It is only 5:40 when my alarm goes off. In a rush, I wake up my girlfriend and grab my bottle of water. Normally I’m not a morning person, but today is different. Today we’re going to release baby turtles. I’m so excited that I almost forget my camera. Some other guests are already waiting at the pool while Rusty, one of the owners, shows up with his happy face and starts to walk towards the turtle hatchery. The 3 owners of The Driftwood Surfer have been talking with passion about their turtle conservation project. In turtle season, which is from September till December, each day one of the owners takes everyone before sunrise to the turtle hatchery. We have to leave this early because most of the baby turtles hatch between 5 and 6 am and of course we don’t want to miss out on such an amazing experience. As we’re walking towards the turtle sanctuary, everyone starts to walk backward. Orange and pink skies rise from the east. Out of the ocean appears the sun. Tens of pelicans are passing by while they use the waves to save energy. The beauty of the early mornings in El Paredon with its alternating sound of the waves breaking on the beach and then a moment of complete silence before the next wave arrives is a dream come true that takes all your worries away. Turtle tracks! Rusty tells that a couple of hours ago, a turtle has laid her eggs right here. It takes a turtle between 2 and 3 hours to lay around 100 eggs and that while doing so, she is completely in trance. Unfortunately, it is legal to poach turtle eggs in Guatemala and the eggs are already gone… A poacher has taken all the eggs as they are seen as aphrodisiac and could be sold on the market. A dozen of eggs costs normally between 1 and 3 dollars. After the sad news, Rusty starts to explain The Driftwood Surfer Conservation Project in more detail. For years they have been buying the eggs back from the poachers and make sure that they end in a safe place: The El Paredon Turtle Hatchery. One of the other guests asks immediately: aren’t you encouraging the poachers to poach more by buying the eggs? While we walk further to the sanctuary Rusty goes on with his story. As long as the law isn’t changing this is the best way of saving the turtles. With the help of donations from tourists and online fundraisers, we have been able to save more than 40 thousand eggs last year alone. All the money went back into the local community which helped them to buy food and school supplies for their children and tourists pay a little money for an unforgettable experience. This way everybody wins.
El Paredon as a solo traveler Sub Heading
Traveling solo can be an exhilarating and rewarding experience, especially when you find yourself in a place as beautiful and welcoming as Guatemala. During my trip to this stunning country, I had the pleasure of visiting the charming surf town of El Paredon, and I couldn\’t have been happier with my decision to stay at The Driftwood Surfer. From the moment I arrived at The Driftwood Surfer, I knew that I had made the right choice. The hostel had a laid-back, friendly vibe, with a cozy beachfront lounge and plenty of hammocks for relaxing in the shade. The staff were incredibly welcoming and helpful, making me feel right at home from the start. I quickly settled into my cozy dorm room, which was just a few steps away from the beach. The sound of the waves crashing against the shore lulled me to sleep each night, and I woke up each morning feeling refreshed and ready for a day of surfing and exploring. One of the best things about The Driftwood Surfer was its rooftop restaurant, which offered stunning views of the ocean and the surrounding jungle. Each morning, I enjoyed a delicious breakfast of fresh fruit and eggs while watching the surfers catching waves in the distance. In the evenings, I loved the all you can eat buffets and sipped on cold beers as the sun set over the ocean. The hostel also offered surfboard rentals, which was perfect for me as a beginner surfer. The staff were happy to offer tips and advice, and I spent many happy hours out in the water, catching waves and feeling the rush of adrenaline. When I wasn\’t surfing, I explored the local area, taking long walks on the beach and the cute town. The locals were incredibly friendly and welcoming, and I loved getting a glimpse into their way of life. As my time at The Driftwood Surfer came to an end, I felt sad to leave such a special place. The memories of the stunning sunsets, the sound of the waves, and the friendly vibes of the hostel will stay with me forever. I knew that I would be back one day, and I couldn\’t wait to experience more of the magic of Guatemala.