Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New hotel RIU – TOUAREG is now open in Lacacão beach

It was about a week ago that the controversial new hotel in Lacacão beach was inaugurated and welcomed their first guests (Fig.1).

Built in one of the most important nesting sites of the Loggerhead sea turtle in Cape Verde, Lacacão beach, its construction phase caused many environmental and social impacts in the island, and was the main reason why Turtle Foundation initiated a protection program here in 2009. With more than 500 construction site workers based at the construction site during the nesting season, poaching of the turtles was a recurrent problem, and very difficult to control. Despite our efforts, several dozens of turtles were slaughtered on this beach in the last few years.

As the construction is now completed, we hope that the poaching pressure will decrease. However new problems will arise, most importantly the impact of the lights from the hotel in the behaviour of nesting turtles and emerging hatchlings (Fig.2); removal of natural nesting sites for creation of leisure areas (Fig.3); obstruction to nesting females by beach furniture (Fig.4), easier access to the beach due to improved roads (Fig.5) (All images presented are from the new hotel, and were taken this week).

Over the last week Turtle Foundation staff participated in several meetings with responsibles from TUI and RIU, to try to find a effective collaboration in the mitigation of the impact of the threats mentioned above. This included the visit of an expert on the mitigation of light impact on nesting beaches from Florida, Mr. Erik Martin (from our blog:, and the presentation of a detailed proposal. We will also carry out an intensive nest management program on this beach, as well as conduct a study on the impact of the lights on the behaviour of both nesting turtles and hatchlings.

The nesting season is due to start in about 1 month, and we are expectant to see whether the suggested measures will take place, and that the impact of this hotel will cause minimum impact on the nesting turtles and hatchlings. Please visit our blog for updates in the following months.

For more information about this hotel, the future Lacacão Golf and Beach Resort, and other related news, visit the following link:


  1. Such a shame, good luck with the work guys, keep up the good job!

  2. Now that the hotel has become a reality you have to look at the positive side of things. It is promising that you have a dialog going with the company running the complex. The hotel offers the opportunity to eradicate poaching in the vicinity of the complex. It also generates the opportunity to aquire fiunding for turtle projects either from the company running the hotel or directly from the tourists. Maybe these positives can balance the negative impacts on the nesting beach. Let's hope for a good outcome for the turtles!

  3. I will be staying at that hotel in 2 weeks. As a 'customer' which I am hoping would give me a little influence. Is there anything I can do / say to the management of the hotel to help to support your important cause.

  4. Hi there,
    Thank you so much for your interest and support! You can certainly seek out the hotel management and tell them that you are concerned about the turtles - ask them if they are involved in helping to conserve and protect the turtles and their habitat - if and how they are working to ameliorate negative impacts from the hotel (lights, construction on the beach, etc), if they are working with the local conservation organizations, encouraging turtle walks guided by trained rangers. Tell them you plan to write a review on TripAdvisor (or wherever) on their hotel and would like to be able to include information on their efforts to be eco-friendly/turtle-friendly. Feel free to contact us regarding their responses - we'll be happy to try to confirm the accuracy of it. The more people that express concern to them, the more likely they are to respond to the pressure. Oh, and have a wonderful trip! Boavista is spectacular. While you are there, check out our project. You can contact Amanda, our volunteer coordinator, at

  5. We shall be staying at Riu Touareg from 11th June for a week, and will also make a point of asking about what positive steps are being taken re the turtles and their needs... good luck and hope to see you during our stay.

  6. Hi Mark,
    Have a wonderful trip. I hope you get to see a turtle nest, and thanks for speaking up on their behalf. Definitely stop by and see our project!


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