On a Ridge to Reef team expedition, join a team of 8-12 international volunteers for an intensive, fun filled, conservation adventure. Working and living alongside our local scientists, rangers and guides, the team participates in a range of conservation activities, from the ridges of the Maya Mountain Marine Corridor to the reefs of the Snake Cayes. Team expeditions also include PADI SCUBA training! See more about our activities here.
On team expeditions, volunteers spend time at the various field sites within the protected areas that TIDE manages. Volunteers experience diverse ecosystems, including tropical rainforests, pine savannas, rivers, mangroves, wetlands, seagrass beds, offshore cayes, and coral reefs. Meals are prepared by local cooks, giving you more time for conservation and adventure.
Five days per week are packed with conservation activities. Once a week, we run a trip to a local attraction – waterfalls, caves, river tubing, chocolate-making, pleasure dives, Kriol drumming lessons, zip-lining and more. And one day is set aside to relax and prepare for another exciting week ahead. Volunteers usually have the chance to visit Punta Gorda Town and use amenities there at least once a week.
Team expeditions allow you to experience the breadth of TIDE’s conservation work, and are ideal for those who wish to make friends with international volunteers and locals.
You can also speak with our former team volunteers via our Facebook group.
To find out when our upcoming team expeditions are scheduled – see out our Dates and Prices page.
“I felt privileged to be working as part of TIDE’s community research team conducting ongoing valuable monitoring and conservation work.”
Alison Shepherd, individual volunteer, 2014
Individual placements are perfect for those looking for a more personal experience, have more specific dates in mind, or are more at home in terrestrial environments.
Individual placements can be any duration, from one week upwards!
Suited to the independent traveller, the program is not a 24/7 schedule like the team expeditions are, and provides more time to relax or explore your own interests.
Individual placement volunteers will travel from their home base of Punta Gorda to one of our two terrestrial reserves (seasonally dependent) after lunch on Monday, where you will work with our ranger team until Friday morning when you will return to Punta Gorda. On Friday afternoons, we can arrange activities at TIDE headquarters for those who want to help even more – there is always something to do, be it data entry, a school visit or helping in our garden! Whilst in Punta Gorda, participants stay with a local homestay family with all meals provided, which is a great way to be immersed in local Belizean culture. Through the week during fieldwork, you will stay with rangers in our terrestrial bases where you can help with the daily tasks such as cooking.
During fieldwork, participants will join our terrestrial ranger teams as they go about their regular, ongoing conservation and research efforts. From tree planting and clearing fire lines, to parrot nest counts and amphibian monitoring, there are always things to do! Our terrestrial areas are busiest at different times of the year, so the season of your visit will determine which team you join. As well as our ranger team, you will be accompanied by a member of the R2R team, who is there to ensure you have fun and are able to make a really positive contribution to our work! When the ranger teams attend to an activity that volunteers cannot join, such as anti-poaching patrols, your R2R representative is there to ensure you keep busy with alternative conservation activities.
Working so closely with our field teams, individual volunteers gain an insight into the inner workings of a community-centered conservation NGO. With up to four spaces available at any one time, volunteers receive excellent, personalized training and support from TIDE’s enthusiastic team. However, you must be willing to be flexible and understand that the schedules are subject to change, sometimes at the last minute.
You can also speak with our former individual volunteers via our Facebook group.
Family / Group Expeditions
If you would like to share your experience with just your family or group of friends, this may be the option for you. For groups of four or more, we can design an itinerary tailored to your needs and interests. If there’s something you’re interested in – let us know, and we will work to create an itinerary that suits everyone in the group! Likewise, we can tailor activities to suit different ages and abilities. Contact us now for more information.
“My daughter and I had an amazing time on our expedition. I’d definitely recommend this to my friends for a unique and memorable family adventure.”
Doreen Garelick, 2015
University study abroad / service-learning programs
We work with professors to put together university-level study abroad and service-learning programs.
Belize is an amazing arena in which to study developing world environmental issues since it provides a microcosm of issues affecting tropical nations worldwide. It has a wealth of biodiversity, a poor and rapidly growing population, limited resources for environmental management, an enormous diversity of cultures including indigenous peoples, transboundary issues, proposed large development projects, and numerous other political, social, and environmental issues, including being one of the most highly exposed countries in the world to the projected impacts of climate change. At the same time, it is safe, English-speaking, and only a short flight from the US. These factors are attracting many university programs to Belize.
Ridge to Reef Expeditions is teaming up with universities to create unforgettable educational experiences. The professors take care of the academic schooling, while we take care of the logistics and enrich student learning with real-world experiences and stories gained through meaningful service-learning projects and conversations with local stakeholders and researchers.
If you are a university professor seeking to give students first-hand insights into real-world tropical conservation or to develop their cross-cultural, leadership and other skills, we would love to hear from you.