Adventures In Belize
Why not leave a lasting impact when you travel?
Protected areas are the perfect way to explore and to be adventurous while contributing to the conservation of Belize’s natural resources and to local communities! APAMO currently boasts 16 members and a collective of 27 protected areas across Belize.
These sites are either co-managed by Non-Governmental Organizations or Community Based Organizations along with the Government of Belize. However, the day-to-day tasks, patrols, maintenance and overall management is carried out by these organizations, our members. Over the years, protected areas have evolved from solely focusing on conservation and has embraced being eco-tourism destinations. While it has been a challenge, with continued efforts- many of the larger organizations have been successful. Still, there are a few hidden gems throughout Belize, which we encourage you to discover.
Am I really making an impact?
Yes! Yes you are making an impact in many ways. Firstly, by supporting these organizations you are also supporting the community. Majority of our protected areas are situated between local communities therefore, you aiding in job retention and creation. For instance, the Community Baboon Sanctuary located in Bermuda Landing is co-managed by the Community Baboon Sanctuary Women’s Conservation Group. This group is comprised of individuals from surrounding villages and they provide job opportunities for locals in that area.
Whether it be outsourcing a tour guide, attracting visitors that will purchase from shops along the way or those who are employed with an ongoing project- either way, you are contributing by keeping the wheel turning. In addition to that, revenues generated from the park are re-invested right back into the park! Entrance fees, tours, snacks from the snack shop are all significant in contributing to the upkeep, renovations and maintenance of a beautifully kept site, and habitat.
On the topic of habitat, you also contribute to preserving safe havens for wild plants and animals. Protected areas were established to preserve and to conserve biodiversity with the goal of managing and sustaining our natural resources. By visiting protected areas, you are furthering this vision by allowing these organizations to fulfill their mandate. Some may be protecting endangered species such as the West Indian Manatee which is the core cause of the Friends of Swallow Caye. Also, in the case of Billy Barquedier National Park whereby the Sustainable Tourism and Conservation Association was established to protect the watershed that provides potable water to 7 communities! How cool is that?
Here’s a few more- when you visit protected areas you leave an impact by:
- Assisting with strengthening our resilience to climate change
- Helping secure the maintenance of functioning ecosystem and the benefits they provide
- Celebrating our natural and cultural heritage
- Gaining knowledge and understanding the importance of conservation that can be passed on to friends and family
Is that a road trip I hear?
With over 25 protected areas under the APAMO umbrella, the possibilities for adventure and education are endless. So many combinations to an epic cross-country adventure as most of our protected areas are easily accessible! You and your friends could challenge yourselves to visit at least five of the seven waterfalls at Mayflower Bocawina National Park. Go diving at Turneffe Attol Marine Reserve or Gladden and Spit Cayes Marine Reserve where fish are in abundance, corals are flourishing and the beaches remain pristine. You could spend a night in Belize’s wilderness in comfortable accommodation at Shipstern Nature Reserve or at Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area. There’s camping in the wild jungle for the brave at several sites including Cockscomb Basin National Park or near the coast at Laughing Bird caye National Park.
You choose where to start, just make an impact!
Did I spark your interest?
If you would love to more know about any of our destinations, grab a copy of our first ever APAMO Protected Areas Visitor’s Guide when it’s released. Here’s a sneak peak…