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Barbados, Caribbean, Live the photo

Live The Photo: Swimming with Sea Turtles in Bardados

Swimming with Sea Turtles in Barbados


I am not sure when my fascination with sea turtles started….perhaps it was watching Finding Nemo and “Crush”.  I fell in love with these laid back giants and their prehistoric faces.  They are so majestic and graceful as they swim through the water, a laid back attitude that says “yeah, I’m cool.  So!”

Sea turtles are very sociable creatures.  They tend to stay in the same area throughout their life.  At one stage, the sea turtle was on the endangered species list, however conservation efforts around the world have brought them back from the brink.  The fact that they have become such a popular eco-tourism attraction has certainly helped as boatloads of people flock to the sea to swim with the turtles.

Barbados conservation efforts, through the Barbados Sea Turtle Project, started in 1987.  Barbados is currently home to the second-largest hawksbill turtle nesting population in the Wider Caribbean, with up to 500 females nesting per year.  Nesting season occurs on most beaches in Barbados, running from May to October.  The most common types of turtles in the region include the green turtle, hawksbill turtle, leatherback turtle and the loggerhead turtle.

Getting There:

There are many options to get out and swim with the turtles.  Spend a day on a catamaran and enjoy the amazing hospitality of Barbados.  There is a catamaran tour to match any taste from the crowded party boat to the more intimate, smaller tour options.  Many of the day tours also take you to a ship wreck where you can snorkel with the colourful, tropical fish that call the reef home.  Drinks are lunch are generally included, as are hotel pickups…check with your tour operator for specific dietary needs.

I toured with Silver Moon Luxury Catamarans – and they are true to their word…it was a luxury experience.  I felt pampered and had an outstanding experience.  Our group was small.  There were only 8 on board plus 3 amazing crew.  This meant more time with the turtles and less time in the “mosh pit”.  We saw other groups with 20-30 people on board.  I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to navigate amongst so many thrashing legs as I tried to get my photo taken with the turtle.  Thanks to the wonderful crew on board, not only did I get up and personal with the turtles as they mingled with our group, but I managed to get some great photos too!

Useful links:

Tour Operators:

About Anita Mac

The bucket list just keeps growing! The more I cross off - the more exciting new destinations and activities I find! I have been fortunate enough to travel a considerable distance over the years. My love of many things, including travel, cycling, kayaking and photography fit together like hand and glove. I have to keep asking myself....where to next? I am happy to share my travels and photography through my blogs: http://traveldestinationbucketlist.com and http://anitamacphotos.wordpress.com Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! On to the next adventure!


35 thoughts on “Live The Photo: Swimming with Sea Turtles in Bardados

  1. What a Cool Experience – love the photo! Happy Friday:)

    Posted by cravesadventure | December 14, 2012, 12:11 pm
  2. Great photo, I find it’s always hard to get the turtles in the photo the same time as people! I try to get in the water a minimum of once a week with them Hawksbill turtles in Barbados, if you get another chance to go – I wrote an article on the snorkelling spots in Barbados and added some photos I took of the turtles – http://www.barbadospropertysearch.com/articles/2012/11/28/my-favourite-barbados-snorkelling-spots . Might give you more options next time! 🙂

    Posted by Barbados Realtor | December 14, 2012, 3:27 pm
  3. This is awesome! I recently swam with turtles in Maui and was giddy like a teenager. I kept screaming to my husband “there’s a turtle!!! Right here!! Right next to me!!”

    Posted by Annette | December 15, 2012, 12:45 pm
    • I know….we were the same. There were 6 of us travelling together and the excitement levels were so high, I am surprised we didn’t scare them away! The amazing thing was that more and more turtles just kept coming. We had 3 really big ones and a few small guys. They seemed a little more timid, but were right in there with us. It was so amazing. Loved every second of it. Definitely a highlight on the week in Barbados.

      Posted by Anita Mac | December 15, 2012, 3:09 pm
  4. I love sea turtles! Great photo and Barbados sounds like a blast! I have yet to swim with one, but I was so excited when we happened upon a few on the beach last summer. They were so large and beautiful!

    Posted by Jenna Kvidt | December 17, 2012, 10:15 pm
    • They are pretty cool. That is awesome that you happened upon some of the sea turtles on the beach. I have only seen them in the water. Was so impressed by how graceful they were in the water. I would go back and swim with them again if I found myself back in Barbados!

      Posted by Anita Mac | December 18, 2012, 10:26 am
  5. I’m so jealous of this one! …One day!

    Posted by Emma's Bucket List | January 1, 2013, 1:10 pm
  6. Ahh this looks amazing, I’ve seen turtles while diving but I’ve never been that close to them.

    Posted by theambitioustraveler | January 29, 2013, 4:25 am
  7. wow had no idea you could go swimming with sea turtles in barbados! have been there a few times and guess i’ve never stepped out of the bubble I put myself in haha. guess there’s always next time! or in hawaii this summer!

    awesome site- just found it via twitter! 🙂

    Posted by a passion and a passport | February 20, 2013, 7:33 pm
  8. Anita, what an experience for you!

    I’ve only been snorkeling once (in the Philippines) and it was a magical experience. My only regret was that I didn’t have a water-safe camera to capture some of the images.

    Posted by Tricia A. Mitchell | March 7, 2013, 8:16 am
    • I first snorkelled many years ago and have been hooked since! There are so many great new water proof cameras out there – it has made capturing the moments under water so much better! I take it with me every time I snorkel!

      Posted by Anita Mac | March 7, 2013, 8:49 am
  9. Cool you liked it so much! Funny thing is, the turtle on your picture, I recognized it directly as I worked as a turtle feeder and freedive instructor for 2 seasons in Barbados.

    One thing I can advice though the list with tour operators. You went, luckily, with one of the better catamarans. But, almost 90% of those catamarans carry between 40-60 people every trip. The guy I worked for? High service, personal attention, #1 one boat on the south-coast (a small boat, captain & one extra crew member) and a max of 8 persons on a trip. So everybody who’s reading this and thinking about swimming with the green turtles. Check out Cliff Sharker Turtle & Wrecks on TripAdvisor. Maybe something to add to you your list. As this boat goes out at 7am in the morning to beat every other boat and be completely alone!

    Some info, but just giving a good tip! Gonna keep on reading. Greets

    Posted by larszeekaf | May 19, 2013, 9:39 am
    • I agree…I was glad to have taken a tour company that limited the number of people on the boat…worth every cent! I saw another boat pull up as we were leaving and it looked like a mosh pit in there! Smaller groups are my preference for most any tour and especially when dealing with nature.

      Posted by Anita Mac | May 19, 2013, 9:39 pm
  10. I loved being closed to turtles properly in Bora Bora, where the hotel had a turtle sanctuary and we could look after them and feed them every day! I would love to see one snorkeling!

    Posted by Ana Silva O'Reilly (@mrsoaroundworld) | July 30, 2013, 8:32 am
  11. How cool! I’d really love to do something like this…. Maybe when the kids are older. It’s something we can do as a family.

    Posted by Francesca (@WorkMomTravels) | July 31, 2013, 1:17 pm
  12. The coolest thing I have done with a turtle lately is pick up a baby snapping turtle in Wisconsin. When I posted the pic on Instagram I was chastised by someone because the turtle was actually a full grown musk turtle. This picture definitely trumps mine. Great work.

    Posted by Traveling Ted (@travelingted) | August 1, 2013, 11:19 pm
  13. this picture is amazing, anita!! id love to try something like this but truthfull snorkeling/scuba diving/being in the ocean freaks me out. you know, sharks and monsters and the like. i might brave it if i got to swim with a sea turtle though…

    Posted by Lazy Travelers (@lazytravelers) | August 2, 2013, 1:23 pm
  14. What a great picture, Anita!! The turtle is soooo adorable. 🙂 I’ve done snorkeling once, but haven’t swum with turtles. Maybe when I need to put it on my list.

    Posted by Pola (JettingAround) (@jettingaround) | August 2, 2013, 2:22 pm
  15. What a cool experience! I’ve loved turtles all my life, so swimming with them is definitely something I’d want to do. Someday!

    Posted by The World Wanderer (@TheWrldWanderer) | August 3, 2013, 3:10 pm
  16. Too cute! Did you see Nemo? 😉

    Posted by lola dimarco | August 3, 2013, 9:45 pm


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