How to be an eco-traveler
Belize is often praised for its undisturbed flora and fauna; with untamed rainforests and ‘no-take’ marine zones, it only makes sense the green country encourages its visitors to take care of Mother Nature as well. As the term ‘ecotourism’ gets thrown around more and more in the industry, travelers should become aware of how to lessen their carbon footprint when visiting our ‘eco-first’ country.
The International Ecotourism Society defines ecotourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of local people, and involves interpretation and education.” With Belize proposing to phase out plastics by 2019, expanding ‘no-take’ marine zones’ and banning offshore drilling, visitors can follow in the green footsteps by undertaking these tips.
Tips on Eco-traveling:
- Public transportation. Belize has no shortage of local buses that run all across the country for a few bucks. Instead of renting a car and burning more fuel, opt to ride a bus that can take you to your destination – should be easy since everything in Belize is close to each other!
- BYOB. The last “B” here stands for bottle. Help reduce the use of plastics by bringing your own water bottle and filling up at your hotel or restaurants.
- Ask for Biodegradable Silverware. More Belizean restaurants are taking the initiative of not using plastic silverware. Instead, patrons are encouraged to skip out on the (unnecessary) straw. Another option is asking if the restaurant has reusable straws (like a bamboo straw) or biodegradable ones.
- Turn off everything before leaving. This not only applies before you leave for vacation, but even in your hotels. Stepping out for some waterfall-hiking? Turn off your hotel room A/C. The Caribbean breeze from your window is much better anyway!
- Reuse what you can. In hotels, try reusing your towels to save water. You can also bring reusable clothes; who needs 26 pairs of bikinis anyway?
- Volun-tourism. One way to be certain your carbon footprint is being eliminated is visiting Belize for volunteering reasons. Whether enrolling in a marine biology program or helping build schools in Maya villages, you’ll know you’ll be making a difference.
- Bike Tours. On top of saving on carbon emissions, bike tours are also quite fun and you get to see so much more than just whizzing by on a car.
- Visit Nature Preserves. Belize is teeming with nature parks; from jaguar preserves to baboon sanctuaries, plan your agenda around undisturbed national parks that leave the environment the way it should be.
- Don’t purchase artifacts. With Belize having unbelievable history and a rich culture, it’s no surprise many people want to take more than just memories back home with them. Make sure to avoid buying any authentic Maya artifacts or pieces of corals. It goes without saying this damages the environment greatly, so let’s make sure the beauty remains where it should: in the wild!
There are many ways to make sure Belize remains at its utmost au naturel potential. For more information on ecotourism or planning your Belize Vacation, feel free to email us at [email protected] or call us toll-free at 1-800-624-0686.