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. The ocean is a haven for marine life, with the world’s second longest barrier reef, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, running the entire length of the coast, and hundreds of sandy cayes and mangrove systems supporting fish nurseries.
Belize is also a melting pot of cultural diversity, with Maya, Creole, Garifuna, Mestizo, Mennonite, East Indian and Chinese communities. The small country’s rich history includes ancient ruins and artifacts from the Maya civilization, as well as shipwrecks from the days when British pirates used to ambush Spanish galleons as they set sail from Guatemala laden with silver and gold.
Once part of the British Empire, the official language is English, although several other languages are commonly spoken, including Spanish, two Maya languages, Garifuna and Creole. With a population of just 341,000 in 2014, Belize has the lowest population density in all of Central America, part of the reason why it still has its natural beauty and peaceful way of life.
Toledo District in the south is Belize’s least developed, wildest district. It is one of the few places left in Mesoamerica where you can still see unbroken forest stretching from horizon to horizon. It is in this district that TIDE works in the area between the Maya Mountain Massif and the coral reefs of the Snake Cayes.
The Toledo District has a wealth of incredible but little-known attractions. Highlights include swimming into the flooded caves at Blue Creek, zip-lining over the Rio Grande, diving the spectacular underwater drop-off at the Sapodilla Cayes, visiting Maya ruins at Lubantuun and Nim Li Punit, and learning to make chocolate the Maya way, which includes everything from picking the cacao pods through tasting the delicious end product!
As part of your R2R expedition, you will be able to experience these things, and more, on weekly tours with our local guides. Watch this video to get a glimpse of just some of what your weekends have in store!