Turtle Release, Puerto Escondido

Playa Bacocho Turtle Release Tips

by Alicia Butler, July 11, 2023

turtle release puerto escondido
Alicia Butler

Alicia Butler is a full-time traveler and freelance writer. She started traveling full time back in 2018, before it was cool to do so. 

She was an NYC tour guide for eight years, so she can tell you all the best places to eat pizza, bagels, and falafel — as well as what to pack and what to leave home.

One of the most popular activities at Playa Bacocho is the turtle release, Puerto Escondido.

Learn about local conservation efforts and walk a baby turtle from its nest on the beach to the ocean in a once-in-a-lifetime experience (sort of).

Find out if the Playa Bacocho turtle release experience is “worth it” and if you even need to book an excursion to take part in it. Also, find out what else there is to do in Puerto Escondido and Playa Bacocho, other than releasing turtles into their natural habitats.

This post may contain affiliate links, so if you buy something after clicking on a link, I might (fingers crossed!) just get a little commission. Good news: I only recommend products that I love! Which means you can feel good about all of my recs.

What is the Playa Bacocho turtle release?

This Puerto Escondido turtle release happens on Playa Bacocho once a day. 

Turtles hatch their eggs on the beach, and travelers (such as yourself) help these baby turtles find their way to the water by carrying them in shells. 

Is this a bit of a gimmick? Sort of. Do baby turtles really need us humans to help them find their ways to water? Probably not. Though, the organization that runs the Playa Bacocho turtle release uses the money collected from admission to help preserve the area. 

This turtle release is also a way for the organization, Vivemar, to help spread the word about its conservation efforts. 

Is it OK to touch baby turtles?

Nope! You can’t touch the turtles. 

That’s why you’ll exchange 150 MXN pesos for a shell to carry your turtle to the ocean. 

There’s a lot of discussion as to whether or not you should even carry baby turtles to the water (as opposed to allowing the turtles to find their own way in the sand). In the state of Florida, it’s actually illegal to carry baby turtles to the water, as experts say that doing so could prevent the turtle from imprinting on the sand and finding its way back to the beach.

So why take part in a turtle release in Playa Bacocho? 

Really, it’s to raise money for Vivemar. According to the organization, its efforts are needed to ensure the turtles’ safe transit to the water, thanks to climate change, turtle egg harvesters, and overtourism. 

Do I need to sign up for a Playa Bacocho turtle release tour?

There’s no need to sign up for a Playa Bacocho turtle release tour to take part in this experience.

All you need to do is show up on Playa Bacocho at the turtle release booth before 5 p.m. to get in line.

There are tours that are available, though these are a little overpriced and don’t offer anything “extra” for that cost. 

Instead, just walk or take a taxi (or DiDi) to the Playa Bacocho turtle release. If you’re staying near Playa Bacocho, it’ll be around a 10-minute walk to get to the turtle release booth. If you’re staying near one of the other Puerto Escondido beaches, like Playa Zicatela, a taxi should cost less than $5 USD. 

There are Playa Bacocho turtle release tours that are available, though these are a little overpriced and don’t offer anything “extra” for that cost. 

When does the baby turtle release happen?

The turtle release in Puerto Escondido happens every day, starting at 5 p.m. (though, this is the start time of the experience).

It takes up to an hour for the presentation and then for everyone to release their turtles into the ocean. 

This experience happens daily, year round. 

Getting to Playa Bacocho

No matter where you’re staying in Puerto Escondido, getting to the Playa Bacocho turtle release area is relatively easy!

If you’re staying in the Playa Bacocho area, you can probably just walk to the booth. It’s marked on Google Maps and is easy to find on your own.

Not staying near Playa Bacocho? It may just be easier to take a taxi. 

The good news is that taxis are relatively cheap in Puerto Escondido, and the total cost should only be around $5 USD from most of the nearby beach areas. 

I recommend downloading the DiDi app to make things easier on yourself. 

DiDi simply contacts local, verified taxi drivers for you. Choose between paying cash or using a credit card. 

Best Time of Year for Puerto Escondido Turtle Release

The Puerto Escondido turtle release is available year round, but the “best” time to take part is generally considered between October and March.

During these months, you’ll release green turtles, hawksbill, and leatherback turtles. Are these turtles “better” or at the least more “special”? Heck if I’d know, but I sincerely doubt it.

At the end of the day, the peak season to visit most of Mexico sits between November and March. Read: the busiest times.

If you visit between these months, you’re going to want to arrive earlier, simply because it will be more crowded. 

My advice? Don’t make a trip specifically to Puerto Escondido between October and March just for the turtle release. It’s probably not worth it. 

Playa Bacocho Turtle Release Tips

Wanting to do a turtle release, Puerto Escondido? Here are a few tips to ensure your expectations match your reality. 

Arrive Early

If you’re planning on doing the turtle release between October and March, make sure you arrive early to secure your spot. 

You’re going to want to arrive at least 10 minutes before 5 p.m., regardless of the time of year you visit. 

If you’re planning on doing a “beach day” while you’re in Puerto Escondido, I recommend getting a day pass to the Playa Villasol Beach Club. The club opens at 10 a.m., and you can spend the day chilling at the pool (or right on the beach), drinking beers or cocktails, and enjoying the beach bar or restaurant. 

When 4:30 p.m. rolls around, take a quick shower and start making your way over to the Playa Bacocho turtle release booth. 

Bring Cash

The cost of the turtle release, Puerto Escondido, is 150 MXN pesos (around $7 USD, give or take). You’ll need to pay that in cash.

Since there are no ATMs nearby, you’ll want to bring cash with you. 

You’ll also want to bring cash for a taxi to get back up the hill (especially if you’re visiting Puerto Escondido during the hot season in the summer). Getting down the hill on foot is no big deal, but walking back up is a b*tch. 

Have Patience

Depending on the time of year you visit, you may need to wait a scotch to get your turtle and release it into the ocean.


During peak season, lines can get pretty long; you may need to wait up to an hour (or longer) to get to the water. 

There is also a talk and demonstration before the actual turtle release, where experts from the local non-profit explain the conservation efforts. 

Because of all this, the Playa Bacocho turtle release isn’t simple “in-and-out” experience. Since it takes place around the dinner hours, you may want to make plans for dinner at nearby Pez Gallo before or after the release. 

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More Playa Bacocho Activities

Playa Bacocho is one of the beaches closest to the Puerto Escondido airport. It’s also one of the beaches that offers plenty of rest and relaxation activities.

The waves at this beach are big enough to offer a little lift — but they’re not so intense that you need to worry about undertows in good weather.

You can get day passes in Puerto Escondido for many of the city’s beaches.

I stayed at an Airbnb on the Hotel Villasol grounds, and so I was granted access to the hotel’s beach club.

There are technically two beach clubs at Playa Bacocho and both are operated by local hotels. If you’re not staying at Hotel Villasol or Posada Real Puerto Escondido, you can purchase a day pass to use the facilities.

Day passes to Club de Playa Villasol cost 300 MXN, and that money can be used toward food and drink at the club.

There is table service at the pool and on the beach. Happy hour is from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., and certain drinks (vodka tonics and pina coladas) are two-for-one. 

I spent nearly every morning and early afternoon at the Club de Playa Villasol and found it was time well spent. There is also an onsite restaurant (Pez Gallo), tennis, and a spa. 

Though the beach club closes at 6 p.m., Pez Gallo is open until 10 p.m. 

If you’re planning Oaxaca solo travel, I recommend spending a day (or seven) at this beach club. I felt totally safe hanging out here solo all day, the staff was extremely friendly, and the waves weren’t so strong that I was ever worried about the undertow. 

More Puerto Escondido Activities

The Playa Bacocho turtle release is just one small activity available in Puerto Escondido. (And really, it only takes about an hour.) 

If you’re planning on heading to the shores of Oaxaca, there are a few other activities that are worth your time here, too, including surfing, horseback riding, food tours, and more. 


First and foremost, Puerto Escondido is home to a huge surfing community. Surfers (and spectators) come from all over North America for Puerto Escondido’s waves. 

You’ll find plenty of opportunities to surf here. And if you don’t know how? There are several surf schools in Puerto Escondido, whose teachers are more than happy to show you how to at least stand upright on your board. 

Bioluminescent Swim

Another one of the most popular activities in Puerto Escondido is a nighttime bioluminescent boat ride.

Hire a boat to take you to a bioluminescent lagoon. The best time to visit this lagoon to see the bioluminescent plankton is between July and September, though you’ll still be able to witness the glow throughout most of the year. 

Though you’re more than welcome to swim in the lagoon (and many locals and visitors do), there are crocodiles that also swim in these waters. The general consensus? No one (that we know of) has been attacked by a crocodile thus far on such an experience. 

Evidently, swimming in bioluminescent waters is a pretty trippy experience; yet, there is also some question as to whether or not it’s an ethical one. Just by submerging oneself in water where bioluminescent plankton lives can essentially alter the pH balance of the water and destroy it.

Food Tours

On that fun note! A nearly total ethical experience to book in Puerto Escondido is a food tour!

You’ll find food experiences all over Puerto Escondido that will expose you to some of the Oaxaca region’s most popular dishes. 

Since I’ve taken food tours in Oaxaca City and Mexico City, I didn’t opt to do one in Puerto Escondido, too. But if you’re not planning on visiting some of Mexico’s more food-focused cities on your trip here, I recommend taking a food tour to get a little bit of background about the area’s rich food scene. 

Horseback Riding

Puerto Escondido activities generally revolve around nature. What better way to enjoy the beach (especially if you’re not into surfing) than on horseback?

Live out your Fabio fantasies on a guided horseback riding tour of some of Puerto Escondido’s most stunning natural landscapes. 

Coworking in Puerto Escondido

There are a few coliving and coworking spots, like Selina, nearby if you’re planning on working while you’re here. These spaces are geared toward surfers that need to work remotely while they’re chasing waves. 

Though there aren’t as many spots here as there are for coliving in Mexico City, you shouldn’t have any issues finding your coworking tribe here. 

Temazcal Ceremony

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Though Temazcal ceremonies have become popular tourist activities over the past decade in Mexico, these ancestral shamanic rituals have been practiced for centuries.

Ceremonies vary throughout different regions of Mexico.

Take part in one in Tulum to exercise your corporal form of negative spirits, or simply cleanse your body of toxins with one in Oaxaca. 

Have you experienced the turtle release, Puerto Escondido? What did you think of it? What are your favorite activities in Oaxaca? Let me know in the comments!