Belize’s lush jungle, pristine Cayes, vibrant reefs, Maya sites, exotic wildlife, and rich culture make it a destination not to be missed and to be shared with others.
Tourism is crucial to Belize’s economic development and stability, accounting for over 38% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product and is a top foreign exchange and revenue earner. As visitors enjoy the best of Belize, travel in itself plays a large part in destroying destinations’ natural resources from overcrowding, pollution, cultural distortion, and much more. One way to minimize one’s impact on the destination is traveling responsibly.
Your travel decisions make a difference to the environment with small changes making a big impact. Here are our top 5 responsible travel tips to consider when traveling in Belize.
CARRY YOUR OWN WATER BOTTLE
Reduce plastic waste with a reusable water bottle. Plastic bottles take on average 450 years to biodegrade in the ocean. Many resorts and hotels offer complimentary reusable water bottles upon check-in to support the plastic-free in the country.
BE WATER AND POWER CONSCIOUS
Belize has many resorts located in remote locations in the jungle and on beautiful Cayes, making power and water sources limited. The environment suffers when these resources are used in excess. Small actions such as switching the lights off when not in the room, having a shower versus a bath, or reusing your towels where you can, will make a marked difference.
RESPECT TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
Be respectful when visiting attractions, particularly natural ones. Belize is home to the only living Barrier Reef in the world. When snorkeling, be mindful of where you are. Do not touch or step on the coral reefs below. When exploring Maya sites, be mindful, these historical places date back to 2500 BC so take only memories and leave only footprints. Do not litter, and respect cultural grounds.
BREAK YOUR BAG HABITS
As Belize phases out single-use plastic, be sure to carry your own reusable bag around. Plastic bags take 10-20 years to biodegrade in a marine environment. While on a tour you may stumble across a souvenir shop; carry your reusable bag to hold your great new find. Also, when shopping for groceries, shop local. The San Ignacio Market is a great place to source fresh produce and fewer packaged products.
DINE OUT AND EAT LOCAL
Belizean authentic cuisine is one to be enjoyed. In the mornings, enjoy coffee with a view of the Caribbean Sea, before jetting off on your excursion for the day, rather than grabbing a coffee on the go. For lunch, dine at a local restaurant and be sure to ask for the fresh catch of the day, rather than getting your meal to go. Styrofoam plates and cups take on average 50 years to biodegrade. You’re on holiday so relax and take time to cherish your new vacation memories over a nice meal.
“If we don’t change the way we produce and use plastics, there will be more plastics than fish in our ocean by 2050.” Frans Timmermans, European Commission first vice-president
Belize… A destination to be enjoyed for years to come
WRITTEN BY LOUISE ROE