Hikkaduwa, known for its vibrant shores, crazy waves and pulsating, energetic vibe, draws travellers from around the world to enjoy the adventures it has to offer. A not so well known phenomenon is the experience of seeing the wild sea turtles, who visit a certain point of the coast. Nature lovers and kids from all over the world will enjoy the sight of these regal creatures, and there’s even a hatchery close by that allows travellers to learn more about how turtles are protected in the region.
How to See the Turtles
There are a few ways to spot these guys, as you can swim alongside them when you go diving or snorkelling or you may even spot them beneath the floor of a glass bottomed boat. The easiest way, however, is to head to the spot where they hang out on the beach and enjoy a few moments with them. The turtles come in twos and threes but it’s possible to see more if you wade in further. Some are quite large and heavy, indicating that they are decades old. If you are wondering where to stay in Hikkaduwa, you may even choose a place that’s close to where the turtles are!
What’s the best time?
The best time to catch them is as early as possible in the morning. The beach will be empty and the turtles will be undisturbed. Later in the day as the sun rises and more tourists come, the turtles will retreat further into the water. Sunrise is a good time to walk to their favourite spot to enjoy some time with them.
What can you do with the Turtles?
Admire them! Feel free to take pictures and even get into the water alongside them. Be wary of touching them, however, and refrain from sitting on their shells. Do also avoid crowding around the turtles, as they will feel uncomfortable. There will be a few lifeguards who will encourage people to have fun without harming the turtles, so it’s best to listen to them. You can even feed them seaweed, they will enjoy it! All in all, have a lovely time with the turtles in their natural habitat without encroaching on their enjoyment.
Head to the Turtle Hatchery
The turtle hatchery close by is a wonderful place to visit. A family affair, the owners of the hatchery take special pains to hatch rescued turtle eggs that were illegally harvested and allow the hatchlings to make their way to the sea one day. There are plenty of tanks that hold turtles, arranged by size (or age) and species. Little ones will enjoy holding the small turtles, and it’s also a learning opportunity. Some of the species are endangered, and the people at the hatchery can explain how and why this is, as well as the steps being taken to care for these beautiful creatures! The guides will carefully allow people to hold the turtles. All in all it’s a very special experience to get close to these extraordinary animals.