Belize is a developing nation located on the Caribbean coast of Central America where pristine nature and sustainable tourism is given top priority. The government of Belize recently approved a proposal to ban the use of single-use plastic bags, straws, and other food items, and there is a complete moratorium on petroleum exploration and drilling on the offshore reef.
The Belize Barrier Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest barrier reef system in the world after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Declared a World Heritage Site in 1996, the reef was recently upgraded to healthy status by the United Nations after strong conservation efforts by the government and local NGOs have successfully managed to improve the vibrancy of this incredibly beautiful marine eco-system.
In June, veteran National Geographic travel producer Marie McGrory enjoyed a nine-day vacation in Belize and was successfully able to avoid using any single-use plastic items, including straws, cups, and shopping bags. Many restaurants and bars in Belize serve beverages in re-usable, washable glass bottles, and most top-end resorts and hotels offer plastic-free dining and beverage options as well, including purified water for refilling water bottles, an important consideration for a tropical destination such as Belize.
With both the government and the commercial tourism industry in Belize dedicated to preserving the long-term health of the environment, it’s easier now than ever for visitors to enjoy eco-tourism vacations. Popular activities include canoeing down pristine jungle rivers, hiking, zip lining, horseback riding in national parks, bird watching, and the uniquely Belizean activity known as cave tubing which involves using an inflatable inner tube to sail down subterranean rivers. Other ecotourism activities include visiting wildlife sanctuaries and cultural visits to local villages.
If you want to enjoy a fabulous ecotourism adventure in Belize, be sure to stay at one of the luxury tree houses available at Caves Branch Jungle Lodge. Built entirely by hand in order to protect the jungle, these tree houses offer a complete range of modern comforts and panoramic views of the surrounding nature.