Turtle Farm in Isla Mujeres

Turtle Farm in Isla Mujeres

Turtle Farm (Tortugranja):

Situated on the western coast of the island, this center aims to protect and preserve different sea turtle species. The farm oversees the turtle eggs from being hatched to being released back to nature between May and October. The admission fee is MXN 30 or USD 3, and we spent about 30 minutes at the farm. They also sell turtle food, which we did not purchase. The turtle farm consisted of a building with multiple pools in the middle that house different types and sizes of turtles and tanks along the wall with different types of fish and sea creatures. There were several outdoor pools with larger turtles that are unable to survive if released back in the ocean. There was also a protected area in the ocean with large turtles in it that you can access by walking down the boardwalk.

 

My impression of the turtle farm was that while its mission is admirable, there were some areas of improvement that we had observed. First, the pools seemed too crowded with not enough water and nowhere for turtles to rest. I even saw a turtle getting its fin stuck in one of the walls, which fortunately was able to free itself, but it was unsettling to see how crowded the pool was. Secondly, with the exception of one elderly man who seemed to maintain the farm and the lady who manned the admissions booth, there were no other staff members to be seen. Even though there were signs that prohibited people from touching the turtles, we saw people disregarding the signs and touching them without any guidance. I have read that there were guided tours, but we were not given any information of the tours and again, no staff member to ask questions to. Since there was no staff to oversee the tourists, we also witnessed children throwing human snacks, instead of turtle food, into the pools. All in all, while we appreciate the goals of the farm, we left wishing the conditions were better.