Turtle gazing ought to be high on the list of any animal-lover. These luxury holiday locations offer class, comfort and the chance to spot some of the world’s most majestic marine-dwellers.
1. Heron Island, Australia
90km off the coast of Queensland, Heron Island is at the heart of the Great Barrier Reef where a myriad of brightly-coloured coral and marine life awaits. From September to March each year, Heron Island is the breeding home for Loggerhead and Green sea turtles who return to lay their eggs some three decades after they were hatched.
The Heron Bay Resort boasts a diverse range of rooms, from the aptly named Turtle Room nestled into the Pisona Forest, to the exclusive Beach House – a freestanding building with a spacious terrace and direct beach access.
2. Turtle Island, Fiji
This privately owned island is an exquisite South Pacific jewel, which plays home to only 14 couples at a time. The breathtaking panoramas of the renowned Blue Lagoon and neighboring Yasawa Islands can be admired from spacious eco-friendly villas, some of which even have private villas. The island has its own turtle preservation program which even gives guests the opportunity to adopt an endangered turtle. Call 1800 255 4347 for prices and enquiries, or visit turtlefiji.com
3. Playa Grande, Costa Rica
Playa Grande has long been one of the principle nesting beaches for the Giant Leatherback sea turtle – the world’s largest marine reptile. It’s also deemed by many to be Costa Rica’s greatest surf spot.
Conveniently positioned in the centre of Playa Grande, and just steps from one of Costa Rica’s most consistent surf breaks, Hotel Las Tortugas is one of the only beach front hotels in the area. When you’re not turtle spotting or surfing, you can while away the hours in their pool, Jacuzzi, gardens or open-air bar.
4. Turtle Island Park, Borneo
This wildlife park is a safe haven for the endangered Green and Hawksbill turtles and it gives visitors the rare opportunity to watch turtle landings and hatchings. Selingan, the largest of the islands, houses the park’s headquarters, a turtle hatchery, tourist accommodation and basic facilities.
Get off the island for the luxury lifestyle and head to nearby Sabah. Bunga Raya is a boutique hotel and spa situated on the tropical island paradise of Gaya. Its villas are tranquil enclaves of simple luxury from which you can step directly onto the beach or into the jungle.
5. Le Meridien Bora Bora
Guests at Le Meridien Bora Bora can swim with endangered turtles in the resort’s private lagoon. Le Meridien have their own turtle sanctuary for green turtles and a team including marine biologists are on hand to nurture these beautiful animals.
The Bora Bora Turtle Centre is located in the resort’s private lagoon and remains unique in its conception and location. This project originated when an injured turtle was brought by a guest to the hotel as it needed care. From there a fabulous project was born: the creation of a centre which would protect and care for the turtles.