Colola Mexico, Black Turtle Capital of the World

Colola Beach is one of the world’s most extraordinary sea turtle nesting beaches. From a low of 500 nests in 1999, these black turtles (a sub-species of green turtles) have recovered to have more than 70,000 nests in 2021 with more than 5 million hatchlings. The beach is protected by the native Nahua community with support from biologists at the University of Michoacan.

On this trip, you’ll help study these turtles, measuring them, moving their nests, and releasing hatchlings. In past trips, we averaged over 300 nests and 2,000 hatchlings released per night. In between the nesting and hatchlings, we will do a nature walk, visit local handicraft artisans, get a lesson in Mexican cooking, and explore this beautiful stretch of coast. Proceeds from this trip will help save at least 1,000 hatchlings at this beach per person.

Dates: January 13-20, 2024

Price: $1,795 per person, double occupancy. $800 deposit to register.

Includes: In-country transport, meals, lodging, activities, guides, and a donation to turtle conservation.

Excludes: Airfare to Mexico, personal items, and tips.


  • Colola Beach is located in the Michoacan Province, which currently has a US State Department travel warning due to violence in the state. However, the coastal part of the state is safe and is not an area of concern. We will be staying in the coastal area accompanied by our Latin America Director (and Mexico native) Adriana Cortes, along with local residents and a professional driver.

  • The pricing is for double occupancy. There are 4 double rooms with private bathrooms that are first-come, first serve. There are another four rooms with a shared bathroom. Individuals will be paired with others of the same gender.

  • Rooms are equipped with fans and wifi is available in the eating area.

  • Minimum recommended age is 16 years old.

  • Group size is limited to 10 people maximum and a minimum of 6 people are needed to confirm the trip.

  • * Please note: We give 100% refunds on any trips that we need to cancel and our cancellation fees (when travelers need to cancel) can be used on any future trip, no expiration or penalties. See our full terms and conditions here.


  • Register by mail

  • Ask a question




  • All profits support conservation efforts

  • Work directly with local researchers

  • Unique experiences

  • Personalized service


DAY 1: Arrive to Manzanillo

Fly into Manzanillo airport (ZLO), arriving anytime of the day. We will pick you up at the airport and transfer you to the hotel. Dinner will be with the group in town. We will stay at Hotel La Pergola Manzanillo on the ocean (or a similar mid-level hotel). Meals: D.

DAY 2: Turtles, Turtles, Turtles

After breakfast, we will meet our private bus for the 3 hour drive to Colola. Settle into the cabins and meet for an orientation to the research station and learn about these turtles and the work in Colola. In the early evening, we will visit the turtle hatchery to work with hatchlings and learn how this project is integrated with the local community. After dinner, we will go out to the beach to be trained on the research work and conduct some research on turtles nesting in front of the research station. Meals: B, L, D

DAY 3: Ixtapilla & El Faro

This morning, we’ll wake up with a traditional Mexican breakfast. If there are nesting olive ridleys to view, we will visit Ixtapilla Beach, a nesting beach a short drive away. We will be not be in this area around the time the mass nesting known as an “arribada” normally happens though this beach has many nesting turtles even outside the arribada and the olive ridleys sometimes nest during the day, offering great photographic opportunities.

Afterwards, we head to nearby El Faro beach for lunch and an opportunity to swim in the water potentially with black turtles. Take a rest in the late afternoon and then meet at dusk to release more hatchlings and then visit the beach again after dinner. Meals: B, L, D

DAY 4: Maruata & Artisan Visit

After breakfast, we will make the short drive to the nearby town of Maruata. There we will visit local artisans to teach us how they make their various crafts and an opportunity to take home some unique souvenirs. Crafts include painted textiles, ceramics, turtle figurines, water jugs, and more. Next we will have lunch and visit the beach for some swimming and relaxing. Finally, we will visit the spectacular geologic formation on the coast known as “Dedo de Dios” (Finger of God) and explore the gorgeous coastal scenery. Finish the day with our daily hatchling release in the evening and nighttime beach work. Meals: B, L, D

DAY 5: Nature Walk & Swim

Today we start with a guided nature walk to learn about the the area’s medicinal plants and look for wildlife like birds, butterflies, and iguanas. After lunch we will have an option visit to one of the area's great beaches and swim in the bay and then head back to camp for a siesta before the evening’s turtle activities. Meals: B, L, D

DAY 6: Manzanillo

After breakfast, we head back to Manzanillo (3 hour drive). We will have lunch in one of the local restaurants and then free time in the afternoon to hang out on the beach, swim, or go souvenir shopping. Meet up for one last celebratory dinner on the town and head out for a drink afterwards or get a good nights sleep for the journey home. Overnight: Hotel La Pergola Manzanillo. Meals: B, L, D

DAY 7: Depart

Have breakfast at the hotel and then head to the airport in plenty of time to catch your flight home or feel free to explore more of this beautiful part of Mexico! Meals: B

Conservation Impact:

  • Turtle Conservation: $815 of the tour price

  • Local Communities: $270 of the tour price

  • Travel Expenses: $710

    Learn more here



“This adventure for a turtle lover is not to be missed. I intend to return here many, many times.” - Joyce M.


Is This Trip Right For Me?
SEE Turtles offers trips for people with a spirit of adventure. Colola Beach is located in the Michoacan Province, which currently has a US State Department travel warning due to violence in the state. However, the coastal part of the state is safe is not an area of concern. We will be staying in the coastal area accompanied by local residents and a professional driver. The research station is simple but clean and comfortable, with a mix of rooms with private and shared bathrooms. Meals will be simple Mexican staples and dietary restrictions can be accommodated.

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