One of the main reasons people visit Con Dao is for the opportunity to witness sea turtles. The Con Dao National Park offers various turtle tours, including egg layout and baby turtle hatching in summer.
There are 14 sea turtle species in the Con Dao archipelago, including the Hawksbill sea turtle, Green turtle, and leatherback turtle.
Nesting and tours occur on Bảy Cạnh Island (Bay Canh Island), the second largest island in the Con Dao archipelago.
With egg-laying taking place late at night and hatching early in the morning, turtle tours are usually 2 days/1 night, including camping at the ranger station on Bay Canh Island.
Con Dao Turtle Itinerary - Day 1
A shuttle takes you from your hotel to Con Dao harbor for the boat to Bay Canh.
After 30 minutes, you arrive at Bo Dap on Bay Canh Island. The tour provides you with snorkeling gear so you can explore the abundant marine life and coral reefs around Bo Dap.
After snorkeling, you hike through a mangrove forest to the Bay Canh Island ranger station, where you relax for the evening and enjoy dinner.
After dinner, between 6 - 8 pm, the rangers take you to forage for large tank crabs belonging to the Gecarcinidae crab family.
After learning about the crabs, you head to the beach for a short lecture about Con Dao's sea turtle species, including rules for watching and interacting with these beautiful reptiles.
Then, you wait! And you could end up staying up late into the evening or early hours of the morning. Rangers monitor the beach, waiting for a turtle/s to come ashore and begin laying eggs.
If you're lucky enough to see a turtle lay eggs, you head off to bed for a few hours of sleep.
You're woken up just before sunrise to head back to the beach to release baby turtles. Con Dao National Park manages the turtle's eggs' incubation to ensure the hatchlings have the best chance of survival.
Hatchlings are gathered from their nests and delivered to the shoreline in small baskets. In some cases, guests are allowed to release the hatchlings themselves.
It's beautiful to see the baby turtles head into the water for the first time, especially knowing that the female hatchlings will return to the same beach to lay their eggs in the years to come.
After seeing the baby turtles off on their life's adventure, you have breakfast and coffee at the ranger station before heading back to Con Dao harbor.
Turtle Tour Cost
The overnight turtle tour costs 2.1 million VND per person for a group of 2-6 people. You also have the option of a private solo tour for 4.5 million VND.
Included in the Tour
- Transfer from your hotel to Con Dao harbor
- Return boat ride to Bay Banh Island
- English speaking guide
- Dorm room accommodation at Bay Banh Ranger Station
- National park fees
- Day 1 dinner + day 2 breakfast
- Snorkeling equipment
- 4 bottles of mineral water per person
- Travel Insurance
There are other multi-night tours available which you can book through Con Dao Eco-Tourism.
Due to the limited capacity for tours, I recommend booking your turtle tour in advance.