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Biodiversity in Belize

Belize might be small, but its biodiversity is vast. From the rolling green hills and dense rainforests to the ocean floor, discover the beautiful, diverse, and sometimes surprising flora and fauna that make Belize a unique destination for scientists and adventurers of all kinds. 





Let’s get the paperwork out of the way so we can focus on the fun stuff. Your passport must:

·       be valid for at least six months after your return.

·       match your name and birthday on file with EF.

·       have three blank pages available.

Non-US citizens may require a visa—visit to see if you need one.

Traveler tip: Make two photocopies of your passport - one to bring with you and one to leave at home.

Not to sound cliché, but we can’t say this enough: pack light! Check with your airline to see what size bags they allow to avoid paying any fees.

Most travelers find it easiest to go without checking bag. Here are some tips for getting as much as possible into that carry-on suitcase:

  • Wear your bulkiest shoes on the plane and pack the lighter ones. Same thing goes for jackets and heavier clothing.

  • Packing cubes or vacuum seal bags can save space and help you stay organized.

  • Make the most of your personal item by using a tote bag or backpack that you can reuse throughout the trip.

  • Roll your clothes instead of folding them. Pack the bigger items first and use smaller items like socks and underwear to fill in the gaps.

To see a full packing list, check out our Pocket Guide to Expert Travel. Just make sure you don’t forget these: 

  • Passport—bring a photo copy and leave one at home too

  • Visa (if applicable)

  • ATM card and credit card

  • Entertainment for the plane and travel days

  • Purse or small day bag with a zipper 

  • Converter/adapter for any electronics

  • Toiletries

  • Washcloth—optional, but they aren’t always available

  • Medications and a copy of any prescriptions*

  • Comfortable, casual clothingcheck the weather before you pack!

  • Dressier outfit

  • Raincoat and umbrella

  • Reusable water bottle

  • Comfortable walking shoes—for example, one pair of sneakers and one pair of sandals

  • Warm layers

  • EF's emergency numbers

    • ​Calling from within the US: 1-800-873-2250

    • Calling from abroad: 001-617-619-2913

  • Comfortable, casual clothing in breathable, lightweight fabrics.

  • Bathing suit

  • Comfortable shoes like hiking boots and waterproof sandals

  • Hat, reef-safe sunscreen, and bug spray

  • Dry pack

  • Quick-dry towel

*All medications should be in their original containers. Put medications in your carry-on bag only, in case a checked bag gets lost or delayed.

Traveler tip: The weather in Belize can be unpredictable - it may be pouring rain one minute and hot and sunny the next, so pack layers and clothes that will keep you cool and dry. Additionally, because you will be close to the equator, the sun is extremely strong. Protect yourself from sunburns and heat stroke by drinking water and using sunscreen.

The best things in the world are free (like seeing the Mayan ruins up close). Still, a little spending money can go a long way while you're abroad:

  • Mo' money, less problems: Budget $20 to $30 per day for pocket money. This will cover three dinners, souvenirs, and additional activities. If you’re an especially avid souvenir hunter, you’ll want to give yourself more wiggle room—financially and in your suitcase.

  • Currency: US Dollar. You can exchange money before you leave, but we recommend just withdrawing some cash from an ATM when you arrive.

  • Tips for tipping: We suggest $6-$8 per day for your Field Director. Your Group Leader will likely collect this money before you depart so that you can budget accordingly.

P.S. Be sure to let your bank know you’ll be traveling so they can put an alert on your account and inform you of any international fees.

Imagine it: you’ve finally arrived. It’s been a few hours since you left home, but your feet are firmly planted on the ground again. Today’s challenge? Fight off jetlag and make the most of the day.

Unless you arrive at night, be prepared to hit the ground running. Staying awake on arrival day is the best way to fight jet lag and adjust to any time difference. If there are other groups on your program, you may wait at the airport for them to arrive. To make things a bit easier:

  • Pack toiletries and a change of clothes in your carry-on for when you land.

  • Stay hydrated—it helps reduce jetlag.

  • Travel in comfort, not necessarily in style, and get as much sleep as you can on the flight before.

Your dedicated Field Director—a physical and cultural guide—will be with you throughout your program. Our Field Directors work tirelessly behind the scenes to coordinate logistics like managing reservations and making sure everything flows seamlessly, so that you can enjoy your time without sweating the details. They are there to acquaint you with each new city and make sure everyone is safe, confident, and making the most of every moment.

You’ll spend very little time at your hotel (mostly catching some sleep), but you should still be aware of where you’re staying and who you’re staying there with.

  • Hotel du jour: City-hopping means hotel-hopping, but don’t worry; each hotel is safe, clean, comfortable, and equipped with private bathrooms and conveniently located to the sites you'll be visiting.

  • What to expect: Hotels abroad may feature smaller rooms than you’re used to and may not have air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, television, or elevators. All the more reason to get out and explore.

  • Roomies: Unless you have opted to upgrade your room, standard accommodations mean you’ll be rooming with two or three other people of the same gender, each with your own bed.  You may even take part in an exchange program—that is, rooming with a traveler(s) from another school in your group.

P.S  Belize is a leader in the eco-tourism movement, practicing eco-friendly hospitality with as little disruption as possible to the surrounding eco-system. Tropical conditions make insects and small animals (such as ants, mosquitoes, lizards, spiders and frogs) more prevalent.

Traveler tip: Electrical outlets in different countries may be different from the ones we're used to. Make sure you research what type of converter and/or adapter is needed for your travels!

You should expect food and portion size to be different than what you're accustomed to at home. Kick off each day with an included continental breakfast. All lunches and four dinners will be included, too.  We work with local restaurants to provide a pre-set plated meals inspired by the region, giving you the opportunity to experience authentic dishes. Other dinners are your opportunity to explore the cuisine as you see fit.

  • In Belize, expect to try fresh fruits, strong coffee and lots of rice and beans, typically with chicken or another meat each day. It is also common to see familiar foods in Belize like pasta and sandwiches.

Traveler tip: You should not drink the tap water, instead bottled water is available for purchase everywhere.  

Since teleportation hasn’t been invented yet, you’ll need these to get from point A to point B (and C and D and E).

  • Flights: Into and out of Belize City

  • Bus: Primary mode of transportation on the ground.

  • Motorboat: Transportation to and from snorkeling activity in Placencia.

  • Walking/hiking: Hands down the best way to explore a new place. Be ready to walk and hike a ton (we're talking 5-7 miles per day) to see as much as possible.

Traveler tip: Those prone to motion sickness or seasickness should consider bringing medicine for the motorboat.  

You will be covering a lot of ground in nine days, so this program will feel fast! In order to maximize your time each day, you will leave the hotel bright and early and return some time in the evening. Most days will be pretty packed with activities and there will be limited exploration time. You'll have a mix of time on the bus, walking, hiking and on a boat to get around. Be prepared to walk between 5-7 miles per day.

You'll spend 1-2 nights in each hotel before moving on to the next, meaning there’s no time to waste! Your group will hit the ground running in each new place.

Exploration time can vary depending on a few factors like the number of planned activities and general travel variables like traffic. How you spend your exploration time is entirely up to you, and your Field Director is a great resource for recommendations.

The rich culture, traditions and norms of Belize are influenced by ancient Mayan civilizations, British colonial influence, and Afro-Caribbean heritage.

The official language of Belize is English, but many other languages are spoken. Along the coast, you'll likely hear an English-based Creole. 

The people of Belize are friendly, polite and quite open to tourism. 

We’re here to help

Our team has heard it all so don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions. Call us at 877-485-4184 between Monday and Friday, 9:00am-5:30pm EST.