Our Story

Welcome to Cayman Turtles. This is the website for the Cayman Turtle Conservation and Education Centre. We are located in the Cayman Islands, on Grand Cayman – the largest of three islands located in the Caribbean. We are the Cayman Island’s Largest Land-Based Attraction, Conservation and Educational Facility. We would love to share a little bit about us.

We Are The Cayman Turtle Center!

The Cayman Turtle Centre (CTC) is the Tourism arm of Cayman Turtle Conservation and Education Centre (CTCEC).  Our tourism arm hosts more than 300,000 visitors each year normally (pre COVID-19).  Our name lets visitors know we are serious about turtles, and there’s a whole lot more to explore and enjoy!

We offer educational, cultural and entertainment programmes that are always being updated to enhance the experiences that can only be found at our world-renowned attraction.  Guests love the once-in-a-lifetime experiences of our sea turtle touch-tanks and for those with more adventurous spirits, they can snorkel with sea turtles in our saltwater lagoon.  How cool is that?  Our saltwater Turtle Lagoon has more than turtles: it’s full of reef fish and sea creatures to entertain guests of all ages!  Once our visitors make their way around the touch tanks, they can enjoy a beverage, snack or lunch at either Schooner’s Bar and Grill or our pool-side bar, Budgies. Kids (and parents) also love our waterslide by the pool and beach area.

But there’s more: birds, butterflies, sharks, our crocodile and even the “Cayman rabbit” – agoutis! That’s just some of the wildlife you’ll find at our Animal Encounters.  Guests can also enjoy a walk down our nature trail and a stroll down our Cayman Street depicting typical Caymanian architecture and front gardens.  Their final stop will be in our Splash Gift Shop, where we have an abundance of options for everyone to choose the perfect gift or souvenir item, including an outstanding selection of authentically Made in Cayman items.

More Than Tourism

The Centre also engages in animal-friendly scientific studies related to sea turtles, marine science and eco-tourism. Conservation, education and research are always at the forefront of our organisation. Over the past 50 years Cayman Turtle Centre has been the leading global turtle recovery innovators, and we continue on this cutting-edge path today.  One of our primary aims is to educate all visitors about turtles in an interactive and engaging environment. They learn about several species of sea turtles and about protecting the ocean and its wildlife.  They also learn about the important role humans have in preserving our oceans through being responsible recyclers and using plastics wisely.  We encourage recycling, eco-friendly tourism and eco-friendly living.  Many visitors leave with a changed heart and mind, informed and motivated to each do their part to protect marine creatures.

Heritage & Culture

We also celebrate our heritage and culture.  We have other exhibits and areas displaying items native to the Cayman Islands providing a place to learn about Caymanian culture and heritage.

Teaching the youth about the importance of preserving our oceans!

Teaching the youth about the importance of preserving our oceans!

Releasing over 32,000 turtles since 1968!

Turtle Releases

One of the most exciting aspects of CTCEC is the Turtle Release programme! We practice a number of conservation methods, which includes various means of releasing Green sea turtles bred and reared right here at the Centre. Since 1968 we have released over 32,000 turtles into the wild. Released turtles include both hatchling turtles and turtles that are between one and two years old (called head-starting). Our translocation programme of relocating eggs from the breeding beach located in the facility and carefully moving them to one of the turtle friendly verified beaches, like world-famous Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman, is a local and visitor favourite. No eggs or turtles are taken from the wild to carry out any of our turtle release programmes.

Head-Started releases is a process undertaken to breed, tag and then release turtles into the wild, after a period of sustained and intensive health and welfare checks. They are called Head-Started because at that age the turtles have grown big enough to escape most predators giving them an exceptional chance of reaching maturity and one day, coming back to our beaches to nest, as proven by two previous generations of turtle releases.

We also release hatchling turtles that are just a day or two old. This is our Jump Start programme. These heart melting cuties get released directly into the deep ocean to swim onto sargassum seaweed patches. This gives the hatchlings a greater advantage for survival because they safely reach their new habitat, having “jumped” over the many hazards and hungry predators in the shoreline shallows and reef environment.  This also saves the baby turtles from having to swim for several days in predator rich open water to find their new homes.

Releasing over 32,000 turtles since 1968!

Amazing Results!

Based on the results of a number of studies, the turtle release programmes have resulted in the growth of the local wild population in the Cayman Islands of the Green sea turtle, going from zero nests in 1999 to over 200 nests in Grand Cayman. Definitive findings were gained from the “living tag” programmes, where the shells of turtles released by the Centre were biologically tagged and then showing up tens of years later completing their life cycle by successfully nesting on Cayman Beaches. We have since gained even stronger evidence of the success of the turtle release program. Just recently researchers in an independent genetic study using DNA discovered that 90% of all green female turtles nesting in Grand Cayman are genetically related to the turtles from the Centre. This is very exciting news and we hope you will share the information with your family, friends and colleagues!

Research

The Cayman Turtle Centre has also provided an invaluable research contribution to scientific study on sea turtles, with the Centre’s turtle population and its experts being involved in numerous research papers on the biology and behaviour of Green sea turtles and other marine biology topics.  Many of these studies have been in collaboration with externally based researchers and academic institutions, and have resulted in over 150 high-quality scholarly publications.

The Centre takes no turtles or eggs from the wild since the original founder stock was collected in the 1970’s, but rather has been uniquely successful in achieving more than two generations of captive breeding and rearing of sea turtles. This was a “first ever in the world”. bred and reared right here at the Centre. Since 1968 we have released over 32,000 turtles into the wild. Released turtles include both hatchling turtles and turtles that are between one and two years old (called head-starting). Our translocation programme of relocating eggs from the breeding beach located in the facility and carefully moving them to one of the turtle friendly verified beaches, like world-famous Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman, is a local and visitor favourite. No eggs or turtles are taken from the wild to carry out any of our turtle release programmes.

90% of the turtles nesting in Grand Cayman are related to our turtles!

90% of the turtles nesting in Grand Cayman are related to our turtles!

Every donation helps

Thank you for contributing to Cayman Turtle Conservation and Education Centre. Saving Tomorrow’s Turtles…Today. Since 1968!

donate now