This summer, RED is partnering with Grupo Tortuguero‘s ProCaguama (Operation Loggerhead) to offer the travel experience of a lifetime that makes you part of one of the most exciting and successful sea turtle conservation projects on the planet. Join the ProCaguama team in its effort to rescue endangered loggerhead turtles on the Pacific Coast of the Baja California Peninsula.
Pacific loggerheads nest along the Japanese archipelago and as juveniles some travel thousands of miles to Mexico, confronting threats from both predators and incidental capture in fishing gear. ProCaguama and partners discovered that juvenile loggerheads can spend several decades foraging their way to maturity at a hotspot in the legendarily rich waters of Mexico´s Baja California Peninsula, offering an extraordinary conservation opportunity.
The ProCaguama loggerhead project partners with local fishermen in Magdalena Bay to reduce bycatch, while increasing the sustainability of fisheries and the wellbeing of local communities. ProCaguama works with women and youth, and through outreach, education, and support for sustainable economic alternatives, is gaining ground on recovering this endangered species. This summer join Dr. Hoyt Peckham, Director of Fisheries and Science at Grupo Tortuguero de las Californias and leader of the ProCaguama project, and work alongside his team of scientists (ranging from biologists to economists), fishermen and community members in Magdalena Bay.
You’ll head offshore to capture, study, and release turtles, visit the historic lighthouse of San Lazaro, and participate in the Annual Sea Turtle Festival – a natural and cultural celebration.
Space is limited to 4 participants per trip. Selection is based on a pre-trip application and telephone interview.
What to Expect?
Day 1 - Arrival to Baja California Sur, Mexico Fly into the scenic Bay of La Paz, the scenic capital of Baja California Sur, Mexico, situated on the Gulf of California, described by Jacques Cousteau as the world's aquarium. The ProCaguama team liaison will meet you at the airport or your hotel, and together you will travel overland to Puerto López Mateos (4 hours), on the Pacific Coast, at the North end of majestic Magdalena Bay. Here you will be warmly received by your host family, followed by a welcome dinner at the ProCaguama team house and a presentation on the loggerhead conservation project.
Day 2 - ProCaguama Team Orientation After breakfast, head over to the ProCaguama team house for an intensive orientation on the various aspects of the project, including the dates, times and logistical details, as well as a seminar by ProCaguama Director, Dr. Hoyt Peckham on the science and conservation strategies behind your voluntourism work. Ask all the questions you want, this is your orientation, and don't worry, your curiosity and interest will be expected and welcomed throughout your stay. Today you will also learn about your role, how you are expected to participate, as well as sign up for activities on the team calendar.
Day 3 - 11 Project Immersion Just as you read in the brochure, you will get your feet wet and return home with sand in your shorts as part of the ProCaguama Conservation Team. Your days will be divided between the various projects: Off-shore loggerhead monitoring: Head offshore in ProCaguama's research vessels to help spot and capture endangered loggerhead turtles for ecological research. Once onboard, turtles will be measured, weighed, tagged and given a name. Researchers will collect skin and carapace samples for study in the laboratory. Some turtles will be outfitted with cameras and/or satellite transmitters to elucidate their diet, movement and dive habits.
Beach surveys: Cross the estuary to Magdalena Island and join Don Victor de la Toba on the 45km Beach Safari. Racing the tide, you’ll systematically survey the entire shoreline for stranded animals such as turtles, dolphins and whales. Aside from the pristine beach you will be amazed to see coyotes and ospreys up close. Where the beach ends you’ll ride the 4x4 up breathtaking terrain of an island mountain to arrive at one of the most visually stunning spots on the planet, the Cabo San Lazaro, lighthouse, manned by Victor and his family for generations.
You'll spend the night out at the lighthouse, and in your down time, you can hike down to secluded coves, or spy on the sea lion rookery. Or just kick back on the roof and watch the passing whales and seabirds. Community outreach and 10th Annual Sea Turtle Festival: Support the outreach team in taking the conservation message home, working with local youth and women on educational projects. Your work will culminate in the Sea Turtle Festival, an event filled with music, food, local culture and a celebration of the species that has become a banner for transformational change in communities along this coast. For July dates, you will travel to Puerto San Carlos to represent the ProCaguama team in the Sea Turtle Festival.
For August dates, you will travel up the coast with the team for the festival in San Juanico, where you just may have the chance to try out your surfing skills (San Juanico, also called Scorpion Bay, is world-renowned for its long, easy-to-ride waves).
Team strategy meetings: Strategy meetings make up a dynamic part of the project, where advances and challenges are discussed, and field researchers and community outreach specialists put their heads together to solve complex problems in a constantly changing environment. Sit in and see how the various elements woven together to form ProCaguama, the multi-disciplinary initiative that is addressing the key social and scientific issues vital to saving endangered loggerhead turtles.
In your down time, take a swim in the estuary, or paddle through the mangrove to view spectacular bird life, or, sit back and relax and enjoy your book. As for meals, Magdalena Bay is renowned for its abundant sea food and delectable dishes. Vegetarian and special needs diets can be provided upon request.
Day 12 - Farewell to host family and friends After breakfast, say goodbye to your host family and your new friends on the ProCaguama team, who will accompany you back to La Paz. Your trip has ended, but the memories, experiences and contacts will live on. You are now part of the team! About RED Sustainable Travel The RED Sustainable Travel project was founded in 2009 upon the idea that conservation and socioeconomic well-being go hand in hand.
Since its founding, the RED project has shattered paradigms, changed lives, and created natural resource stewards in rural communities throughout NW Mexico. We are strident in our commitment to local people as the solution to long term environmental conservation issues.
- Program ID: # 2063
- duration: 1 to 2 Weeks
- location: Puerto Lopez Mateos Baja California SurMexico24° 34' 1.5888" N, 111° 55' 43.3596" W
- Fitness level: Light Impact
- Closest Airport:
- Costs From: $1000 to $1500
- Program Type: Community Development ProjectsEnvironmental & Wildlife Programs
- Program Url:
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