Sri Lanka is globally recognised as one of the few places in the world where you can observe marine turtles in their natural habitat. Five out of seven of the world’s marine turtle species are found in Sri Lanka and come ashore in Rekawa to lay eggs, including green, loggerhead, hawksbill, olive ridley and leatherback.
The Rekawa Turtle Watch is a marine turtle conservation project which aims to protect the turtles’ nesting sites and ensure that the eggs can hatch safely. Visitors can go on ‘turtle watch’ any evening of the year, where the volunteers from the centre lead groups to the beach between 8:30pm and 11:30pm where you can watch the turtles laying eggs or returning to the sea. Waiting for turtles to appear can take a couple of hours, so patience is required. During the high season (April – July), 5-15 turtles appear each night, whereas during the low season (October – January) it is approximately 1-2. There is no guarantee that you will see a turtle, although sightings occur most nights of the year.
The centre have very strict rules about not disturbing the turtles and visitors should be aware that flash photography and white/yellow torches are not allowed. If no turtles are on the beach, visitors will wait in the centre until one appears. If no turtles are seen, the cost of the ticket can be refunded, but the centre is non-funded and so donations are welcome. Booking in advance is not necessary.