4 Best Places to Swim With Turtles in 2022

Turtles are so special to see in the wild; The way they glide through the water, their relaxed temperament, and the gorgeous colors of their shells. It really is a treat to swim alongside one. If you would like to swim with turtles in the wild this year, we have put together our four favorite places where you can do just that. Read on to find out where to swim with turtles in 2022, how to do so responsibly, and learn some interesting turtle facts.

Turtley awesome facts

Here are a few fascinating turtle facts before we get started:

  • Turtles are as old as dinosaurs; around 200 million years!
  • A turtle’s shell is used to protect them from predators, it is made from bony cartilage, and individual turtles can be recognised by their unique shell.
  • A turtle’s shell can hold up to 200 times its own weight.
  • The shell grows with the turtle, and it is impossible for them to come out of the shell, or to outgrow it.
  • The oldest turtle that has been recorded lived to be 188 years old.
  • There are seven species of marine turtles: green, leatherback, hawksbill, olive ridley, flatback, kemp’s ridley, and loggerhead.
  • Instead of teeth, turtles have a beak-like mouth.
  • The largest turtle that has been recorded measured 2.5m from flipper to flipper, and weighed over 900kg
  • Only around 1 in 1000 turtle hatchlings make it to adulthood

Here are our 4 best places to swim with turtles:


Turtles can be found in the European country of Cyprus. Cyprus sits in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, just south of Turkey, and boasts clear, blue waters.

Every year tourists flock to Cyprus to enjoy its sandy beaches, exciting nightlife, and crystal clear waters. Although the Mediterranean does not offer the vibrant selection of corals that can be found in other seas, it still has a lot to offer divers and snorkelers, with wreck diving, excellent visibility, green turtles, and huge loggerhead turtles all to be enjoyed.

One area in Cyprus where turtles can be found is Larnaca. Home to the famous Zenobia shipwreck, turtles are often found cruising around in this area regularly. Another place you are very likely to see turtles is Protaras; an area of Cyprus that is perfect for beginner divers, snorkelers, and swimmers hoping to spot turtles in shallow, calm waters.

The best time to visit Cyprus is between May and October, when the sea is nice and warm.

2. Indonesia

Turtles can be seen in many parts of the south-easten country of Indonesia, especially around Bali, Raja Ampat, and in the Gili Islands. Species including green, leatherback, flatback, hawksbill, and olive ridley turtles can all be found.

Indonesia is a popular tourist destination due to its warm weather, delicious food, friendly people, and exceptional diving and snorkeling. As well as turtles, divers can enjoy shipwrecks, pristine coral reefs, and great macro life.

Indonesia can be visited year-round as temperatures remain high, even through the wet season and it never rains for long before the sun comes back out.

3. Hawaii

There are three types of turtles that are native to Hawaiian waters: leatherback, green, and hawksbill, with the green turtles being the most common.

The Hawaiian archipelago is made up of eight major islands, Hawaii being the biggest. Hawaii is a popular tourist destination that offers accommodation of various price ranges, and many water based activities, including diving and snorkeling. Laniakea Beach is the best place in Hawaii to see turtles. The beach is nicknamed "turtle beach" as so many turtles can be seen basking on the shore, and you can swim alongside them in the shallows.

The best time to go to Hawaii to try to see turtles is in the summertime, when the turtles enjoy calm waters and hot sunshine (just like we do).

4. Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a country in Central America that is home to four types of turtles, the most common being the olive ridley turtle.

Costa Rica delivers sublime beaches, incredibly diverse wildlife, and alluring sea life. The best place to find turtles in Costa Rica is Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas; a national park where leatherback turtles go to nest. Green turtles can also be found nesting at Tortuguero National Park on the northern Caribbean coast.

If you would like to see the leatherbacks nesting, the best time to visit Costa Rica is between October and March. The best time to see the green turtles nesting is between July to October. It is truly a very special experience.

How to swim responsibly with turtles

Most species of turtles around the world are endangered. It is so important to respect turtles, and to give them their space so that they can feel safe and relaxed. Here are a few tips for responsible swimming with turtles:

  • Do not touch:It is a bad idea to touch any form of sea life when you are swimming, snorkeling, or diving. Not only can touching marine life potentially cause them harm due to damaging oils on our fingers, but it can also invite aggressive behavior from the animal, meaning you are putting your own health and wellbeing at risk, too. Turtles are not naturally aggressive and will usually swim away if you get too close for comfort, but they could bite if they feel threatened.
  • Keep a respectful distance:Think about it, you are sitting at home, eating your dinner or reading a book, and some giant creature comes and gets in your personal space… you would not be happy right? It is no different with animals. They are in their home and we need to give them space. Watch from a distance and let them stay relaxed.
  • Do not swim directly above them:Turtles can hold their breath for up to thirty minutes, but eventually they do need to come to the surface to take a breath. They might feel unable to do so if there are swimmers directly above them. Keep this in mind when swimming and snorkeling with turtles, try to watch them from a side view.
  • Lead by example:If you see other swimmers, snorkelers, or divers harassing, touching, or hurting turtles (or any marine life) tell them to stop if you feel all right to do so, if not, report the incident to a local dive center, lifeguard, or turtle welfare organization in the area. Always follow these rules and encourage others to do the same.

Would you like to learn more about turtles? Check out the SSI Sea Turtle Ecology Specialty.