Watching a turtle lay her eggs at Monterrico should be a memorable experience, but the presence of the local hueveros (egg collectors) may ensure that it’s not. In season, Baule beach is patrolled by sentries scanning the waves for turtles. After a turtle comes ashore and lays its eggs, these poachers delve straight into the nest. Most foreign witnesses are content to take a photo before the turtle claws its way back to the ocean (note that you shouldn’t use flash photography as it can upset and disorient the turtles). Braver souls who have challenged the hueveros have been threatened with machetes.

Officially the taking of eggs is outlawed, but an informal deal has been struck so that out of every clutch of eggs collected, a dozen are donated to the reserve’s turtle hatchery, from where thousands of baby turtles are released each year. This agreement is designed to ease relations between the local community, who sell the eggs for US$2.50 a dozen, and the conservationists. The ethics may be debatable, but some visitors buy entire clutches from hueveros (most of whom are extremely poor) and donate these eggs to the CECON hatchery.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Guatemala features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

That ever-growing travel wish list might be putting some pressure on your pocket – but there are plenty of destinations where you'll get more bang for your b…

11 Oct 2017 • Emma Gibbs camera_alt Gallery
Guatemala City: 7 reasons to stay a while

Guatemala City: 7 reasons to stay a while

Most visitors race through Guatemala City, keen to get to Antigua’s colourful colonial streets, visit the country’s Mayan sites or explore its spectacular v…

12 Jul 2017 • Freya Godfrey insert_drive_file Article
In pictures: traditional dress around the world

In pictures: traditional dress around the world

The Sari, India Ostensibly the simplest item of clothing possible – a single length of fabric, up to nine metres long – the sari is also one of the worl…

02 Feb 2015 • Alice Park camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook