The Hawksbill Turtle in Barbados

The Hawksbill Turtle in Barbados

Protected in Barbados since 1998, the Hawksbill turtle can be found in many places in Barbados. The Barbados Sea Turtle Projects' Facebook Page has information on hatchling releases, volunteering and much more. Hawskbill nesting season began on June 1, so now is the time to see layings. They're sensitive to light, so please keep your distance and refrain from flash photography when they're laying.



Seeing Turtles in Barbados

Although the turtle can be seen island-wide, there are some hotspots should you want to spot them, these are given below. The many boats and catamarans up and down the West Coast offer daily cruises to swim with the turtles, or, you can shore dive/snorkel to see them. If you hire a car in Barbados it affords you the opportunity to drive to the various locations and see them for yourself at your leisure. The three main spots to view turtles are :-

Paynes Bay


Paynes Bay is the spot that will virtually guarantee you turtles. You can park opposite One Sandy Lane and head through the gap to the north of the building. If you turn left at the beach to the Bay, you can then swim out to where the boats/catamarans congregate and you will see turtles 99% of the time. It’s a fair swim from the shore (about 10-15mins) and the turtles appear in water ~20ft deep for feeding by the boats. The turtles are tame, come very close (close enough to touch) and can be seen throughout the day.

Six Mens


As discussed on our snorkelling post, in the water around the fishing boats at Six Mens Bay you will see some quite large turtles. They are used to being fed from the scraps thrown away by the fishing boats and as such they have grown to quite impressive sizes! A little snappier than normal but still breathtaking nonetheless.



While not really common or recommended for snorkelling, simply passing through the careenage in the centre of Bridgetown and spending a few minutes scanning the water usually turns up a turtle or two. They can typically be seen breaking the surface around the buoys and anchorages for the larger boats.

Saving the Hawksbill Turtle

The Hawksbill turtle is a protected species and looked after in Barbados by the Barbados Sea Turtle Project. The project offers a 24 hour hotline to report any turtles that come ashore to lay eggs – this allows the project to cordon off the area so the eggs don’t get trampled and allows them to ensure the safety of the eggs.

The Barbados Sea Turtle Project also schedules periodic releases of hatchlings. These releases are open for attendance to the public and offer a wonderful opportunity for families with children to get up close and assist in the heart-warming release of baby turtles.


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