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Over 27% of land in Belize is protected in either national parks, nature reserves or wildlife sanctuaries. Belize has recognized the importance of its rich biodiversity and has made ecotourism a focus of its tourism industry.
Belize is a developing country and tourism is not only essential to its economic growth but also to the continued protection of its rainforest, coral reef and wildlife. It is estimated that one in four people in Belize is employed by the tourism industry and a responsible holiday in Belize will provide you with an opportunity to truly experience the wonder of the natural world.
To arrange a holiday with a focus on ecotourism or conservation please contact us by email at email@example.com
There are many conservation efforts taking place in Belize that are funded by not for profit organisations and the proceeds of ecotourism. Below are a few examples;
Seven reserves on the Belize Barrier Reef were declared UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1996 including the Blue Hole and Half Moon Caye Natural Monument on Lighthouse Reef. Half Moon Caye is a sanctuary to a population of several thousand rare red-footed boobies.
Gladden Spit attracts Whale Sharks to feed off the spawning of the snapper and many other fish species between April and June. Gladden Spit was setup as a marine reserve in 2000, an entrance fee to the reserve is charged and boat numbers in the park are limited. Over fishing in the area has occurred and anchor damage to the reef, but for many fishermen this is their only source of income, so many have been retrained by NGO's as dive instructors and sport fishing guides to encourage ecotourism in the area.
The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is also the world's only jaguar reserve, it was formed based on the jaguar's natural habitat and continues to support ongoing research into this beautiful species. Although jaguar sightings are rare during the day, the undisturbed rainforest has well-marked hiking trails and is also home to plentiful wildlife and birdlife.
The Mayan village of Red Bank is nestled at the base of the Maya Mountains and is visited between January and March by a population of Scarlet Macaws. A successful eco-tourism program has resulted in villagers being trained as guides to take visitors to a viewing platform where the Macaws can be seen flying and feeding in the surrounding Annatto trees. The sight of these loud, large and brightly coloured birds in this rainforest setting is spectacular and one of our highly recommended tours.
There are a number of non-governmental organizations in Belize that are involved in specific eco-tourism projects including Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area which is owned and managed by Programme for Belize and is situated to the north of Belize. It is Belize's largest private reserve and supports hundreds of bird species and many animal species including 12 endangered animal species. It operates an ecotourism programme that offers an enlightening but low impact experience of the rainforest.
Toledo Cacao Growers Association (TGCA) are the worlds first Fairtrade and organic certified cacao producers (used for making chocolate). Toledo the southernmost region of Belize is home to the largest population of Kekchi and Mopan Maya and is the poorest region of Belize.
The TCGA is located in Punta Gorda and represents over 200 organic cocoa growers. They co-ordinate the production of the Fairtrade Green and Blacks Maya Gold chocolate bar.
Purchasing this product helps provide the Mayan villages of Toledo with economic stability for their families.