Panama promotes the Mariato Turtle Ecoroute

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Panama promotes the Mariato Turtle Ecoroute
Source: ATP
Mon August 30, 2021

Per season, these communities receive approximately between 2,000 and 3,000 national and foreign visitors interested in learning about the mystery of sea turtles

This weekend, the Panama Tourism Authority (ATP) inaugurated a tourist information booth, a commitment made by President Laurentino Cortizo Cohen with the town of Mariato, a destination that stands out for its sustainable development with various activities, including which highlights the sighting and conservation of sea turtles.

A group of communicators from the national press accompanied the ATP administrator, Iván Eskildsen, who together with the community showed part of the iconic experiences of the eco-route, in which the sighting of turtles stands out, this is an attractive activity for the entire community. family that generates an injection of money into the local economy and promotes the conservation of endangered species of turtles. In Mariato's case, the Turtle Eco-Route has been organized as a group of community tourism experiences focused on benefiting the locals as much as possible.

Eskildsen noted that “a market of more than 500 million conscious travelers around the world who seek transformative experiences, who are interested in preserving the environment and authentic cultures, has been identified. The sighting of turtles is one of the iconic experiences of Panama that the ATP highlights as part of a transforming vision of tourism in the country, to compete internationally with the best destinations, differentiating our country for its extraordinary biodiversity and ethnodiversity". 

As part of the tour, the achievements of the “Ecoruta de la Tortuga” project of the Agua y Tierra Foundation were presented, highlighting the observation of the spawning and release of turtles, on the Malena and Mata Oscura beaches, in the district of Mariato, province of Veraguas.

The Ecoruta de la Tortuga covers the entire Corregimiento de Quebro, in Mariato, one of the most biodiverse and perhaps little-known destinations in the Pacific coastal area of ​​the Panamanian isthmus. The project is a community tourism initiative in which the communities of Mata Oscura, Russia de Quebro, Higuenoso, Morrillo and Loma de Quebro participate, all actively involved in the conservation and research of sea turtles and the protection of mangroves.

In addition to the sighting of nesting turtles and the possibility of visiting the nest conservation project, the Ecoruta de la Tortuga offers other attractions among which are: tours of agrotourism farms, hiking in mangroves, folk dances, traditional cooking classes and water sports like kayaking and snorkeling. It is also taking a lot of boom in the community of Torio, in Mariato, to launch from a very steep slope with a paraglider (parachute) descending on Torio beach.

“The intention is that this project is increasingly replicated in other sectors. In these communities, whose economy was not based on tourism, it has now begun to become an important activity that generates income in the local community that is gradually recovering from the effects of the pandemic, ”said the marine biologist and president of the Fundación Agua y Tierra, Jacinto Rodríguez.

The conservationist explained that in this community tourism project the issue of research and conservation is also involved. ”We are aligned with the ATP Sustainable Tourism Master Plan in terms of the green, blue and orange economy, and in recent years we have introduced pioneering technology to save nests with the use of drones and heat sensor cameras, that marks with a red circle the exact place where the turtle is nesting on the beach". 

Per season, these communities receive approximately between 2,000 and 3,000 national and foreign visitors interested in learning about the mystery of sea turtles. At night, visitors can see the turtles spawning and the release of the hatchlings in the morning.

The night patrol in the 4.7 kilometers in Mata Oscura beach, the registration of data of the nesting females, the rescue of the nests, watched for two months in a nursery on the grounds of the foundation, which protects them from predators or looters and The scientific study of the births is helping the reproductive cycle of the turtle species that arrive on Panamanian beaches. Since 2011 the foundation has protected and released 120,000 newborns.

We are also working on the environmental education program so that the population, of different generations, understand why they must be protected and thus break the cycle of consumption of turtle meat. On the other hand, the volunteer program that supports conservation and the sustainable management program, seeks for the community to generate income through the conservation of turtles "that is where we have promoted eco-tourism and the Turtle Eco-Route", assured the biologist.

People interested in living this experience can enter the foundation's digital platform:, a window that offers information about turtles and a contact form, through which the programming of the visit, accommodation and tours is coordinated. 


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