Resorts and conservation agencies throughout Florida and the Bahamas and Caribbean afford various opportunities for travelers to experience the primitive, humbling rituals of sea turtle nesting and hatching. Just to see one of the prehistoric behemoths, which can weigh in at up to 2,000 pounds, thrills even the most wildlife-blasé.

On a recent trip, I got to witness a whole new generation of sea turtles come to life. 

Three fellow travelers and I arrived to Galley Bay resort on the Caribbean island, Antigua, in midnight blackness and decided to have a nightcap in the open-air bar. As we were winding down from a day of travel, a resort staff guy popped up and asked our help with a nest of hatching sea turtles.

Being Floridians, we immediately identified the turtles as leatherbacks (the largest of sea turtle species) and saw the problem was a spotlight on the beach. We repeatedly asked to shut it off, but instead he handed us a flashlight to lead the hatchlings to sea.

The four of us and staffers finally rounded up the 20-some babies, determined to head toward the spotlight.

The adventure exhausted and enchanted us, and suddenly there was another nest emerging, but the flashlight had burned out. So using cell phones and powers of persuasion, we coerced the hatchlings, the size and charm of a baby’s footprint, into the sea.

If you're thinking about making a trip to see sea turtles hatch or see them in their natural habitat, it's good to know what to expect.

This list works its way from most observational to most interactive experiences. You don’t necessarily have to enjoy them in this order, but the steps will prepare you in the best way.