Tour Cost: From USD $205
Group Size: Maximum group size is 10; overall tourist volume is restricted to limit impacts on turtle habitat
Difficulty Level: Relatively easy travel with homestay-style accommodation.
Recommended for: enthusiastic naturalists who are concerned with marine conservation.
Departures: A visit to Galibi can be added on to almost any Suriname itinerary and is an excellent segue to a French Guiana extension.
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The best time to view giant Leatherback turtles is from April to August. The turtles generally nest from April to July and their eggs hatch from July to August. Galibi is an excellent jumping-off point to explore French Guiana, and we're happy to help you extend your Suriname journey into Europe's South American outpost!
The daily programme varies depending on participant interest, group size, weather, river conditions, and village activities. Most tours will resemble - but not exactly match - the general programme described here. Personalized or privately guided tours may be arranged on-site, sometimes at extra cost. Tour cost may vary from the standard price due to trip variations and group size. All tours can be customized to meet your specific needs - call, email, or web chat us for more info!
Every Wilderness Explorers client gains access to an exclusive trip-preparation website full of packing tips, reading guides, multimedia tours and an endless supply of practical advice to make sure you are prepared for the journey of a lifetime.
Sea Turtles at Galibi
Day 1 - Drive to Gallibi, night time turtle observation
Early morning departure from central Paramaribo to Christiaankondre and Langamankondre, in the area known as Galibi. These are two traditional Amerindian villages located next to each other along the Marowijne river at the mouth of the Atlantic Ocean. Both villages have a sandy beach, which is ideal for long strolls. These villages were formed after the period of slavery and they extended to rather large Amerindian villages with a population of approximately 750 inhabitants. The most important means of life for the local people is fishing. Wanshishia (Marijkedorp) is an nearby village with dominantly Arowak people which plays an important role in the illegal trafficking of sea turtle eggs. Educating schoolchildren of this village has been an important strategy to influence positive attitudes regarding sea turtle conservation, and tours to Galibi contribute towards this important education program.
In the sea-turtle season, from February to August, you will visit the breeding places where the gigantic sea turtles come each year to lay their eggs. A typical visit takes place from 9pm to 1am and involves sitting in a shielded area on the beach waiting for turtles to emerge from the sea.
Suriname with its 200 miles of Caribean beach - along with neighboring French Guiana - have the largest leatherback turtle nesting population in the Western Atlantic, representing 40% of the world leatherback population. The estimated number of nesting leatherbacks is from 1545 to 5500 females in Suriname. In 2001, 30,000 nests were counted. Green, olive ridley and hawksbill turtles also nest on the beaches.
Although all four species have been protected by law since 1954, a small legal harvest of leatherback eggs and green turtle eggs is allowed. With the lack of economic opportunities many local people have turned to poaching sea turtle eggs to be sold in nearby markets. As poaching continues, its negative effects on present and future nesting populations is becoming more evident. Surinam Foundation for Nature Preservation (STINASU) is responsible for managing the Galibi Nature Reserve in Suriname. To address current threats to sea turtles and build capacity of the field staff and indigenous population, Oceanic Society is assisting STINASU with training, building awareness, and fostering alternative ecologically sustainable livelihoods. Our group will meet with representatives of both STINASU and the Oceanic Society, as well as researchers from the World Wildlife Fund and Conservation International who may be on site at the time of our visit.
Local scientists are updating local research techniques and standardizing data collection procedures to tie in with current regional and global research objectives and methodologies. Their ultimate goal is to reduce sea turtle egg poaching and increase hatching success. To do this, oceanic Society is training STINASU field staff and local community tour guides and operators in the scientific aspects of sea turtle biology, ecology, data collection and analysis. This effort has succeeded in facilitating dialogue about the challenges of sea turtle conservation and opportunities for increasing local benefits through alternative sustainable livelihoods. (L,D)
Overnight accommodation at Christiaankondre
Day 2 - Extended stay at Gallibi, or return to Paramaribo
Mid-morning return to Paramaribo, or extended stay to continue observing local wildlife. Those traveling to French Guiana will travel by road or boat to Albina to complete Customs formalities before crossing the Moroni River to St. Laurent. (B)