Exuma has tons of local wildlife, and the even better news is that most of these creatures are used to being around people so they’re down for you to interact with them and take pictures. There’s swimming pigs, grape-loving iguanas, and friendly sharks. But one lesser-known animal of Exuma is the sea turtle.
There are a few locations in the Exuma Cays where you can swim with wild sea turtles. To make the most of your trip, here are some tips.
1. There Are Multiple Places To See Them
There are a few places in Exuma where you can see wild sea turtles. The most common place people go is Hooper’s Bay. Hooper’s Bay has an amazing beach and it’s not that far from the capital, George Town. Turtles can also be found near Crab Cay, but the water is deeper and murkier there and some people find the turtles to be more aggressive there than at Hooper’s Bay.
2. You Can Feed Them
Yes, you can feed these adorable creatures. Please be kind to the local wildlife though and only feed them appropriate food. We recommend buying some frozen squid in George Town to feed them. You can feed them with your hand, but try to keep your hands, and especially your fingers, out of their mouths, because they often mistake them for food!
3. They Do Bite
These are wild animals, and they have been known to bite people swimming near them and feeding them. The bites aren’t typically hard, more of a nib than anything. Try to avoid placing your fingers or toes in their mouths though. The good news is that the turtles are used to being fed and interacting with humans, so they don’t bite often. Just something to look out for!
4. There Might Not Be A Ton
When you visit other animals on Exuma, like the pigs, iguanas, or sharks, you may be surprised by just how many there are. Don’t necessarily expect that when visiting the turtles though. There is usually a decent amount, but there won’t be an entire swarm of them.
5. They’re A Protected Species
Exuma works hard to protect their local wildlife. The chain of islands was even home to the first marine wildlife protection park, Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. There are a number of protected species on the islands, including the sea turtles. That means if you’re seen abusing or harming the animals in any way legal action can be taken against you. So be nice, and respect nature and the local rules.
6. You May Want To Hire A Tour Guide
If you really want to see the turtles, it might be a good idea to hire a local tour guide. There are tons of options out there, each offering different packages and destinations. A local guide can take you to all the must-see spots. They also know the best places and times to find the turtles.
7. Have Your Camera Ready
Whether you’re just swimming or fully snorkeling, make sure you have your camera ready for some pictures. The turtles are used to humans being around, which means they won’t swim away when you get close. They allow you to get pretty close to them to snap some pictures. Invest in a good camera, especially one that can go underwater, to get some awesome shots!
The local sea turtles are a must see. Where else can you swim so close to these wild animals? Keep your fingers in check, bring some squid, and get ready to take some amazing photos! Just be sure that you respect these animals and the surrounding environment.