What’s the most exciting thing you’re doing this year?

Learn to SCUBA dive on the Belize Barrier Reef World Heritage Site. Contribute to real success stories in sea turtle protection, jaguar conservation, coral reef management, reforestation, and more with this exciting conservation volunteer opportunity. Experience a unique combination of tropical environments, from lush rainforests through rolling savannas to vibrant coral reefs, and play a part in keeping them healthy. Learn from leaders in the field and take part in programs that are making a real contribution to remarkable places and the people who depend on them. Work alongside friendly Belizean conservationists who care passionately about the places you’ll discover. Immerse yourself in the Belizean way of life – learn to go slow, reconnect with nature, and get inspired in this peaceful English-speaking Caribbean country in Central America. With options from one to eight weeks or more, Ridge to Reef Expeditions attracts gap-year students, graduates, retirees and professionals alike.

Contribute to real conservation programs

Ridge to Reef Expeditions is designed and run by the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE), an international award-winning Belizean non-profit organization. TIDE manages three protected areas in partnership with the Government of Belize and takes a community-centered approach to conservation. All our volunteer activities support the management of these protected areas and the landscape and communities around.

Because Ridge to Reef Expeditions is real world conservation – not a safari or a conservation theme park – our activities require a degree of skill and concentration. At times, you will sweat! At the same time, expeditions to save the world should be fun! So we have designed all our activities with both conservation impact and enjoyment in mind. We provide full theoretical and practical training, including SCUBA certification (PADI Open Water and PADI Advanced Open Water Diver).

  • SCUBA

    The Port Honduras Marine Reserve contains some the healthiest coral reefs in the entire Mesoamerican Reef and we want to keep them that way. Learn to SCUBA dive, identify corals, fish and other reef species, and how to conduct underwater surveys. Then apply your new skills to gather important data on reef health while experiencing this spectacular underwater environment.

  • Lionfish management

    Lionfish are an invasive species in the Caribbean. With a voracious appetite and lacking natural predators, they are a major new threat to native species.

  • Sea Turtle Conservation

    Protect endangered sea turtles by taking part in:
    – Night time beach patrols to discover females laying eggs
    – Safely relocating nests in danger
    – Beach profiling to monitor erosion, a major threat

  • Forest fauna monitoring

    TIDE uses survey techniques and motion-activated cameras to monitor forest mammals and birds, including jaguars, tapirs, toucans and parrots. You will learn to identify mammals by their tracks and birds by sight and sound.

  • Reforestation Initiatives

    Healthy riverbanks not only provide habitats for species like the critically endangered Central American river turtle, they also play a crucial role in protecting the coral reef by filtering water and preventing soil erosion.

These activities are just the tip of the iceberg. Click here to view the full range of volunteer activities

Live in a little piece of paradise

belize04

Belize is a small but incredibly diverse country, biologically and culturally. With 65 protected areas, over 60% forest cover and the second longest barrier reef in the world, it is a haven for wildlife and probably the most pristine country in the entire Mesoamerican biodiversity hotspot.

Our expeditions are based out of several stunning locations in Belize’s wildest and most remote district, Toledo, sometimes referred to as “the forgotten district”.

At all locations, local chefs cook three hearty meals a day to fuel your adventure, made from local ingredients and seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Immerse yourself in the nature and culture of “the forgotten district”

On expedition, weekdays are for conservation activities and weekends are for pure pleasure. Each weekend, one day is set aside as free time.

The other is a day trip to explore one of Toledo’s little-known attractions, like swimming into Blue Creek Caves, diving the spectacular underwater drop-offs at the Sapodilla Cayes, visiting ancient Maya ruins at Lubantunn and Nim Li Punit, river-tubing down the Rio Grande, drumming Kriol-style, learning how to make chocolate the Maya way and sampling some of the finest chocolate in the world, to name a few.

You’ll get to know Belize like no ordinary traveler, make friends with locals and explore corners of this country that the guidebooks don’t even know about!

What other Ridge to Reefers had to say

  • “I found the whole experience simply amazing! From this experience I have gained an understanding of a totally new country, culture and way of life, as well as an insight into the way TIDE works.”

    Matt U.
    UK, 2014.
  • “My 9 weeks spent with TIDE have been one of the most enriching and enjoyable experiences of my life. I can’t recommend the experience enough and hope one day I get to do it again.”

    Hannah Holah
    UK, 2014.
  • “This summer has provided all of us with a first-hand view of how conservation works when it’s done well. The organization’s dedication, not just to the environment, but to the community as well, is inspiring.”

    Hanna Johnson
    USA, 2014.
  • “It has been by far the best two months of my life…”

    Emma Ashton
    UK, 2014

Find out more about dates and prices!

Choose the Ridge to Reef experience for you

Team expeditions

Join a team of six to twelve international volunteers plus Belizean and international support staff. Expeditions are four to eight weeks long and provide a mix of conservation work, adventure, and Belizean cultural experiences, as described above. Team expeditions are for those who would like to volunteer alongside like-minded international people as well as Belizeans. Click to view a sample itinerary.

Individual placements

Join TIDE’s research team, ranger teams and/or environmental education team, working alongside local Belizean staff members, and sometimes one or more international volunteers. Individual placements are available for one or more weeks and give you the most authentic experience of working for a conservation NGO.

Study-abroad programs

We work with professors to tailor service-learning programs and field courses to their students’ needs. Please enquire.

Could this be what you’ve been looking for?