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The Hidden Turtle Residency

Self Directed Residency - Open Dates

Residency Guidelines


Photo: Nadia Ortega

21-Turtle Hatchings.jpg

Photo: Paul Sanchez Navarro

Place of the turtle. Place of underground cave and river system. Place of the Mesoamerican Reef. Place of Plastic. Place of unsustainable development. Place of endangered species. Place of jungle. Place of sea.

ELIGIBILITY: Hidden Turtle Residency for Scientists, Artists, Makers and More is for professionals emerging into their fields and for those established in their work who are also interested in an investigation of PLACE and interdisciplinary discourse. Evidence of recent work is requested.

LOCAL COMMUNITY: Education and community engagement are common themes among the programs at Tortuga Escondida Residency Center. Akumal loves interesting people doing cool work. Living in a place, making human connections with mutual impact is one of the juiciest aspects of our special place on the coast.


Residents may choose to engage outreach with our Akumal community at some point during the stay. COVID restrictions may continue during the upcoming months.


During each residency one weekly group conversation will be loosely moderated.


Together the residents will choose the format for a final presentation for the public i.e. showcase, conversation, Q&A. The Residency Director will organize the event.


APPLICATION DEADLINES: Self Directed Residency - No deadline.


Photo: Scott Brown Photo

OUR SURROUNDINGS / ECOLOGY: At the southeastern of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula we rest upon porous karst limestone. Below, a vast underground cave system contains one of the world’s largest underground rivers. Fresh water flows under much of the state of Quintana Roo, like rivers do, to the Caribbean Sea and the Mesoamerican Reef a few kilometers to the east. Rainwater drains directly into the aquifer. Cenotes, or ponds, are where the karst surface has collapsed into a cave providing magical places to swim and enjoy a unique experience. There will always be a river inflow and outflow moving through the cenote!


The Mesoamerican Reef, the vast fresh water underground river system, the nesting and feeding grounds for endangered marine turtles, the relationship of mangroves, fisheries and reef, are all topics of scientific, academic and artistic focus.


FACILITIES: Tortuga Escondida Residency Center living space is comprised of three floors with six large live/works spaces. We are equipped with a communal industrial sized kitchen, rooftop chill space and a 30’ pool fed by underground aquifer built to PADI dive certification standards. The largest of the common spaces can accommodate meals, work area, presentations. Salon type common spaces are available for spill over work/practice, as are various nooks and crannies.


Resident and Fellowship participants are provided with a private room (option to share) that includes ample studio space. Additionally, there are shared studio spaces which are outdoors/screened in. We feel this offers the best of both worlds; giving people a chance to be social or solitary.

See the Gallery of our Place.

See the Gallery of local Flora and Fauna.


MEALS AND FOOD: For meals, we will provide groceries for make-it-yourself breakfasts. All other meals are the responsibility of the resident. Weekly trips for grocery shopping will be provided. And there are a variety of produce markets and small stores in Akumal that are easily accessible. Residents are asked to clean up after food preparation.

TRANSPORTATION: Residents are responsible for their transportation to and from Tortuga Escondida Residency Center, and for their local travel needs during their residency. Bikes are provided which are handy to get to the main road. Public transportation called Colectivos stop about every 10 minutes for visiting Akumal central, Tulum, Playa del Carmen.


Airport pick-up and delivery; tour and group transportation:


There is a local business that rents cars.

MATERIALS: Residents are suggested to bring as many materials, supplies and other necessary items that are critical to the work. There are some arts and crafts stores, and Home Depot, Office Max, and Office Depot in Playa del Carmen. Weekly trips can be made.


TECHNOLOGY: Free wi-fi is available at Tortuga Escondida. Most establishments throughout the region also have free wifi.

VISITORS: Hidden Turtle Residency loves to have people share their work or to come and create with us during the day. Any overnight guests must be approved and will be charged a nightly rate.

RESPECT & PRIVACY: Residents must uphold general standards of decency to insure a positive experience for themselves and each other. Residents are not allowed to visit one another’s rooms without an invitation. Music must be played at a considerate level. Quiet hours are observed from 10 pm to 7 am. We have a zero tolerance for harassment in any form. Should it be necessary we will ask a person to leave.

Photo: Scott Brown Photo


Photo: Cave Pearl Project

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