Baby chelonia mydas turtle © Manuel Heinrich Emha
San Antonio de Ureca, usually affectionately shortened to Ureca, is a village on the coast of Bioko Island, south of Malabo, and a very worthwhile excursion from the city for travellers. Ureca is nestled in an unspoiled natural paradise with very little tourist infrastructure but there is basic accommodation in the form of a guest house or two. Interestingly, the town is ranked as being among the wettest areas in the world and has the dubious pleasure of being the rainiest place in Africa, but the stunning black sandy beaches strewn with volcanic rock, and the pristine rainforest on its doorstep make Ureca an exciting and beautiful place to visit.
Bioko Island has been classified as a critically important nesting site for sea turtles and Ureca is possibly the best place to try and see the miracle that is hatching season on Equatorial Guinea's beaches. The coast is the nesting ground for four different species of turtle: leatherback turtles, green turtles, Olive Ridley turtles and hawksbill turtles. Nesting season is between October and April, usefully coinciding with the so-called 'dry' season on Bioko which runs from November to March. A Spanish conservation group called Los Amigos de Donana works to protect the turtles of Ureca, with the help of the villagers who patrol the beaches at night as guards. With a little luck visitors can witness the hatchlings making their way to the ocean at night on the lovely beaches in the area.