A wide, soft sandy beach, warm inviting water it’s no surprise that holidaymakers and turtles alike love Iztuzu Turtle Beach, Dalyan and that it has been voted as one of the top 20 beaches in the world by Tripadvisor!
Iztuzo Turtle Beach is formed from a narrow sand bank which acts as a natural barrier between the fresh water of the Dalyan River and the sea in South West Turkey. Often referred to as Turtle Beach due to it being one of the main breeding grounds for Loggerhead Sea Turtles (Caretta Caretta), the beach forms part of an Environmental Protection Area to ensure a safe breeding ground and nesting habitat for this endangered species.
In order to protect the turtle nests the beach is closed from 8pm to 8am between May and September and volunteers patrol the beach to locate nests and mark with wire cones. They also collect turtles if they hatch and try to make a break for the sea during daylight, as very few would make it. Baby turtles are taken to the Turtle Hospital and released at night, when they have a better chance of survival.
The Turtle Hospital also cares for turtles that have been injured, mostly from boat propellers and for this reason there are calls for cages to cover the blades to protect them. Turtles are encouraged to get close to boats because locals bait them with blue crab, which they love, so tourists can take photos.
You can help the turtles by visiting the hospital to see the work being done by the volunteers and donate to this worthy cause. We were lucky enough to come across a turtle in the sea and swam alongside, they are magnificent creature and this made out holiday!
Speed boats are banned from the Dalyan River, but if you are staying in Dalyan there are boats which take tourists to the beach. We visited in August with temperatures pushing 40 degrees, the sea was very warm, shallow but with rolling waves crashing on the sandy beach. Although backed by pine covered mountains, there is little natural shade on the beach, but you can hire a sunbed and parasol. There are also basic amenities – toilets, showers and a café. Iztuzu Turtle Beach and the Turtle Hospital are a must visit if staying near Dalyan.