Belize

Animal Conservation

Applications Closed

Applications Closed!

We’re building a community of “backpacktivists” that are socially, environmentally, and politically aware of their impact in the communities they travel to and live in. We work with our local partners on community-requested projects to uncover the intricacies of each place we go to.

Join us in Belize, diving beneath the surface of the Caribbean Sea and hiking deep into the jungles of the Yucatan to explore how culture and ecology shape each other. We’ll go from the turquoise waters of Belize’s iconic coast to the tropical savannas of its interior to see firsthand how unique plant, animal, and human communities work together, and what we can do to confront the challenges of climate change.

Applications Closed!

Currency:

2018 Fees + Community Contribution

$2,210 USD + $95 USD
$2,300 CAD + $100 CAD

August 6 – 17, 2018Applications Closed!
  • From the turquoise waters of the Caribbean coast to the lush hills of the jungle interior, see how culture and ecology come together in one of the richest biospheres in the world.
  • Snorkel the world’s second largest barrier reef and confront this unique ecosystem’s challenges around climate change.
  • Visit Garifuna communities in Stann’s Creek and indigenous Maya communities in Toledo while immersing yourself in Belize’s cultural diversity and distinctive vibe.
  • Explore the Belize Zoo, one of the best examples of grassroots conservation and environmental education, and home to over 170 different animals.
  • Hike through one of Belize’s amazing natural reserves and see dramatic waterfalls, ancient Mayan ruins, monkeys, armadillos, and over 200 species of birds!
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Sample Itinerary

*This itinerary is based on our previous experience with the region. Programs change every year based on the needs of our partners. This should give you a sense of what our program may look like.

Orientation in Belize City and La Democracia

After picking everyone up at Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City, we’ll make our way inland to La Democracia. The Tropical Education Centre here sits on 29 acres of beautiful savanna and is the perfect place to get settled and start our orientation!

We’ll walk the nearby trails and learn about Belize’s history, culture, and conservation just a stone’s throw away from the Belize Zoo. Don’t be fooled – this isn’t just any zoo! The Belize Zoo is an incredible grassroots project that has spent over 30 years on the frontlines of conservation and environmental education in the country. Prepare to share space with over 170 different animals while learning about culture and ecology from its founder Sharon, who’s affectionately known as the “Zoo Lady”.

Caribbean Vibes in Dangriga

Leaving the inland savannas, we’ll head to Stann Creek and Belize’s iconic Caribbean coast. Dangriga is the biggest town in the southern half of the country and is the spiritual capital of the Garifuna. We’ll continue our conversation about all things culture and ecology while immersing ourselves in the laid-back vibe of these coastal communities. We’ll take drum lessons with local youth or experience the unique art of this area as we visit local galleries and museums.

It doesn’t stop there! We’ll also have the chance to dip our feet in the turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean, learn to fish at sunset, and listen to the distinctive sounds of punta rock music back in town. Dangriga is also the perfect trailhead for us to hike into the famous Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary or visit the incredible Tobacco Caye Marine station located just a short boat ride away – because no trip to Belize would be complete without snorkeling and seeing some of the amazing organisms that call the barrier reef home. Get ready to really take in Caribbean culture!

Conserving Culture in Punta Gorda, Toledo District

From the Garifuna communities of Stann Creek, we’ll head even further south to the Toledo District. Here at the south-western tip of the country, the vibe changes yet again! Even after thousands of years, indigenous Mayan culture continues to live on strongly in Toledo. We’ll be teaming up with some of its leading indigenous organizations to explore Mopan and Q’eqchi culture, as well as how it expresses itself through environmentalism.

We’ll live and work alongside local families while exploring the local biosphere. We’ll build relationships, learn to cook delicious local dishes, visit community associations, and turn fresh cacao into tasty chocolate. We’ll also take a trip and tour some of the nearby Mayan ruins, which serve as beautiful reminders that our failure to live sustainably can have catastrophic consequences.

Disorientation & Departures

After a fond farewell to our hosts in Toledo, we’ll circle back north to Belize City, but not before we stop for disorientation. A staple of every OG program, we’ll take two days to kick back, relax, and reflect. In the foothills of the Maya Mountains, we’ll stay with biologists at Toucan Ridge Ecology & Education Society where we’ll assess our impact and inspire each other to promote environmental justice at home. We’ll test our learning on the nearby trails, heal our bodies in the local swimming hole, and share stories over home-cooked meals. Bring your swimsuit and prepare to dive right into culture and ecology in Belize for one last time! Then it’s back to Belize City for hug-filled goodbyes.

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What’s Included?

A comprehensive program itinerary and educational curriculum focused on the issues facing your specific region

Experienced and caring program leaders with you 24 hours a day

All lodging and accommodations throughout the program

Three local meals a day

All group tours, entrance fees, and excursions

All group transportation on the ground

Regular discussions and workshops to help you internalize and reflect on your experience

Support from OGHQ whenever you need it

Accommodations

With OG, you live like the locals.
We will be sleeping and eating as a team in locally run hostels, family homestays, and community guesthouses that reflect a backpacker’s ethos. Grassroots travel and homestays will allow us to immerse in the local culture, but life on the trail can mean living without some of the comforts we’re accustomed to. Cold bucket showers are common and creepy crawlies sometimes like to visit, while comfy beds and continuous electricity can’t always be guaranteed – so come prepared! As a team, we’ll embrace the cozy conditions and make each place feel like home in no time.

Meet Our Regional Director

After running programs on three continents in as many summers, Bobby returned to his OG roots in Guatemala to manage the Hub as Central America’s Regional Director. Throughout his travels he has found himself standing on top of an active volcano in Ecuador, watching the sun set across the Salt Flats of Bolivia, and working barefoot in the rice paddies of Cambodia. But nothing tops the smell of the pine forests back home in New England. When he’s not brainstorming new projects and animals to bring to the Hub, you’ll probably find him doing handstands.

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