Eco-Tourism in Belize  

by McNab Editorial Team
eco tourism

Ecotourism is very popular, and Belize is perfectly situated to offer travelers the ideal ecotourism vacation. Its many areas of untouched, pristine forest, jungle, and wetlands make it the ideal destination for travelers who want an experience that’s respectful of nature.

San Ignacio Town in western Belize is considered the eco-tourism capital of Belize. If you’re visiting Belize, use San Ignacio as a starting point for all your excursions.

eco tourism

Long History of Conservation

Belize has long recognized the importance of preserving its delicate ecosystems. Almost one-third of Belize is protected by a wildlife sanctuary, marine reserve or protected wilderness area. For decades, Belize has worked with conservation groups like the Belize Audubon Society and the Nature Conservatory to continue this protection.

Long before it became a top tourism destination, Belize was concerned with protecting its environment. The government encouraged Belizeans to use renewable, locally-sourced materials for farming, building, and fishing.

Ecologically Friendly Lodging

Belize has instituted a Green Guests program which encourages travelers to travel only with environmentally friendly, nontoxic lotions, shampoos, and soaps. The country has also seen a rise of so-called eco-lodges. These hotels are located off the grid and rely on solar power, rainwater and other renewable resources for their operation.

Most of the tap water in Belize comes from rainwater or rivers. It is properly treated and is clean and safe to drink.

Community Conservation Efforts

Belize has seen the rise of many community-based conservation efforts. One well-known example is the Community Baboon Sanctuary, a local effort that protects the largest group of black howler monkeys in Central America.

Community and volunteer efforts also saved the scarlet macaw from extinction. People living near their nesting grounds in Belize volunteered to monitor their nests and protect them. Today, macaws are flourishing in Belize and are a chief draw for birders.

The Belize Zoo is another community effort that was originally founded as a rescue for animals who were used in movies and then abandoned. The Belize Zoo has continued to serve as a sanctuary for orphaned and injured wildlife of all kinds.

Tips for Travelers to Belize

Conserve electricity. Electricity is expensive in Belize. If you’re staying at a guest lodge or family-run hotel, be conscious of how much electricity you’re using.

Show sensitivity to our local flora and fauna. If you are snorkeling or scuba diving at the Belize Barrier Reef, be careful not to disturb the fish or touch the coral. If you’re at a nature preserve, do not attempt to touch, trap or interfere with any birds or animals.

All sport fishing in Belize is catch-and-release only. The exception to this is the lionfish, an invasive species that is harmful to Belize’s native fish. Visitors are encouraged to spear lionfish to help control the population.

Stay on the trail. When you visit a wildlife preserve, stay on the marked trails. It’s best to go with an official tour guide who can ensure you’re not trampling on any delicate vegetation or disturbing nesting sites.

Keep Belize Beautiful.  Belize has managed to become a top tourist destination while retaining a wild, untouched beauty. With your help, it will continue to maintain that delicate balance. 

Written by Larry Waight

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