The Great Race at Playa La Barqueta

Note of apology before I begin: I apparently had a spot on my camera lens and you will see a small spot in the right center of the shots. My dad always used to say, “Nothing is perfect, some things less so than others.”

Playa La Barqueta

What an outstanding day I had today. A friend had notified that there would be another tortoise release at Playa La Barqueta. I drove from David and arrived about I arrived about 3:15PM. The road is pretty good, but in some areas there are still a lot of holes. I thought it was funny that in one of the areas that had a fair amount of holes, I saw this radar sign. Anyone speeding here is on horse, not in a car.
Speed Sign

I asked at one of the restaurants on the beach, if there was a man named Maricial and this young man said that that was he. I told him I had heard that there was going to be a tortoise release today and asked if that was true. He beamed and said it was true and asked if I would be interested in seeing the little tortoises. Of course, I did.

Here is a photo of the container with all of them limbering up for the great race to the sea. There must have been around a hundred. I May have the number wrong, so you count them and let me know the correct number.
Box of turtles

I took a photo of one on the side of the box so you could see a close-up. It is about the size of a silver dollar.
Single Turtle

One of the other observers that had been to the previous release, that I had missed, took me around to where Maricial has his tortoise orchard. He marks off squares and buries the eggs he finds in one of the squares and marks the date on a stick and places it in the square also. He said that about 45-50 days after he buries the eggs, the hatchlings arrive. He keeps them in a container with a little water until they are about 5 days old and then he releases them.
Turtle orchard

Here are a few photos of the race to the sea.

I recorded a short video. (it is about 2.7 meg in size so it might take a while to download)

If you get out to the Playa La Barqueta area, look up Maricial at his restaurant and tell him you saw the event on the Internet and tell him you appreciate what he is doing to conserve this animal. He does this because he is continuing a family tradition of his father and his grandfather.

Maricial was interviewed by one of the local stations and I got this photo of Maricial just as it had completed. That is Maricial just to the cameraman’s left.
Maricial and cameraman

11 thoughts on “The Great Race at Playa La Barqueta

  1. Thanks to John Clement for turning me on to this. I was a peace corps volunteer in Panama from 2004-2006 and had the pleasure of working with Marcial on the turtle project there. So many great memories and it makes me so happy to see the work continuing. Marcial is amazing, I feel honored to know him. If any of you see him tell him Pedro says hi.

  2. I OWN A HOME AND BUSINESS IN THE USA AND I WANTED TO BUY VACATION PROPERTY IN PANAMA. I LEARNED OF YOUR LAW ABOUT USA CITIZENS CAN ONLY STAY IN PANAMA FOR 30 DAYS. IF I BOUGHT PANAMA PROPERTY, HOW COULD I BUILD A HOUSE IN 30 DAYS? AND WHY SHOULD I SPEND ALL THAT MONEY BUILDING A HOUSE WHEN I CAN ONLY VACATION IN PANAMA FOR ONLY 30 DAYS? THIS IS A BAD LAW AND I DON’T THINK THAT I WANT TO BUY PROPERTY IN PANAMA WHEN I CAN ONLY USE IT FOR 30 DAYS.

  3. First, it isn’t my law. I don’t make laws here. I am a US citizen who has retired here as have many US citizens.

    Second, that law was was short lived, and was only intended to be for vacationers and not property owners.. The US no longer has a 30 day limit and I think there are special visas based on people being certain types of property owners.

    You need to research the Panama government site to find out the current requirements.

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