Payne’s Creek field station
This rustic field station is located in fragrant pine savannah by the banks of an intricate lagoon system where manatees are a common sight. Mammals and bird life are abundant, and endangered yellow-headed parrots your alarm clock! There is a comfortable, screened bunkhouse that sleeps twelve, a large kitchen and dining area, flushing toilets, solar power and plenty of open space for volleyball, football games or yoga after a day’s work. The field station is located in the heart of the peaceful Payne’s Creek National Park and gives good access to the Port Honduras Marine Reserve via a boat ride through the lagoon.
“During field work, Payne’s Creek was a great place to stay. I loved that it was stripped back to the basics and miles away from anyone else. Evenings were spent playing games, watching movies, and laying out on the nearby dock watching the stars – pure bliss!”
Emma Ashton, 2014.
Rio Grande Field Station
This field station is nestled in the jungle on the banks of the Rio Grande within the TIDE Private Protected Lands, approximately one mile from the Port Honduras Marine Reserve. Howler monkeys are your noisy neighbors and crocodiles can be seen sunning themselves on the riverbanks. Travelling upriver to the field station is described as being “like entering the Lost World”, and staying here is a great way to get back to nature. Your bed is a camping hammock – very comfortable, and the best way to really experience night in the jungle. The field station has a kitchen, outdoor dining area, composting toilets, shower and space for volleyball – a favorite with volunteers and staff before a hearty dinner!
“The riverside setting of the TIDE Private Protected Lands is beautiful. My highlights were watching the bird life on the riverbank, the open air shower after a hot day in the forest, and the time spent with the friendly, informative and fun rangers.”
Tom Irvine, 2015.
Abalone Caye Field Station
Abalone Caye is a small (and, unfortunately, shrinking!) island in the heart of the Port Honduras Marine Reserve. A lookout tower gives a breath-taking 3600 view of the reserve. Dolphins are seen in abundance during the daytime, and at night sparkling phospholuminescence in the sea often mirrors the brilliant Milky Way above. The station has a small kitchen, dining/classroom area, flushing toilet, shower and solar power. The station is used as a daytime dive base for our expedition teams. Our individual volunteers may also get the chance to pass by the caye for a visit, and meet our friendly marine ranger team whilst listening to the sounds of waves splashing on the shore!
“From the top of the lookout tower at Abalone Caye you can see the marine reserve in every direction and over 100 mangrove cayes – come and see how many you can count!”
Egbert Valencio, Head Ranger at Port Honduras Marine Reserve
The House at Big Falls
About a 30-minute drive from Punta Gorda is a beautiful house situated in 11 acres of former orange orchard. Here you can hear frogs “calling for rain” through the night and wake up to an abundance of birdlife. With comfortable bedrooms and bathrooms, a large kitchen-dining area, a sitting room and a screened porch where you can see nothing but forest before you, this is a perfect place to relax after a week in the field.
Within a couple of minutes, you can walk into Big Falls village, where there are small shops, a bar, an Internet café, and, if you’re feeling in the mood for luxury, an eco-lodge with a swimming pool available for a small fee. Our expedition teams often stay here at weekends.
“Located in a quaint village, this cozy home served as an excellent home away from home, and was always a welcome sight to see. I have fond memories of listening to the thunder storms, playing cards, hanging out in the hammocks and delicious R2R family dinners.”
Danielle Terry, 2014
Homestays in Punta Gorda
Living with a local family is the best way to immerse yourself in the local community and learn about the Belizean way of life. Our host families are chosen for their wonderful hospitality and care. Close to the TIDE office, your homestay family will provide you with three hearty meals a day, and your own bedroom and bathroom. You will be very comfortable and well looked after, and quickly become a part of the family! Individual volunteers stay in homestays when not out on fieldwork.
“My incredible host family went above and beyond in the care and support they offered, making me feel at home even on the other side of the Atlantic. I can’t recommend the experience enough and hope one day I get to do it again.”
Hannah Holah, 2014