Volunteer in Belize
Hands-on ocean conservation on a picture perfect Caribbean island located on the Belize Barrier Reef in the Sapodilla Marine Reserve Park in Belize.
Volunteer Projects and Internships in Belize
Dive fanatics and lovers of tropical islands, we have a surprise in store for you. Get your diving gear together and volunteer for a program in Belize as you contribute to the conservation of this well-kept secret. Discover what lies beneath the clear blue surface of the Caribbean sea while you catch a glimpse of a whale shark or admire the second largest coral reef on our planet. Prepare for a mix of Mayan culture, jungles, and Caribbean beach life that will take your breath away. Get to know the local community and let your volunteer adventures begin!
Belize has a unique ecosystem boasting a mix of jungle and marine life. Most programs focus on helping the communities of Belize with conservation projects to maintain its delicate ecosystem both on land and at sea.
Before we continue with the volunteer programs, let’s take a closer look at some interesting facts that will give a better idea of where you’ll be volunteering:
- The tallest building in Belize is a Mayan temple.
- There are no McDonalds, Burger King, Starbucks, or KFC in Belize.
- Belize is the only country in South America where the official language is English. You will, however, hear a mix of Creole, Spanish, Garifuna and Mayan on the streets.
- The islands of Belize are called keys. There are about 450 surrounding Belize.
- Belize is home to the Great Blue Hole which is the world’s largest sea sinkhole. It’s a huge depression in the middle of the sea.
🇧🇿️ Why Volunteer in Belize?
Belize offers an exciting mix of jungles, beaches, and Mayan culture. Travel and volunteer in Belize and get to know this Caribbean gem.
Work with volunteer organizations in Belize and take this chance to connect with the local community and support ongoing efforts to protect Belize’s ecosystem. Volunteers who love nature will be thrilled to volunteer with marine life or contribute to an agroforestry project in the jungle.
🤿 How to Volunteer for Marine Conservation in Belize
Most conservation volunteering programs are focused on supporting marine life. This requires diving and snorkeling in Belize. Admirers of coral reefs and other marine life will be in heaven when volunteering for marine conservation work in this Caribbean treasure. Learn more about conservation methodology and observe the diverse sea life of the region.
One of the main aims of marine life projects is to support its ecological balance. Among other things, you will help keep Caribbean waters in ecological balance by removing invasive species such as Lionfish.
Join a conservation project abroad and learn all about the coral reefs and its inhabitants. Some of the other tasks you’ll be involved in are:
- observing certain species and collecting data on them
- protecting species like lobster, the queen conch (a giant marine mollusk), coral, and the reef
- raising awareness among locals about the threats of overfishing and the importance of marine conservation and ecological balance.
Volunteers will need to be able to dive but you can learn this on the volunteer program.
🐳 How to Volunteer for Whale Shark Conservation in Belize
Learn all about the famous whale shark in Belize. Did you know this is a giant fish and not a whale? They’re the gentle giants of the sea and like many large marine animals, they are an endangered species. They’re threatened by:
- boat traffic
Help protect the whale shark by giving the volunteer project your support. Some of the tasks a Belize whale shark conservation volunteer will be involved in are:
- Collecting data
- Taking pictures to update the database
- Ocean cleanup
- Observing the whale sharks and recording their behavior
🦛 How to Volunteer for Manatee Conservation in Belize
Manatees are listed as vulnerable creatures by the IUCN. The main reasons for their vulnerable state are:
- Habitat disturbance and degradation
- Climate change and
Support a Manatee conservation project in Belize and witness this relative of the elephant, in real-time. Here are some of the tasks you’ll be involved in if you decide to volunteer with Manatees in Belize:
- Record manatee sightings and behaviors in relation to human disturbance and environmental factors.
- Explore, map, and monitor seagrass beds for manatees and other species that rely on these habitats.
- Survey and monitor coral reef habitats, populations of reef fish, commercially and ecologically important invertebrate species, and if you’re lucky, even local shark populations.
🤿 How to Volunteer and Dive in Belize
Volunteers looking to combine their passion for diving with meaningful work will find a number of diving volunteer opportunities in Belize. Even those who don’t know how to dive can join a marine conservation project and learn to dive.
Whether you’re protecting marine life from invasive species or monitoring the behavior of the whale shark, your diving skills will be put to great use in Belize. Take this opportunity to admire the second largest coral reef in the world and protect this vulnerable ecosystem.
🌴 How to Volunteer for Agroforestry in Belize
Volunteers who are drawn to Belize but prefer to keep it dry can help in agroforestry or a sustainable farming project. Learn the ins and outs of sustainable farming and what it takes to farm one of the world’s most precious crops, cacao! Experience all of this while you bask in the magical surroundings of Belize and work with the local community.
Most projects support marine life conservation or agroforestry in Belize. Nature-loving volunteers will definitely find a program that they like. Combine this with a warm and welcoming local community and this will be an opportunity of a lifetime for all volunteers!
👩🏽🏫 How to Teach English in Belize
Belize is one of the few countries in Central America where the main language is English. English teaching looking to gain volunteer experience abroad will find plenty of opportunities to teach English in other countries in Latin America.
🤑 How Much Does it Cost to Volunteer in Belize?
The suggested daily budget for living and volunteering in Belize is between US$ 20 and US$60. This is an estimate made considering the local average price of some of the goods and services volunteers may need. This general overview can help you prepare and save for your volunteer program abroad.
Your accommodation is usually provided by the organization, so take this into account.
Additional costs to consider are:
- program fees
- flight tickets (find cheap flights to Belize)
- travel insurance (find your travel insurance)
- fees for your visa
- personal expenses
💲 Can I Volunteer in Belize for Free?
All volunteer programs in Belize require a fee. The fee is mainly used to cover the costs of your accommodation and in some cases to support the activities of your volunteer organization. Check out the program page to find out what exactly is included during your stay.
You can use our budget filter to find volunteer programs that are within your budget. If you have any difficulties with this, you can always contact our live chat team who will be happy to help you out.
💡 Good to Know Before you Volunteer Abroad in Belize
Before starting your volunteer program in Belize, there are a few things to think about:
Culture and Etiquette
- Belizeans are generally welcoming of tourists. The country is quite conservative so tourists wearing revealing clothing will be looked down on, particularly in Belize’s many churches.
- When approaching Belizeans, it’s best to be friendly, relaxed, and patient. Women travelers may receive advances from local men; walking away while flashing a quick smile and a wave usually gets the message across.
- Belizeans aren’t very accepting of homosexuality and aren’t open about sexual orientation. Though it is unlikely that locals will express disapproval, it is a good idea to avoid public displays of affection.
Money and Payment
- Credit cards are accepted in most places and are safer than carrying around a lot of cash. Make sure to bring cash to remote places. Check whether your destination has an ATM.
- Belizeans rarely tip, however, foreigners are usually expected to tip around ten percent in taxis and in restaurants. Haggling is uncommon in Belize and considered rude, except at street markets.
🦺 Is it Safe to Volunteer in Belize?
Before embarking on your international volunteer abroad experience in Belize, there are a few things you may want to take into account:
- Make sure you have international travel insurance for the time you are away. This is easy to come by and will ensure you are covered.
- Take copies of your passport and credit cards and store them separately, just in case.
- Belize is a safe country. But just like all major cities, don’t walk alone in secluded areas, don’t flash cash, high-value electronics, and don’t get excessively drunk.
- The only crime you might experience (mostly in large cities) is theft in crowded places or on public transport. Pay attention to your wallet, especially on the buses or trains, and do not leave it exposed.
- Using or selling drugs is strictly prohibited in Belize.
- Avoid hitchhiking and accepting rides from strangers.
- Carry a basic first-aid kit in case of emergencies.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or expensive jewelry.
- Don’t leave your luggage or other personal belongings unattended.
- The weather can be extreme so be sure to pack the right gear for all weather types. Sunblock for sunny weather but proper rain gear and shoes in case you will be out hiking.
- When you go hiking, always inform someone about your whereabouts before leaving.
- Police hotline: 911
- BERT (Belize Emergency Response Team – certified ambulance and tourist evacuation service): 90 or 223-3292
Belize is a developing country with reasonable health facilities. To make your stay at the volunteer program as enjoyable as possible, take into account the following health tips:
- Avoid drinking tap water.
- The US based health protection agency CDC recommends getting Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccines, both to protect against contamination from water or food.
- You should avoid mosquito bites to prevent malaria, although the risk of acquiring it is low. Consider getting a malaria shot if you are staying somewhere that has a lot of mosquitos.
- Protect yourself against the strong because volunteer work in Belize will be outdoors!
- If you have any health problems or take medication, be sure to bring the medication along with the prescription with you.
We’re sure you’re ready to pack your bags and volunteer abroad at one of the programs in Belize. Here are some packing essentials:
- Travel Insurance
- Money, cards, credit cards
- In Belize, the power sockets are of type A, B, and G. The standard voltage is 110 / 220 V and the standard frequency is 60 Hz.
- Waterproof phone case to protect against dust, scratches, and water
- Water shoes for spending time at or around the beach
- Personal medication, first-aid kit
- Sun hat
- Quick-dry towels
- Suitable footwear for hiking etc
As there are a lot of other things to do in Belize, you should definitely check out some of the local attractions when you travel to Belize.
🕵🏽♀️ Who Can Volunteer in Belize?
Each volunteer project expects different skills and abilities from their volunteers. You can find the specific requirements for each project on the program page of the Volunteer projects. Here are some general requirements that apply to most volunteer projects abroad:
- Volunteers need to be at least 18 years old for most of the volunteer projects. When in doubt, we advise you to get in contact with the local project manager, as in some projects will accept volunteers from the age of 16.
- You need to have basic English skills to do volunteer work in Belize.
- Depending on the project you're interested in, you might need to provide a criminal background check and a health declaration before volunteering.
🛂 Do I Need a Visa to Volunteer in Belize?
The following information is based on a best practice approach, which has been made in cooperation with several volunteer organizations. Please make sure to discuss your visa requirements with your contact person at Volunteer World. If in doubt, we also recommend getting in touch with the Belizean embassy in your country.
General Immigration Information
There are some general requirements volunteers in Belize should comply with:
- Your passport should be valid at least 3 months after your return date. We strongly recommend traveling with 6 months validity on your passport at all times.
- Make sure your passport has at least two blank Visa pages. Belize requires you to have adequate unused pages in your passport.
- Please check if a transit visa is required for any connections.
- Make sure to be in possession of a valid return ticket.
Most citizens don’t require a visa to enter Belize. As of 2018, individuals with valid USA or Schengen Treaty Visas in their passports, as well as individuals with valid US residency, do not require a visa to travel to Belize. Volunteers carrying this passport can stay for a month.
Citizens of countries requiring a visa need to obtain this prior to coming to Belize.
Best Practice for Short-Term Volunteers
People from visa waiver countries that want to volunteer abroad in Belize can volunteer for 1 month without a visa. You will need to prove you are a visitor through your return ticket and have sufficient money for your stay.
Citizens from countries that are not on the visa waiver list can apply for a visitor visa and will need to arrange this before leaving for Belize. You can easily check if you come from a visa waiver country on Belize's immigration website.
Best Practice for Long-Term Volunteers
If you are volunteering for longer than 1 month, you’ll need to go to the Immigration Department office in Belize City, Belmopan, or one of the outlying districts, for a visa extension. It’s best to discuss this with your volunteer organization.
Travel to Belize for an unforgettable volunteer adventure. Especially those who like spending time by the sea are in for a pleasant surprise. Support the environment and the local community by teaching them the importance of conservation efforts.
There are plenty of volunteer opportunities in Belize waiting for your help. We are also here to support you in finding the right volunteer project in Belize.