Make A Difference

MAKE A DIFFERENCE

SAVING SEA TURTLES

Saving Sea Turtles from Extinction

Sea turtles are amongst the most ancient living creatures on Earth, evolving 150 million years ago. All sea turtles are nowadays endangered. Three of these species still nest on our beach: Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys Olivacea), Leatherback (Dermochelys Coriacea) and Black Turtle (Chelonia mydas agassizii). The threats to sea turtles are natural predators, fishing practices, pollution, beach development and egg poaching.

Adopt sea turtle eggs

A perfect gift for any occasion! Your donation supports sea turtle conservation and monitoring on our nesting beach. With a donation of $25 or more, you will receive a digital certificate of adoption of 12 sea turtles and updates on the nest’s progress. Please contact us with any question or special request.

Donate for sea turtle conservation.

Sea Turtle Nursery

We relocate sea turtles nests to our nursery to protect them from poaching. Each year, between 2000 and 3000 baby turtles are saved in our nursery and released to the ocean. Nesting season spans from July to March. Hatching season is from September to May.

Sea Turtle Scientific Monitoring

We hold a permit from the Nicaraguan Ministry of the Environment to perform scientific monitoring of all sea turtle activity on 1.5 km of beach. Finca Del Mar and Los Cardones Ecolodge provide the space, equipment, funds and 12 staff members to the responsibilities of sea turtle monitoring, conservation and data analysis.

Volunteering for Sea Turtle Conservation

Our guests are welcome to participate in our conservation work during nesting, hatching, exhumation and ocean release. Free sea turtle nursery tours are offered each day and during hatchlings ocean release. We offer biology students a 3 week internship to perform data entry and analysis of our sea turtle monitoring program.

Habitat Conservation

We preserve the natural beach environment for sea turtles: protected areas, low-impact construction, no lights, clean beaches.

OUR SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION EFFORTS

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Los Cardones promotes an entire ecosystem of community development projects. Our guests are encouraged to participate in a wide-variety of projects that benefit the local community.

Health

We are proud founding partners of Salud y Vida Community Health Workshops, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization developed to promote healthy communities in Nicaragua through interactive education with practical and sustainable applications.

Started in 2013, the mission of Salud y Vida is to increase the health education among the medically underserved communities empowering them with the tools to live a healthier life for them and their whole family. The organization is supported by donors, by The Wyoming Surf Club and by the work of our volunteers.

You can Donate here to support Salud y Vida.

We also facilitate health clinics and workshops led by Students from Rutgers University.

Education through Art

We use art as a medium to teach social, cultural and environmental values through free art classes, crafts and workshops. We teach our students about self-esteem, the environment, health issues, children’s rights, and how they can play an active role in the improvement of their community. During this privileged time we practice English skills. Arte Accion has held weekly workshops in primary schools since 2007.

Literacy

We supply the local schools with books, school materials and infrastructure improvements. 2006-now: yearly donations of school supplies in four communities. 2009: start of our mobile library, offering weekly book lending. 2009: Collaboration with Finca Del Mar, S.A. for the construction of a classroom in San Diego 2013: Collaboration with Leaders Today for the construction of a library & learning center in San Diego. The learning center now hosts our collection of 500 books in Spanish and educational games and serves as an additional classroom.

Sponsor local sports teams

Since 2009 we’ve sponsored a variety of local sport teams and encouraged outdoor fitness programs.

Participate!

Our guests are welcome to join us and volunteer at Arte Accion and the lending library. Donations of children books in Spanish and educational games are welcome. School, dental, and art supplies resource the local schools of California, San Diego, San Bartolo and Zapote. Raise awareness in your community.

Economic opportunities

In an area that used to depend solely on sugar cane farming, we generate income and employment. Los Cardones Ecolodge, Finca Del Mar, our construction and tree farm activities employ over 30 local men and women receiving stable, fair wages and professional training. We generate income around us by buying local products (fresh fish, fresh milk, fruits and vegetables, art, jewelry) and supporting local entrepreneurs (transportation, massage therapy, horseback-riding, fishing tours)

TREADING LIGHTLY

Conservation

The pristine beaches of Los Cardones won our hearts in 2001. The vicinity had suffered various levels of land degradation due to deforestation, intensive agriculture and overgrazing. Yet the coastal zone had only recently been impacted with overcutting of vegetation. We felt that the primary coastal forest and mangroves could be restored to their original balance through sustainable tourism. Los Cardones Ecolodge and the Finca del Mar Beach Community span 120 acres, on the beach, of which 44 acres are now preserved for conservation.

Reforestation

Intense efforts of reforestation and habitat regeneration are bearing their fruit. What used to be wide hot areas of bare sand are now shaded by native vegetation. Native grass and cacti stabilize the berm. Flowers, fruit and nut trees sustain insects and wildlife. Iguanas, squirrels, possums, birds can be observed in the forest and the lodge. The mangroves are growing again and providing habitat to migrating and tropical birds, spectacled caimans, crabs, mollusks, and ocean fish offspring.

Low Impact Construction

All construction is designed to blend harmoniously with the existing vegetation and adapt to the sites, without ever removing a tree. We use only local, permitted timber and renewable materials such as driftwood, palm fronds, cane. We employ local craftsmen and local construction techniques, which take advantage of sun, rain and wind patterns for cooling and water drainage.

Low Carbon Footprint

To minimize our impact on climate change, we plant thousands of native trees each year and we use natural gas for cooking and refrigeration. We minimize our energy consumption and use renewable power sources.

Beach Cleanup

Intoxication with trash is a major threat to sea turtles and other marine life. We clean our beaches daily and offer kits for our guests to participate in beach clean-up. We organize wide-scale clean-ups with the children of our communities. All the trash that we collect on the beaches is identified, weighed and reported to the Ocean Conservancy.

Water

Pure ground water is supplied by our own well, fitted with a mechanical pump and a gravity tank. Water conservation is encouraged further by the understanding that the water is pumped manually out of the well.

No contamination

Our compost toilets do not produce sewage and our grey water is filtered through septic tanks. We don’t use toxic materials that could affect health, fauna or flora. All organic refuse is recycled onsite by thermophilic composting. Plastics, metals, glass, paper, cardboard are reused or recycled. We minimize waste by buying from the producers or purchasing in bulk.

RAISING AWARENESS

Environmental Education

We welcome school students from Managua and local villages to our sea turtle nursery. As of 2015, 430 students had participated. Our activities include learning about the characteristics and life of sea turtles, their environment, the dangers they face, what we can do to protect them. Students learn to make a nest for a nursery, to care for the nests until they hatch and to release baby turtles to the ocean. We take the students on the Finca Del Mar trail in the mangroves and teach them about this fragile ecosystem and its precious roles for the health of our beaches. Together, we engage in beach clean-up. Our students return home saying: “Yo no como huevos de tortugas”

Culture

We honor the Nicaraguan culture and support local initiatives for sustainable tourism.

Get Involved

Visit us and be part of our sea turtle conservation efforts. Raise awareness in your community. Purchase apparel made by Fauna and Flora International to support the national campaign against consumption of sea turtle eggs. Help us raise funds to expand our monitoring and convert poachers to conservation!

It was a truly beautiful experience to stay at Los Cardones. The grounds and lodges are kept impeccable. Not once did I see as much as an ant where it was unwelcome.

Our private cabin had an amazing, big veranda with hammocks and comfortable chairs, overlooking the beach. Ceiling fan and a safe, bed with mosquito net was very comfortable. Beautifully decorated and comfortable room and bathroom. We were lulled to sleep by the sounds of the waves every night.

Right from the start the communication with Los Cardones was friendly and professional. We missed one of our flights and arrived one day later than we had booked, no problem, no penalty, our reservation was just pushed one day forward. All the service provided and staff was excellent.

We were picked up from Managua airport by a driver that later in our stay took us out on a day trip to Lagoon de Apoyo and Masaya Volcano National Park, both at a fair price. Meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner were so fresh and good, always served with a smile. We can also recommend the great Nicaraguan coffie, and local beer Tona.

At Los Cardones you can surf, have yoga classes, ride a horse on the beach, or simply just relax and enjoy this beautiful paradise, which is what we did mostly, with massages added. Yes, there is massage service available, and what a massage. My husband is a massage therapist himself and can attest to the professionality of the ladies that treated us, in a open lodge to the sounds of the ocean.

We were so fortunate to discover this wonderfully peaceful paradise, operated in a ecologically way in harmony with nature. Thank you so much Cardones, we look forward to be back. Nicaragua is a beautiful and safe country with friendly people, still without mass tourism. Enjoy it!