Travel Video News explains how visitors to Trinidad and Tobago may have the opportunity to take part in the helping endangered species such as the sea turtle in what is now being called “voluntourism,” or volunteer tourism.
The waves breaking on the beach make the only sound at night above the whisper of volunteers with flashlights watching as five-foot, 800 pound turtles slowly make their way up the shore in Grand Riviere, Trinidad, to lay eggs for what will be the next generation. At one of the most important nesting beaches for leatherback sea turtles in the Caribbean, in Trinidad and Tobago, visitors have the opportunity to get in on the action and take part in the miraculous life-cycle of the endangered species.
“Ensuring that the leatherback turtle population is protected is an important initiative for both our national environmental agencies and the Ministry of Tourism,” according to the Hon. Stephen Cadiz, Minister of Tourism. “Each year, Trinidad and Tobago welcomes visitors from all over the world who are interested in seeing the turtles in their natural habitat as well as the opportunity to aid researchers who are tirelessly working to record data about the turtle population. It is vitally important to the world eco-system and our own tourism that, worldwide, everything is done to protect the endangered turtles.”
Each year from March to September, as many as 12,000 nesting turtles come to the beaches of Trinidad, after traveling thousands of miles, to lay eggs on the beaches where they were born. Initiatives by hotels and local organizations are encouraging both residents and visitors to experience the yearly rituals of the mother turtles and their hatchings, while ensuring that the important nesting sites are not harmed. A way to give back to Mother Nature, those who participate not only aid researchers but are often inspired to become activists for the diminishing world-wide leatherback population.
At Mt. Plaisir Estate Hotel in Trinidad, guests are offered complimentary, guided voluntourism experiences to watch, and possibly assist, the life cycle of these massive, prehistoric creatures. Finalizing renovations to its outdoor terrace, reception area and first floor guest rooms just in time for 2013 season, the Mt. Plaisir Estate Hotel has taken precautions to ensure that the renovations will not affect the beach or the nesting areas.