Zakynthos is also called turtle island for two reasons. First of all the island’s shape resembles a turtle. And secondly, Zakynthos is one of the most important nesting islands of turtles in Greece. Before going there I so badly wanted to see turtles there and I tried desperately. Read on to see if we succeeded and to know where to see turtles in Zakynthos.
There are basically four options to see turtles:
- On a boat tour specialized on turtle observations
- On turtle island Marathonisi
- While snorkeling or diving on the island
- By night when turtles hatch out of their eggs
Please forget immediately number #4: Don’t try to observe turtles at night. This is forbidden and also highly dangerous for the freshly hatched turtles. By nature turtles are born at night and guided by the moon instinctly find their way to the water guided by the moon. If you appear there with your torch or flash of your camera or light of your phone the baby turtles might mix up your light with the light of the moon and run into the wrong direction. And this is what will kill them. As the carretta turtle is a water turtle they only have few seconds to make it to the water, otherwise, they won’t survive. Therefore please, please keep distance to turtle beaches at night in order to protect these animals.
Coming back to the more realistic options of where to see turtles in Zakynthos:
Where to see turtles in Zakynthos: 1) Observe turtles on a boat trip
There are boat trips offered from various beaches in the South around Marathonisi island (turtle island) which promise to find turtles. I think this is a quite comfortable option to see turtles. However, from my very personal point of view, this „hunt“ for turtles can’t be very pleasant for the animals. Or how would you feel if a boat is following you or even swimming above you? I didn’t do this tour so I can’t judge how it is in reality – check tripadvisor for reviews. As I said this is my very personal opinion. On trip advisor, many people tell about a great experience. The best is to make your own choice and experience. Have you been on this tour? Drop me a comment and let me know how it was!
Where to see turtles in Zakynthos: 2) Go to turtle beach
Turtle beach or Marathonisi island is an island just off the coast in the South and as the name says it promises the presence of turtles. However there is no guarantee in seeing turtles there, it is not even very probable, but pure luck. Instead of doing a boat tour around this island, you can actually also book a trip and go to the beach on this island and enjoy an afternoon there. If you are lucky, this is your spot, where to see turtles in Zakynthos.
Where to see turtles in Zakynthos: 3) See turtle by accident while snorkeling or diving
As I mentioned in my insider tips about Zakynthos and also in my article about the best beaches of Zakynthos, there are plenty of bays and beaches with crystal clear water which means the best conditions for snorkeling. The most natural way and a less disruptive way to see turtles is to see them while snorkeling or diving. We were snorkelling a lot but didn’t see turtles.
Gerakas beach is the second most important nesting beach for turtles (the most important one is not accessible). Therefore, following my very personal theory, around this beach must be many turtles as well, as they come here to burry their eggs and as the baby turtles hatch here. But also here it is pure luck to see turtles.
So now you are probably asking yourself if we saw turtles, right?
Well, nope. Unfortunately, we didn’t.
Why are your actually writing this article then? You might ask yourself now 😉 Well, I just want to give you a realistic point of view and don’t overpromise things. The best is, not to expect too much. Don’t go to Zakynthos for the only reason to see turtles. Then you will most likely be disappointed. Go there, enjoy your holidays and in the rare case you see a turtle, be happy about it 🙂
Never stop exploring!