Belize is the only country in Central America without a coastline on the North Pacific Ocean. Environmental issues include deforestation, water pollution from sewage, industrial effluents, agricultural runoff, and solid and sewage waste disposal. The Coastal Zone Management Institute is the leading marine scientific research organization in Belize. Conservation International has been particularly active in mitigating tourism impacts to the Belize Barrier Reef, the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere. The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre coordinates the Caribbean region’s response to climate change from Belmopan, the capital city. Wildtracks is working towards the sustainable future of the natural resources for the people of Northeast Belize, and owns two terrestrial protected areas, providing support and assistance for the management of Corozal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. Shipstern Nature Reserve is home to all five cat species of Belize. For more detail, see Wikipedia’s List of protected areas of Belize.

The Programme for Belize is involved with both tourism and conservation, and is responsible for the establishment of the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area. Rainforest & Reef Resorts is a countrywide network of unique and intimate hotels. Howler Monkey Resort is a riverside jungle eco-lodge that’s off the beaten path and away from the crowds, located in the peaceful village of Bermudian Landing, the heartland of the Belizean Creole people and also the center of the Community Baboon Sanctuary. In the southern district of Stann Creek, nestled in the heart of the Mayflower Bocawina National Park, is Mama Noots Eco Resort, a spacious jungle lodge operated entirely on alternative energy. Also in southern Belize, Toledo Ecotourism Association guesthouses give both tourists and villagers personal privacy while allowing a respectful cultural exchange. Ixchel Ha is a privately owned conservation trust and permaculture farm offing short and long term farm stays, internships and training courses, near Punta Gorda, the capital of the Toledo District.

Located near San Ignacio in Belize’s Cayo District, one of Belize’s most visited ecotourism destinations, is Maya Mountain Lodge & Tours, a friendly, family run jungle lodge with cottages. Also near San Ignacio, Crystal Paradise ecolodge is located in the lush jungle and alongside the beautiful Macal River. Innocent Earth Expeditions is a complete tour company to the most precious parts of Belize. Les Beletsky’s Belize & Northern Guatemala (Travellers’ Wildlife Guides) is often recommended for bird watching.

No biosphere reserves

IUCN members:


Territorial disputes between the UK and Guatemala delayed the independence of Belize (formerly British Honduras) until 1981. Guatemala refused to recognize the new nation until 1992. Tourism has become the mainstay of the economy. The country remains plagued by high unemployment, growing involvement in the South American drug trade, and increased urban crime.

World Heritage:

ICCROM members:


  • A modeling analysis of the sustainability of ecotourism in Belize by DM Blersch & PC Kangas, 2012
  • A comparative study of local perceptions of ecotourism and conservation at Five Blues Lake National Park, Belize by PJ Holladay & AA Ormsby, 2011
  • Long term impacts of ecotourism on a Mayan rural community in Belize by DA Miller, 2011
  • The economic value and potential threats to marine ecotourism in Belize by AM Cisneros-Montemayor & UR Sumaila, 2011
  • Cruise ship tourism in Belize: The implications of developing cruise ship tourism in an ecotourism destination by A Diedrich, 2010
  • The elements of a conservation botanic garden for eco tourism: Belize Botanic Garden as a case study by PA Kumble & CC Houston, 2009
  • Community Residents’ Perceptions Of Ecotourism Impacts And Conservation Issues In Rural Creole Belize: A Case Study Of Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary by JB Haddle, 2005
  • Studying the Role of Indigenous and Traditional Women in Conservation and Ecotourism in Belize by J Dudney, 2005
  • The Role of Traditional and Indigenous Women in Ecotourism in Belize by B Johnston, 2005
  • The Role Of Training For Eco-tourism In Belize by S Yearwood, 2002
  • Case study: tourism and biodiversity: ecotourism-a sustainable development tool, a case for Belize by W Pat, 2001
  • Engendering ecotourism: analysing the participation of rural women in ecotourism in Belize by CA Redmond, 2001
  • Shadow players: Ecotourism development, corruption and state politics in Belize by R Duffy, 2000
  • The meaning of the manatee: An examination of community-based ecotourism discourse and practice in Gales Point, Belize by JM Belsky, 2000
  • Community-based ecotourism development on the periphery of Belize by DJ Timothy & K White, 1999
  • Tropical forest ecotourism: two promising projects in Belize by JM Edington, MA Edington & MJ Stabler, 1997
  • Ecotourism questioned: Case studies from Belize by K Lindberg, J Enriquez & K Sproule, 1996
  • Economics of an ecotourism operation in Belize by P Kangas, M Shave & P Shave, 1995
  • Ecotourism and community development: a view from Belize by RH Horwich, D Murray, E Saqui & J Lyon, 1993

Belize Data