Caribbean ConservationBelize

Our award-winning Caribbean Conservation team in Belize work to conserve the local ecosystems, their research findings guide government legislation and decision making to protect the environment.

You will assist the local team by collecting data on native animal and plant species, reforestation. Volunteers learn about tropical conservation efforts by working alongside passionate local experts in the field.

Get truly off the beaten track in Belize and experience the rich culture including ruins, traditional chocolate making, jungle zip line and river tubing.

Volunteers are needed to assist the conservation team’s efforts to preserve the ecosystem.

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Key Info

key info
  • Location: Toledo District
  • Start dates: Every Sunday
  • Duration: 1 – 12 weeks +
  • Age requirement: 18+ (12+ for families or groups)
  • Availability: Spaces available
  • Cost: From £895 / €1045 / $1145 - see fees table below
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Project Information

Volunteer role: What will I be doing?

The area is a nature lover’s paradise, this is a great project if you want to get involved in grassroots conservation in action.

Volunteers join the local team and work alongside them on their current conservation project.

The volunteer role is varied and can include the following:

  • Manatee, amphibian and crocodile survey and monitoring
  • Habitat survey for seagrass, pine and palms
  • Bird mist netting, banding and monitoring
  • Yellow-headed parrot nest box installation, and roost count monitoring (mainly December to February)
  • Camera trap collection, monitoring and photo study
  • Clearing and maintaining trails, protected area boundaries and field bases
  • Reforestation – which includes clearing areas around reforestation sites, collecting seeds, assisting in the tree nursery and planting trees along the riverbank
  • Education and outreach – creating educational signs for nature trails, assisting in charity events and children’s summer camps
  • Assisting with data entry
  • Sign design and painting for protected areas

Training in research methods and conservation activities is provided when required and is delivered by project staff members who are experts in their fields.

Working days and hours

Each day varies but you will generally volunteer for 5 days per week (Monday to Friday) between 8am-4pm, with breaks throughout the day. You may on occasion, start earlier and finish later than this, in order to avoid doing certain tasks in the midday heat.

On your first Monday morning you will be introduced to the team that you will be working with during the week and given a presentation on the protected areas and research you will be assisting in. You will have a tour of the mangroves by kayak, which is a great introduction to the ecosystem and birdlife (and you may also see an iguana or two!).

At the weekend you will be based in Punta Gorda, relaxing or taking part in some of the amazing free time activities that Belize has to offer.

Other volunteers

There are usually around 1-4 volunteers at one time with a maximum of 4. Volunteers work alongside park rangers who are local experts in the field.

Volunteer reviews

Read about volunteer experiences and challenges in our Belize Caribbean Conservation reviews.

Why are volunteers needed?

Volunteers enable the project to sustain and expand its vital conservation and development efforts by having more people out in the field. Volunteers carry out important field research, education and conservation actions that are making a significant contribution to the project’s mission: protecting wildlife and its habitats, raising awareness, empowering local communities and sustaining natural resources. This means all our volunteer activities make a real contribution to the management of these spectacular areas and benefit the people who live closest to them.

“Our science and ranger teams work tirelessly, protecting some of the most pristine and diverse ecosystems in Central America. There is always work to be done and it is a constant struggle to achieve our goals with limited resources. Our volunteers help us to bridge that gap, by providing additional support on the ground where help is needed most, ensuring that we continue to sustainably manage our rich resources for tomorrow.”

Caroline, Project Manager

Accommodation

Your first night and weekends will be with your homestay family in Punta Gorda. Depending on the location of your project work you may stay at the homestay or a field base in the week.

At the homestay, volunteers may share a room with another volunteer on a single sex basis. There is WIFI available.

At the field bases, volunteers share basic rooms, which are clean and comfortable and have fans. There are communal areas to relax, eat and socialise in.

Meals 

All meals will be provided throughout your placement. Here are typical examples of the food you may have: 

  • Breakfast – bread, toast, jam, fry jack (Belizean doughnuts) 
  • Lunch –sandwiches, rice and beans, traditional pies or tortillas with cheese and beans 
  • Dinner – Traditional Belizean meals of rice and beans with vegetables and chicken, stews, or burritos 

Vegetarians and vegans are welcomed and can be catered for.

Drinking water is provided at both the field bases, office and homestay.

Location and free time

You will be based in the South of Belize in the Toledo District. It is one of the few places left in Mesoamerica where you can still see unbroken forest stretching across the horizon. Mammals and bird life are abundant, and you may spot howler monkeys at the river side, manatees in the lagoon or jaguar tracks on the savannah.

The conservation team’s work stretches over many ecosystems, including tropical jungle forests, mangroves, lagoons and pine savannahs. There are 3 field bases which you may volunteer or stay in depending on the work required.

When staying at the field bases there are no local amenities, there is a relaxed atmosphere and volunteers spend their free time playing football, volleyball, bird watching, relaxing with a book and getting to know the local team.

The homestays are in the mainland town of Punta Gorda, this is a chance for you have connect back to the internet and is a great opportunity to sample laid back Belizean life in your homestay.

There are lots of activities in the area which the local team can help you with. You can explore the Maya temples, visit a Mayan village eco-farm and chocolate tour, visiting waterfalls, zip-lining through the jungle tree tops or tubing down the jungle river. As the region receives a low number of visitors if you are travelling alone you may need to pay for a private tours. These activities are best booked locally once you are at the project.

Travelling in Belize before or after your placement

Belize is a small country on the Caribbean coast nestled between Mexico and Guatemala. It is a relaxed country and a great place to volunteer and explore the beautiful scenery and diverse nature.

With over 60% natural forest cover, and 40% of its land area under protection, Belize is one of the most pristine countries in the world. Popular activities in Belize include:

  • Diving at the Blue Hole
  • Visiting the Maya ruins
  • Exploring the cayes (offshore islands)

To find out more, see the Lonely Planet Belize.

Dates

Start dates are every Sunday. The project is closed to volunteers between 1 Feb - 31 April every year. The project is closed from the 23 Dec 2018 to 6 Jan 2019 and 22 Dec 2019 to 5 Jan 2020.

What's Included

Included

  • Dedicated Pod Volunteer Specialist to support you
  • Airport pick up (Punta Gorda) and return transfers
  • Accommodation
  • Food - all main meals
  • Induction and conservation training
  • Bicycle for weekend travel in Punta Gorda
  • Kayak tour of the mangroves
  • Mobile phone or sim card for use during placement
  • T-shirt
  • Support from the local team
  • Support from the Pod Volunteer UK office by phone and email
  • 24/7 emergency back up
  • Volunteering certificate and reference (on request)

Not included

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa (if required)
  • Criminal record / police check
  • Vaccinations and medication
  • Living costs - snacks, drinks, laundry
  • Any tourist trips / activities you choose to do in your free time
Price table
1 week £895 GB Pounds
2 weeks £1395 GB Pounds
Extra weeks £400 GB Pounds

Discounts

  • £75 discount for every additional project you book as part of the same trip
  • £100 discount for any family members who are under 18
  • £75 discount if you have previously volunteered with Pod Volunteer 

Where the money goes - financial transparency

Your fee covers the overseas costs of volunteering and the costs of running our organisation in the UK, on a non-profit basis.  For more details and a breakdown of our costs please click here.

Book with confidence - financial protection

All monies paid to us are financially protected through The Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT). 

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Fees in currencies other than GBP are indicative only and volunteers are invoiced in GBP. For current exchange rates please see www.xe.com

Read volunteer reviews from the Caribbean Conservation project

Lizzie

“I would massively recommend anyone with any interest in conservation. It’s a fantastic organisation with really friendly people and every single day we did something different and interesting, ranging from making signs, surveying in the jungle, helping out with the summer camp field trips to sustainable farms and clearing jungle pathways with machetes. The rangers were constantly sharing their knowledge with us.

A few highlights include holding a tiny turtle that we found in a puddle, going swimming by a waterfall and watching the sunrise over the savanna on an early morning trek into the jungle. The homestay family was an absolute joy to be around and cooked the best food! It really helped me to feel more of a local and less like a foreigner.”

Diarmuid

“One of my favourite aspects of this project is how immersive it makes the volunteer. I worked very closely with the local members of the team and really felt as though I was contributing. The setting was so surreal and picturesque. The main goal of my trip was biodiversity monitoring to ensure the health of the surrounding environment and ecosystem. I worked closely with the team to perform tasks such as bird-watching and monitoring that stations transect.

It was fantastic to work so closely with such knowledgeable people. I got the opportunity to work with a bird-watching veteran, who had 13 years’ experience. I got to see or hear almost 40 different species of exotic birds, majority of which are resident to the Belize ecosystem. I couldn’t rate the experience highly enough. Especially Curtis from the local team and Ms. Sylvia from my host family. They made me feel so welcome and really looked after me.”

Kathy

“We had a great variety of experiences, something different every week! Our first week was spent visiting local schools to look at their conservation projects and we helped the children plant trees. We created a large banner to advertise Reef Week, went on a mangrove-counting exercise on the cayes, helped clear a nature trail, identifying trees and birds and creating signs and information for the trail, and finally we took part in a bio-diversity project.

Our host family was delightful and made us very welcome and we spent weekends exploring the town and on trips including kayaking, snorkelling and a visit to Guatemala. Despite having no previous conservation experience we were keen to make a real contribution to the work of the teams, and they all made us feel valued and useful. All our hopes and expectations were fulfilled, the staff at the project and everywhere were really friendly and helpful.”

Jonathan

“This was a truly memorable experience. I went down there on my own for a short stay and everyone really went out of their way to make my experiencing interesting, relevant and fun. Everyone was knowledgeable and enthusiastic to talk about their work. I was amazed at how much they seem to be doing on such a skimpy budget.

Chez Muschamp was just the warmest place imaginable for a home stay - my fondest to Miss Sylvia and Mr. Julio! Punta Gorda must be the most welcoming town I’ve ever visited. Love their 3-finger wave - it perfectly captures their laid back friendliness.”

Read more reviews

22,000

acres protected

"It was an amazing experience that will stay with me forever! Pod Volunteer provided the ideal amount of support and guidance"Satvinder

Gemma

Pod UK Specialist

Gemma has visited the project, apply and you'll hear from her soon!

We look forward to receiving your application! There is no commitment by applying and we will send more information.

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VOLUNTEER REVIEWS

  • Belize Caribbean Conservation volunteer – Adam

    “I had such an amazing experience! I was able to learn more than just conservation. I was able to grow culturally, learn new skills and even had time to relax and enjoy the many different sites of Belize!”

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • Belize Caribbean Conservation volunteer – Alison

    “My 4 weeks in Belize has to rank amongst the most amazing experiences of my (60 year) life. I felt privileged to be working as part of the community research team conducting ongoing valuable monitoring and conservation work.”

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • Belize Caribbean Conservation volunteer – Hannah

    “My 9 weeks have been one of the most enriching and enjoyable experiences of my life. I can’t recommend the experience enough and hope one day I get to do it again”

    Read more volunteer reviews

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AWARDS AND ACCREDITATIONS

  • Tourism Concern
  • Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust
  • Right Tourism
  • DOFE
  • theguardian
  • the independent
  • Sunday Times
  • Year Out Group
  • Best Volunteering Organisation
  • Wall Street Journal