Belize

Caribbean Reef Conservation

$5,695

*Airfare for group flight from Miami additional

15 days

Trip duration

9th – 12th

Grades

15 days

June 24 - July 8, 2024

(Limited availability)

July 13 - July 27, 2024

(Current Waitlist)

Miami, FL

Arrival & Departure

$5,695

Tuition

15 days

Trip duration

June 24 - July 8, 2024

(Limited availability)

July 13 - July 27, 2024

(Current Waitlist)

9th – 12th

Grades

*Airfare for group flight from Miami additional

Overview

Embark on an unforgettable student travel adventure designed to offer experiential education like no other. Dive into the world of adventure education and explore the breathtaking landscapes and marine wonders of a tropical paradise. Immerse yourself in the heart of Belize, a land of incredible opportunities for summer programs. During your two-week journey, you have the chance to earn your SCUBA certification or advance your existing diving skills amidst the awe-inspiring beauty of the Belize Barrier Reef World Heritage Site. Join forces with marine researchers as they diligently work to preserve this precious ecosystem, combating the invasive lionfish, conducting vital reef health checks, and monitoring the local wildlife populations.

Your adventure doesn’t stop at the ocean’s edge; venture to the Mayan city of Xunantunich, where ancient temples and palaces whisper tales of a unique civilization. Dive deep into Maya history and culture. Experience the tranquility of a remote ecolodge nestled within a lush and vibrant jungle, a sanctuary for native wildlife. Relax in comfortable accommodations and spend your free time snorkeling in the crystal-clear tropical waters around our private Belize island. Or simply unwind in a hammock beneath the swaying palms, basking in the perfect blend of marine biology, culture, and adventure.

Highlights

  • Help Protect the Largest Barrier Reef in the Western Hemisphere by Removing Invasive Lionfish
  • Earn Your PADI Open Water or Advanced Open Water SCUBA Certification on a Private Caribbean Island
  • Participate in Marine Biology Activities Let By Local Experts, Including Reef Fish Identification and Coral Reef Health Checks
  • Visit the Ancient Xunantunich Mayan Ruins and Learn More About the Culture and History of the Maya Civilization
  • Help Biologists Working to Protect the Habitat of Endangered Crocodiles and Manatees
  • Snorkel Amongst Sea Turtles, Nurse Sharks, Eagle Rays, and Other Wildlife at Laughing Bird Caye National Park
  • Journey Into the Rainforest For a Refreshing Swim in the Tropical Waters of the Maya King Waterfall
  • 16 Hours of Marine Conservation Service Work

Get the itinerary

Cultural Immersion

Take in a spectacular panoramic view of the sprawling jungles around Belize’s ancient Mayan ruins and archeological site, Xunantunich and learn about the Mayan civilization that once inhabited these areas. Enjoy authentic Belizean culture in the small coastal village of Placencia, full of vibrant merchants and local artwork, mingling with friendly locals. Taste delicious local meals influenced by Belize’s Creole, Spanish, and Mayan history.

Jungle

Culture

Marine Wildlife Conservation

Join with a local non-profit organization on a mission to protect our oceans through science, action, and advocacy. Participate in an invasive lionfish eradication project to help protect fragile coral reef habitats while learning about the importance of coral reefs and why they are at risk. Help clean up plastic and debris pollution, and join wildlife researchers working to conserve American crocodiles. If you’re lucky, you may even see a nesting sea turtle or help hatching baby turtles make it to the ocean!

Marine Conservation

Wildlife

SCUBA Diving Certification

For those interested, earn your PADI diving certification, and practice SCUBA skills under the guidance of highly trained dive instructors. If you are already certified, explore the option of earning your PADI Advanced Open Water certification, or jump directly into assisting the divers with the spotlight project and marine research topics. Snorkel through the crystal clear waters of Laughing Bird Caye National park or take a refreshing swim in a nearby waterfall in the forest. Spend five days on a private Caribbean island with just your fellow ARCC students!

SCUBA

Snorkel

Common Questions

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We are one of the few organizations that run marine conservation-focused summer programs for teenagers in Belize. This trip is perfect for students who want to spend a summer learning about marine biology while contributing to important conservation efforts and earning a dive certification, or improve existing dive skills.

While there is a large amount of scuba diving on this program, you do not need to be previously certified in order to participate. Students have the option to complete either their PADI Open Water or Advanced Open Water Certification on the island. Students who are new to diving will complete the PADI online eLearning portion of the certification prior to the program, and will then complete the practical skills section on the island. If you’re already certified, you can either earn your Advanced Open Water* (AOW) certification on the island, or jump directly into the marine conservation projects.

Absolutely! The conservation project is simple and straight-forward and the island staff will teach you all you need to know to help the guides with the lionfish project. You will have a unique opportunity to learn about and help conserve the marine environment while also having a fun experience. This trip is for both experienced and non-experienced divers, scientists and non-scientists alike — everyone makes a contribution regardless of their background and experience.

Each program has a specific packing list that has been designed to fit the program’s activities, length, climate, and culture. You will receive this packing list in the comprehensive Welcome Packet that is sent to all students after they enroll in a program.

Belizean cuisine showcases a mixture of many regional traditions and food habits, with major influences from Mexican, Caribbean, and Mayan culinary methods. We will have the opportunity to sample traditional local cuisine such as beans, rice, chicken and tropical fruit.

Vegetarians and medical dietary requirements (i.e., allergies) are catered for. We do need to be informed of all dietary needs prior to the start of the program.

We will be using a variety of transportation methods, including shuttles, vans and boats. Our partner organization will provide a private boat to take the group to and from the private island.

Yes, all students traveling to Belize need to have a valid passport. Please make sure the passport expiration date is at least six months after your program start date.

Be sure to make a photocopy of your passport and keep it in a separate place. If you lose your passport and you have a photocopy, it is much easier to replace.

US and Canadian Citizens do not need a visa for this program.

Visa requirements for other countries vary by country; please consult the Belize Immigration website to see if your specific country requires a Belize entry visa.

Belize is in the Central Standard Time (CST) zone and is six hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (UTC-6:00). There is no daylight savings in Belize, so during daylight saving in the U.S., the time in Belize is the same as Mountain Time (MT).

The weather is a lot like Florida in the summer. During the day it can be hot, sunny, and humid, especially in the jungle areas near the Mayan ruins. The temperature on the coast is typically cooler. The average daily high temperature is in the high 80s with lows in the high 70s. Late afternoons often bring showers, which help cool us off.

There will be opportunities for showers almost every day during the program. There will not be an opportunity to do machine laundry on the program, but students are welcome to handwash and airdry their personal clothing. For ease of travel, quick dry clothes are recommended on the packing list.

Belize is a relatively clean and safe place to travel. However, ARCC does recommend that you take some health precautions before your program. When you enroll in the program, you will receive more detailed information on pertinent travel vaccinations and immunizations. We base all health precautions on recommendations of the U.S. Center for Disease Control; you can find more information in the Traveler’s Health section of the CDC website. Our leaders carry a full first-aid kit and are all certified Wilderness First Responders (WFR).

Although you will not be doing traditional backpacking on this trip, it is important that you bring a backpack or duffel as your main piece of luggage. During the trip the group will be navigating through airports, getting on and off boats, and taking short walks. The group will be able to move much more efficiently if everyone is able to carry their luggage.

No. English is the official language of Belize. Spanish is the second most popular language, and many Belizeans are bilingual.

We suggest you bring about $75 per week on your program. This is for airline baggage fees, personal souvenirs, clinic visits, and other incidentals. ARCC pays for all meals, lodging, transportation and activities. There is some time to shop for souvenirs in Placencia. We recommend you bring about half your money in cash and the other half on a credit card.

In Belize the official currency is the Belize Dollar. US dollars are interchangeable with Belize dollars, but US coins are not accepted (they will also not accept US bills with any marks or tears, so check bills closely). We suggest that you carry about $50 of your money in small denominations ($1, $5, and $10 USD).

Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted, and ATMs are available in Placencia. We do not recommend debit cards, prepaid credit cards, or traveler’s checks. As with any international program, we strongly recommend talking to your bank about its international withdrawal policies to avoid any surprise fees or card cancellations.

Have questions? Speak to one of our Program Directors, give them a call at (415) 332.5075 , they love talking about their trips!

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