information flyers and folders for nearby hotels and restaurants so that we can reach a bigger audience. This nest is in a vulnerable spot and needs all the help it can get.”  - Anna Venema, Nature Foundation Sint Maarten's Science Officer

According to National Geographic, dermochelys coriacea, commonly referred to as Leatherback sea turtles, can live for approximately 45 years in the wild and grow up to 7 feet long - weighing up to 2,000 pounds. Maho beach, known for its world famous plane landing photography, is subject to erosion and high foot traffic, making it a less than ideal site for sea turtles to nest. However, the site has since been blocked off by the Nature Foundation. Leatherback sea turtles, one of three species of sea turtle that commonly nest on St. Maarten beaches, are critically endangered species and are protected both locally and internationally. Under St. Maarten's laws, it is illegal to harm, capture or disturb sea turtles or their nesting sites. If successful, potentially dozens of eggs could hatch in roughly 60 days. 

The island of Sint Maarten and Saint Martin is home to a diverse range of wildlife making it world renowned for diving, snorkeling, ecotourism, and more. Our beachfront villa rentals such as the aptly named Villa Turtle Nest offer a front row seat for sea turtle nesting season. Contact our team of experienced professionals today to begin planning your next Caribbean getaway. 

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