EXPERIENCE the diversity of the vast land, sea, and people in Belize
- DATE: MARCH 2018
- 15 day trip
- Coming soon…Stay tuned
Ancient Mayan Ruins look out over vast expanses of tropical rain forests. The magnificent beaks of toucans and vibrant plumage of scarlet macaws flash brightly against the myriad greens of strangling figs and cohune palm trees. Howler monkeys call and swing playfully in the branches overhead.
This is Belize. A tiny country tucked between Mexico to the north, Guatemala to the west and to the east, the warm waters of the Caribbean. Little bigger than the state of Massachusetts, Belize is home to a wealth of biodiversity and roughly a quarter of the area within its borders is under some kind of environmental protection.
Along the coastline, waves crash against sparkling beaches. Sea cows float through mangroves and further out into the ocean, a whale shark glides past the corals of the barrier reef filtering plankton from a glimmering expanse of blue.
Diversity in this country doesn’t stop with its forests. The people who share the land come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds including Creole, Garifuna, Mestizo, East Indian, and Chinese. But the first to inhabit Belize were the Maya who began cultivating a rich and complex civilization thousands of years ago. Relics of that civilization abound in places like Tikal, Copan and Caracol, but the Maya people are alive and well today, still practicing subsistence agriculture throughout the mountains of central and southern Belize.
Gogi students will have the opportunity to explore the incredible natural and cultural history of this Caribbean gem during a two-week trip that will focus on tropical biodiversity, Mayan archeology and service learning. Our focus on biodiversity will bring us on an exploration of the rainforests surrounding Punta Gorda, snorkeling and scuba diving the Belize barrier reef, and kayaking through the mangrove ecosystems off the coast of Placencia. We will visit Maya archeological sites from the town of San Ignacio in the heart of the Maya Mountains. For our service learning work we’ll be partnering with the NGO Sustainable Harvest International, an organization dedicated to helping subsistence farming families in Belize by giving them the tools to practice organic farming and agroforestry as alternatives to slash and burn agriculture.
Through this trip, Gogi students will experience the beauty of tropical ecosystems and the value of protecting these critical natural resources. They will explore an ancient culture whose mark was powerful
throughout all of Central America. They will have an opportunity to learn from people who share an essential connection with the land on which they depend for food. Finally, our students will have an opportunity to experience the wonderful satisfaction that comes from giving their time and energy to those who have less than we do.