Travel Guide

A trip to see turtles laying eggs on Con Dao Island

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Imagine a turtle mother laying her eggs and an adorable fleet of tiny turtles flopping their way towards the sea. For lovers of nature and all things cute, witnessing a sea turtle laying eggs will be a one-of-a-kind experience on any Con Dao tour for family.

Yet, as turtles are highly dependent and sensitive to changes in the water (lights, development, and even poaching greatly impact nesting turtles) and more beachfront properties on Con Dao Island open, nesting sea turtles are increasingly forced to share the strand with a large number of vacationing humans. But fortunately Con Dao Island – 210 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City – is currently implementing marine turtle conservation and is an important habitat for the largest population of natural sea turtles in Vietnam.

When to see turtles laying eggs on Con Dao Island?

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Protecting turtles on Con Dao Island

With the five species of sea turtles laying here including even endangered marine animals like green turtle and hawk’s bill turtles, the activity can be seen from April through October. The busiest time, however, is from July to September. As we slowly (very slowly!) inch our way towards summer, turtles on Con Dao Island will start becoming more active as they take advantage of the much nicer weather to start about the business of finding mates and giving birth.

 Plan your Con Dao tour during its hatching season, but remember there’s no guarantee you will surely see sea turtles lay their eggs. As not all turtles coming to the beach and laying their eggs here before returning to the ocean, it requires time, patience, and of course a bit of good luck to see turtles give birth and experience their world during daylight and at night on Con Dao Island – 97 nautical miles north-west of southern Vung Tau City. While waiting for the turtles to arrive from the ocean, an advice for turtle watchers is not to make noises such as talking loudly, laughing, or even giggling.

Where to see turtles laying eggs on Con Dao Island?

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Con Dao is home to five turtle species

Turtles have great tastes in the habitats and places they choose to nest during these months from late spring to mid-summer. Around 400 female sea turtles of five species on Con Dao Island need wide, sunny, and warm beaches with damp sand or soft soil not for relaxing, but for reproducing by internal fertilization and laying their clutches that typically number one hundred shelled eggs.

Due to water pollution, unsustainably developed coastlines, and climate change, nearly all five species of sea turtles in Con Dao, which are considered part of the national heritage and the ambassador of the ocean, have become highly endangered. But fortunately, many places such as Cau, Tre Lon, and Tai Islets are learning to be good neighbors and are even improving the odds for these threatened species.

Among them, the most popular destination to see turtles laying eggs is the big sandy beach of Bay Canh Islet – one of the islands of the Con Dao archipelago dubbed as “Con Dao’s most ecological islet”. As the largest marine turtle conservation area in Vietnam is situated inside the Con Dao National Park, travelers on their Con Dao tour wanting to go there need an entry permit at the National Park on Con Son Island.

What to do on your Vietnam tour for family on Con Dao Island?

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Turtles laying eggs on Con Dao Island

Visitors on their Con Dao tour may walk along the sandy beaches with turtle experts looking for nests and conducting research, help with a variety of tasks, receive a late-night wake-up call to witness turtles digging their nests, preparing to lay eggs, refilling their nests with sand, and laying, or take part in the Marine Turtle Conservation volunteer program launched by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to promote community-based conservation of sea turtles and their habitats.

Wild chickens, squirrels, and butterflies together with 24 species of mangrove plants complete this luxury eco-vacation experience on Bay Canh – also a large mangrove forest reserve of Con Dao Island.

Even though the principal nesting season is July to September, you can visit Con Dao Islands all year round. When your Con Dao family tour ends, you will definitely have unforgettable memories.

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