Dalyan Village, Turtle Beach, River Cruise, & Ancient Kaunos Tour
Tour Participation Requirements
Special Medical Restriction
You, and the turtles, can thank Prince Philip for the opportunity to see unspoiled Iztuzu Beach. This pristine spot, called "turtle beach" by the locals, hit the international spotlight in the 80s and 90s when developers planned a large hotel and marina here. A worldwide outcry followed to save this breeding ground for the endangered Caretta caretta turtles.
You may know these reptiles as the loggerhead sea turtle (stick to that, it's easier than the Turkish name: deniz kaplumbaga). The females of this large, strong-jawed species come to the beach at night from May and September to lay their eggs, which need to incubate undisturbed in the sand for 50 to 65 days. Once they hatch, baby turtles skitter down to the sea drawn by reflected light on the water. If there are lights on land, confused hatchings can head in the wrong direction toward disaster.
The turtles have been safe there since environmentalists, led by local activist June Haimoff, rallied to oppose to development. Prince Philip, then president of the World Wildlife Fund, joined the cause to finally put the kibosh on the hotel plan. And June Haimoff's Turtle Conservation Foundation earned her an MBE award for environmental work. Now in her 90s, she remains vigilant as more development plans loom.
The highlights of this tour are ancient: the temple tombs you'll see from the river were carved in the 5th century B.C., and the city of Kaunos may date as far back as the 10th century B.C. But the turtles have them beat. They've been roaming the world's waters and beaches for about 65 million years and, although protected, their numbers are declining. Flippers crossed that Daylan's turtle beach remains their refuge.
Steeped in tears and trauma
Legend holds that ancient Kaunos was founded by King Kaunos, Apollo's grandson. Kaunos' twin sister, Byblis, was in love with him and died of sorrow when her incestuous desires were rebuffed – but not before she cried enough tears to start the Daylan River flowing. Since then, Kaunos has endured attacks by pirates, a 15th-century malaria, an earthquake, and layers of sand that buried it for hundreds of years.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.