At a time when other Caribbean nations are struggling to incorporate responsible conservation practices, Belize has emerged as one of the top countries in the region to focus on the practice of "eco-tourism." Belize has been working hard to incorporate its growing tourism sector into a balanced approach for protecting and preserving its gorgeous natural environments and exotic wildlife.
Here are just a few reasons why Belize is the regional leader in eco-tourism:
An Early Start
Even before gaining complete independence from Great Britain in 1981, Belize began adopting sustainability practices to preserve forests, jungles, and marine environments.
More than one-third of the country of Belize is protected as a wilderness refuge, animal sanctuary, or national park.
The Community Baboon Sanctuary
Working hand in hand with seven local villages on the property, the Community Baboon Sanctuary has successfully protected one of the largest troops of black howler monkeys (known locally as "baboons") in all of Central America.
Located in the far south of Belize, Toledo District began leading the way in the 1980s by encouraging villagers to build using renewable, sustainable, and locally-grown materials. Toledo District has also worked to educate locals to combat poaching and illegal fishing and logging practices.
The government of Belize is working with several international organizations, including Rio Bravo, the Audubon Society, and the Nature Conservatory to help protect more than 500 square miles of wilderness.
Green Guest Program
Many of Belize's top resorts, hotels, and lodges are now encouraging foreign visitors to not bring toxic shampoos, creams, and lotions with them and instead use "green" or bio-safe alternatives.
Resorts have popped up all over Belize that are either wholly or partially independent from the "grid," using filtered rainwater, solar power, and other "green" power methods to operate.
Protecting the Reef
Strong monitoring programs are in place to prevent illegal fishing, and visitors are now warned by trained tour guides not to touch or disturb the coral reef.
Belize is in the forefront of Caribbean nations in actively encouraging both visitors and locals to hunt the invasive species with spearguns. Top restaurants across Belize are also now serving lionfish dishes as part of the campaign "Eat 'em to beat 'em."
Cahal Pech Village Resort is located just minutes from San Ignacio, the ecotourism capital of Belize and is a great base to stay for your vacation.