Desbarras Turtle Watch

Wearing a patient grandmotherly air, she breaks through the surf, heaving her huge bulk across the sand.

Almost like a folkloric character, the female leatherback, returns to the shores where she was born to bury her eggs in the sand, under cover of night.

And you can be a witness to it all during the Turtle Watch at Des Barras.

This is not only an awesome tour, but signing up for it helps one of the biggest sustainable tourism efforts in Saint Lucia.

The Turtle Watch is run by the community of Des Barras (under the umbrella of the Heritage Association of Saint Lucia) and the guides bring lots of insider knowledge to the experience. The food is prepared in the community and the tour itself has a low environmental impact, while developing conservation awareness. So go ahead, pat yourself on the back for choosing it.

The tour is an overnight camping affair and involves a bit of a drive by 4×4 to get to the remote outpost of Grande Anse Bay. Not afflicted by the scourge of overdevelopment, or any development for that matter, the location offers a real taste of untouched Saint Lucia. As you wend your way down the dirt track to the beach, you’ll hear the ocean well before you see it. Grande Anse is a mile-long sandy beach drummed by the Atlantic in one of the most dramatic locales on the island. It is here that the leatherback, the world’s largest reptile, comes to lay her eggs between March and August. Leatherbacks can weigh as much as 1,000 pounds and lay about 500 eggs.

Feel like a kid at a sleepover; there is so much excitement from the novelty, the possibility of a sighting, and just being out in the moonlight overnight. A guide will patrol the beach with the group in shifts through the night, and use flashlight codes to sound the alarm so everyone gets to witness the wonder of a leatherback lumbering home or 60 hatchlings making a break for it.

  • Dress for the elements, it can get a little cool and there is the occasional nuisance of mozzies.

Discuss Desbarras Turtle Watch

  1. February 6, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Hello, we are travelling to St Lucia 29th July for 2 weeks this summer, is it possible to camp/ watch the turtles at this time of year? Thank you

    • March 6, 2013 at 2:58 pm

      Hi Fiona,
      The peak season for turtle watching in St Lucia is usually from May to July. You may just be in luck to see a few turtles!

  2. April 28, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    Hi I am going to be in St Lucia from May 15 to 30th, we have been looking on the net to find out how to book Turtle watching tour, everyone is saying how great it is and i have wanted to do this for SO long, at last we are going to be around in peak season but i cant find a site to BOOK the tour. Any tips gratefully received we will be staying at the Body Holiday resort in the North.


  3. May 10, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Hi, we are coming to St Lucia at the end of May 2013 and we were wondering how we can book this turtle watching tour? We have tried filling out the online form on heritage tours website but the form doesn’t get processed so we have not been able to contact anyone about the turtle watching tour? Any help would be much appreciated as we want to book things up very soon now! Thanks in advance, Sally

  4. July 5, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    we are traveling to st. lucia july 23-30 and would really like to to do the turtle watch. I called Heritage Tours and they are not doing it this year (2013). Any suggestions?

  5. September 23, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    We will be coming to St Lucia and will be there November 1 and wanted to know what the price is for the night turtle watch.


    • September 24, 2014 at 12:03 pm

      Hi Jennifer,

      The cost is usually $50EC per person.

  6. February 4, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Hi, My name is Michael Hess and my fiance and I are honeymooning in St. Lucia in May of this year. I was wondering if you do the tour without the overnight camping component?

    If you do, what time would my fiance and I be able to come to enjoy this as this is on our list of events!! THank you so much and we look forward to hearing from you!

  7. March 7, 2015 at 11:32 am

    I am in the same boat — dont want to do overnight camping due to mobility issues but would like to see….can we go to hang out and of so what time? Is this a location we could find on our own with a vehicle?

  8. April 21, 2015 at 10:38 am

    Hi, could you please provide a response to the above mentioned questions? A few people seem to be responding to whether the overnight part of the trip is a necessity. Thank you!

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