This is How We Accidentally Got to See Baby Sea Turtles

“You should see the baby sea turtles while you visit Ixtapa. It was on my bucket list and it was the first thing we did when we got there,” my friend gushed.

After she told me the price, I was deterred. It would cost a few hundred dollars to do the same sea turtle release event in which she and her family participated. My husband and I talked about it and decided that we’d wait another year. That way, our kids would be another year older and hopefully, they would better remember the incredible thing we’d be doing.

I put the baby sea turtles out of my mind for another year.


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Unwinding in Ixtapa

We chose to stay at an all-inclusive resort during our visit to Ixtapa. That takes the stress off meal times. As parents who wanted to unwind, Ixtapa delivered. We spent our days at the beach or in the pools. I ordered drinks poolside, as if I was a celebrity! There wasn’t an alcohol dispenser in our room, like at our all-inclusive in Jamaica, but that was actually a good thing. I don’t drink very much and I’d be spending all our room time keeping the kids away from it.

The kids slept well every night, which is my dream vacation. They made huge strides in their confidence in water, thanks to pools that were the perfect depth for them, and are now asking for swimming lessons. Yes!

Another awesome coincidence came about that good friends from our neighborhood were also vacationing in Ixtapa at the same and at the same resort. A kid can’t ask for a better vacation. Nor can a parent.

Soaking up the Sunset

“Look at that crowd on the beach,” I said to my husband, while lazily floating in the shallow pool water at dusk.

“Haven’t they ever seen a sunset before?” my husband asked, watching people taking their sunset selfies.

“Maybe not over the ocean,” I said. “It is beautiful.”

“I’m happy to enjoy it from here,” he responded.

If I’d been paying attention, I’d have been out taking sunset selfies.I’d taken a few in Puerto Vallarta, so I guess I was set for awhile.

The Sunset Photo Shoot

“The hotel offers a free photo shoot,” the woman said to us, after approaching us poolside a day or two later.

My ears perked up. Photo shoot? Free? Um. That’s always going to be a yes from me. I take a lot of pictures every day, but selfies just don’t do it for me usually. I love having the memories of family pictures taken by a professional and I even hired a photographer to photograph my extended family at our going away party before moving to Mexico. Yep, it was 100% worth it. I get to be in the pictures with everyone else.

The next day, at sunset, we joined the photographer on the beach for a sunset photo shoot. My kids cooperated for awhile and when they started to get too silly, my neighborhood friend took charge of them. She’d happened to bring her family to the beach… and when my husband and I were done with our photos, she motioned us over.

“They are releasing baby sea turtles,” she told me.

WHAT???? Can this day get any better?!

The only way it would’ve been better is if I’d had my camera. Just like that, I got to enjoy being in the moment.

“Maybe this is what everyone was watching the other day,” my husband said in a hushed tone.

Maybe so.

The baby sea turtles made their way to the water, while a quiet crowd watched in awe. Just as the sun slowly went out of view, the turtles also completed their first trek to the sea. They had so much strength for such tiny creatures. They had so much determination to get to the water, even when a wave would push them several feet back.

“I wish you well, little turtles,” I said, barely audible.


I am the luckiest human in the world, I thought. Even without a photo.

What incredible experiences have you “accidentally” come across in your travels?

11 thoughts on “This is How We Accidentally Got to See Baby Sea Turtles

  1. Lara says:

    Sometimes we just have to live in the moment and not worry about our cameras. What a lovely experience for you and your family and how fantastic that you got a free photoshoot. Even if you don’t have your own photos, no doubt you will remember the day for many years to come when you look at your photos from the shoot.

    • Natalie says:

      Yeah, I ended up buying all of the pictures from the “free” photo shoot. I feel the price was fair, plus I wouldn’t have been down on the beach to see the baby turtles if we hadn’t done it!

  2. Eric Gamble says:

    That is amazing. I am so happy that you got to see them release baby sea turtles even if by total accident. You have me thinking if I have seen anything specific in Nature that happened totally by accident. I have been lucky to see much wildlife in Yellowstone, Banff, Iceland, and other places but Each time I think I was purposefully searching for them. Ugh, now I am going to be thinking about this all day.
    May have to head to Ixtapa and sign up for a free photo with Darcee to get “surprised” by the turtles.

    • Natalie says:

      I have rarely stumbled across anything by accident and I feel so lucky to have seen the baby turtles. I found out that multiple hotels protect turtle nests and release babies in Ixtapa, so it’s a good place to “accidentally” stumble upon the release!

  3. Mark Wyld says:

    Sounds like a great experience and some memories that you will never forget. The turtles would make my kids go crazy they would have loved to have witnessed that especially in a great setting like Mexico

  4. chloe lin says:

    Amazing experience you had! But why you didn’t take camera along? Is it because it’s not allowed to take photos of the turtles? Nevertheless, I think it gives you more moments to enjoy the “now” with the little cuties. I would love to meet them one day too! How expensive is that?

  5. chloe lin says:

    Amazing experience you had! But why you didn’t take camera along? Is it because it’s not allowed to take photos of the turtles? Nevertheless, I think it gives you more moments to enjoy the “now” with the little cuties. I would love to meet them one day too! How expensive is that may i know?

    • Natalie says:

      I didn’t have my camera along because we were doing a photo shoot on the beach. We’d also been in the pool and I’d left my phone safe and dry in our room. The hotel releasing the turtles is “free” for the guests of the hotel (and whomever happens to be on the beach at the time). The turtle release was almost over and if I’d run back to my room to get my camera, I would have missed it! It was our last night at the hotel, so we didn’t have another chance to watch the turtles.

  6. Loredana says:

    What a lovely experience – even without your camera. It looks like this trip was full of great surprises – friends staying at the same resort, the photo shooting opp, seeing the baby sea turtles… I’d love to experience that! I’d also love to have such a string of great surprises in one of my travels 😀

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