Caribbean WildlifeBelize

The Caribbean Wildlife project cares for around 200 animals which have been rescued, orphaned or confiscated as pets and brought to the centre as well as a few who have been born at the centre.

Assist keepers with the care of native animals including jaguars, tapirs, howler monkeys and many more tropical species. Help prepare food and enrichments for the rescued animals at the educational visitor centre. Explore the rainforest, coral reefs and beautiful beaches of Belize in your free time.

Volunteers are needed to care for the incredible animals of Central America.

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Key Info

key info
  • Location: Near Belize City
  • Start dates: Every Sunday
  • Duration: 2 – 3 weeks
  • Age requirement: 18+
  • Availability: Spaces available from 1st Sep 19t
  • Cost: From £945 / €1040 / $1170 - see fees table below
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Project Information

Volunteer role: What will I be doing?

The Caribbean Wildlife project cares for around 200 native animals which have been rescued, orphaned or confiscated as pets and brought to the centre as well as a few who have been born at the centre.

You will work alongside the keepers and have a unique opportunity to work closely with the 45 incredible native species of Central American wildlife.

The keepers are split into 3 teams. You will rotate teams, each of which focuses on a different group of animals:

  • Cats – jaguar, puma, jaguarundi, ocelot and margay
  • Mammals and other animals – including black howler monkeys, tapir, Yucatan spider monkeys, peccaries, crocodiles, grey foxes, coati and paca
  • Birds – including king vultures, harpy eagles, storks, parrots and owls

Volunteers’ tasks vary depending on the work required each day, but you will assist in:

  • Food preparation (fruit, vegetables and raw meat) and distribution to the enclosures
  • Providing fresh water
  • Cleaning and maintenance of enclosures; collecting leaf litter, washing and scrubbing ponds and feeding bowls
  • Making animal enrichments
  • Caring for newborns or orphan animals (when required)
  • General maintenance of the centre; painting or varnishing fences, signs and railings
  • Helping the team with events (e.g. school groups, animal birthday parties)

If you would like to get involved in educational activities there are often options including:

  • Interactive sessions with visitors with the boa constrictor using correct handling techniques, sharing information on boas and snakes
  • Accompanying the education department on outreach education visits to local communities

You can find out more about the Caribbean Wildlife centre here.

“Volunteers offer invaluable assistance to our staff in the daily care, enrichment, and socialization of our resident wildlife ensuring animal welfare is a priority. As a small organization with many responsibilities, eager and capable volunteers help to share the workload and ensure that tasks are completed efficiently. This is especially true in the case of juvenile or significantly ill/injured rescued wildlife that require more intensive attention than typical residents.”
Jamal, Head of the Education Department

Typical Day 

During your first few days, you will be given an introduction to the centre and the staff. You will have an orientation to your daily tasks as well as getting additional on the job training throughout your time at the project.

On most days you will start at 8am and end around 5pm, with an hour lunch break at the centre.

Volunteers work 5 days per week and weekends and public holidays are typically your free time.

Other volunteers

There are 1-2 volunteers at the project at any one time with a maximum of 2. You will be working within a larger team of staff.

Volunteer reviews

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

Local support

Vondalee is the Education Outreach cooridinator and she is first point of call for volunteers. Volunteers will work closely daily with Roxie and Gerson who are the lead keepers. The support staff are located on-site during the working day and then locally outside of working hours, and there are security staff on site at the accommodation during the evenings.

Accommodation

You will live in the accommodation at the jungle lodge which 1.5km from the Caribbean Wildlife centre. You will be provided with a bike to travel between the centre and the lodge, it is around a 10 minute ride, or if you can choose to walk it will take around 20 minutes. Volunteers live in simple shared single sex rooms with fans. The bathrooms are shared and are a short walk from the room.

Belize Caribbean Wildlife bedroomThe accommodation is basic but comfortable at the jungle lodge which has 84 acres of nature trials around savannah forest, ponds and woodland and is a perfect spot for birdwatching.

There is a refreshing pool at the jungle lodge which volunteers can use. There is a dining area where volunteers eat and can socilaise with other guests. There is WIFI available in the restaurant area.

Caribbean Wildlife accommodation pool

Meals 

All meals will be provided for you at the project. Here are typical examples of the food you may have: 

  • Breakfast – fruit, toast, eggs, beans and fry jack (Belizean doughnut) 
  • Lunch – rice and beans, tortillas
  • Dinner – traditional Belizean meals of burrito, stew, rice and beans, curries, spaghetti, salad, pasta  

Vegetarians and vegans are welcomed and can be catered for. There is also a café at the wildlife centre if you would like to buy alternative lunches.  

Drinking water is provided at the centre and accommodation.  

Location and free time

The project is nestled in a beautiful tropical savanna. Paths wind amongst the enclosures at the centre, giving the feel that you are walking in the wild jungle amongst the animals. It is in quite a rural location, approximately 30 minutes’ drive from Belize City.

Belize local area

You will have weekends off, during this time you are free to relax and explore Belize which has a lot to offer both on the sea and mainland. You can visit the world’s second biggest barrier reef and many islands’ excellent diving, snorkelling, kayaking or relaxing with a good book in a hammock. Caye Caulker is a popular island which is a forty five minute water taxi from the Marine Terminal in Belize City.

There are many great day trips, including cave tubing, zip lines and Altun Ha Maya site. Lamanai site is a full day trip by road and boat and combines Maya archeology, a jungle river trip, great birding, howler monkeys, crocs and manatees.

The Cayo district has much to offer and is 1.5 hours from Belize City. It has many impressive Maya sites, caves with artifacts, waterfalls, jungle, river and horse trips, butterfly farms, botanic gardens, iguana hatcheries and interesting cultures.

If you have more time, Stann Creek district offers both beach and jungle trips and includes Dangriga, Hopkins and Placencia beaches, as well as the Jaguar Preserve with great hiking trails. The Toledo district furthest south is the least visited and most lush district with many interesting cultures. 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 that you might like to combine with your volunteer project are:

  • Exploring some of the islands (Cayes) including Caye Caulker 
  • Scuba diving at the Blue Hole
  • Relaxing on the beach in the coastal towns of Hopkins or Placencia 
  • Visiting some of fascinating Maya ruins

For more information on Belize and some of things we loved when we visited there please see our Belize country page. This also features all our other Belize volunteering projects as you might like to consider combining this proejct with one of the others we offer to make a trip of a lifetime! 

Belize Mayan ruins

Climate

Belize has a tropical climate meaning that it’s generally hot and humid all year round. Temperatures usually between 15–35°C, averaging 26°C but due to the humidity (approximately 85%) it can feel much warmer. The cooler months are from December to February. The dry season with higher temperatures runs from March to July whilst August to November normally sees the heavier rains. 

Dates

Start dates are every Sunday.

What's Included

Included

  • Dedicated Pod Volunteer Specialist to support you
  • Accommodation - a simple shared room
  • Food - all main meals
  • Induction
  • 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)
  • Vaccinations and medication
  • Transfers to / from the project
  • Living costs - snacks, drinks, laundry
  • Any tourist trips / activities you choose to do in your free time
Price table
2 weeks £945 GB Pounds
3 weeks £1240 GB Pounds

Discounts

  • £75 discount for every additional project you book as part of the same trip
  • £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 Wildlife project

Hope – 2019 

“My time volunteering at the Caribbean wildlife centre was the best experience I’ve ever had. You get the chance of a lifetime to work hand in hand with the keepers that care so much about what they do and you truly get to help take care of the animals. The staff at both the centre and the jungle lodge was very helpful and treated you like you were part of their whole family, making the experience even more wonderful. 

To go for it, if you love animals or even just love to try new things it’s worth it in every way and is truly an amazing experience you will never get the chance to do anywhere else”

Michael – 2019 

“Volunteering at the Belize Wildlife Centre was an unforgettable experience. All the staff were friendly and work to help you experience everything! The jungle lodge was awesome as well, plus the food they give is amazing, a variety of different dishes and foods. 

Overall, if you want to spend some time with some great people and experience the wildlife of Belize in a variety of ways.”

Cédéric – 2018 

“The project was great. Familiar and chill atmosphere with the staff, food was delicious, and the accommodations were clean and hygienic. The work was hard, but rewarding. 

The volunteering process was smooth, Pod has pretty much done everything for me. The one thing that was left for me to do was getting the plane tickets (for which they would provide support as well).

Just go for it. I don´t think there´s a better place out there. The staff´s hospitality won´t ever be beaten.”

Anne-Marie – 2018 

“Pod Volunteer gave me an opportunity to do something incredibly special, that I would not have done on my own! Volunteering in Belize was an experience that I will cherish forever and made some amazing memories. 

Pod encouraged me and supported me throughout the planning process, and they were responsive when I had questions or concerns. Would totally recommend linking both the wildlife and marine experiences together.”

Read more reviews

200+

rescued native animals

"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.

Apply

VOLUNTEER REVIEWS

  • Belize Caribbean Wildlife volunteer – Katie

    “My trip was absolutely amazing! Volunteering at the zoo was one of the best experiences I've had in my life! I got to meet so many awesome people and work hands-on with amazing Belizean wildlife.”

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • Belize Caribbean Wildlife volunteer – Jacob

    “As someone who hopes to study zoology and work with animals in the future, this was an incredibly rewarding experience that allowed me to get up close and personal with numerous animals native to Belize”

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • Belize Caribbean Wildlife volunteer – Kim & Trevor

    “Truly the best "vacation" we've ever had. My husband and I had an absolutely amazing time. We spent hours with amazing animals and people! How sad we were when the 2 weeks flew by. We would absolutely go 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