Zakynthos, also known as Zante, is famous for its crystal-clear waters, stunning beaches, and rich biodiversity. One of the most popular activities on the island is turtle spotting, where visitors can catch a glimpse of the endangered loggerhead sea turtles in their natural habitat. Here’s everything you need to know about turtle spotting in Zakynthos.
About the loggerhead sea turtles:
Loggerhead sea turtles are one of the most common turtle species found in the Mediterranean Sea, and Zakynthos is one of their primary nesting grounds. The turtles can grow up to 1.2 meters (4 feet) in length and weigh up to 180 kg (400 pounds). They have a distinctive reddish-brown shell and can live up to 80 years in the wild.
Where to spot the turtles:
The best places to spot the turtles in Zakynthos are the beaches of Laganas Bay, Kalamaki, and Gerakas. These beaches are protected areas, and the turtles use them for nesting and feeding. While the turtles can sometimes be seen from the shore, the best way to observe them is by taking a boat tour.
There are many boat tours available on the island that offer visitors the chance to see the turtles up close. The tours usually last around 2-3 hours and take visitors to the turtle nesting grounds, where they can watch the turtles swim, feed, and bask in the sun. The tours are led by experienced guides who provide information about the turtles’ behavior and biology.
Tips for turtle spotting:
- Do not disturb the turtles: It is essential to respect the turtles’ space and avoid touching them or getting too close. The turtles are easily frightened, and disturbance can cause them to abandon their nests or become disoriented.
- Follow the rules: The beaches where the turtles nest are protected areas, and there are rules in place to ensure their conservation. Visitors should follow these rules and not litter, leave behind any waste or disturb the wildlife.
- Time your visit: The best time to see the turtles is between May and October, during the nesting season. The turtles come to the beaches to lay their eggs, and visitors have the best chance of seeing them during this time.
- Choose a responsible tour operator: Choose a tour operator that follows responsible tourism practices and has a good reputation for respecting the environment and the turtles.
In conclusion, turtle spotting is a must-do activity for nature lovers visiting Zakynthos. By following the tips above and choosing a responsible tour operator, visitors can have a memorable experience while also contributing to the conservation of these magnificent creatures.