Volunteer tourism, or “voluntourism” is one of the fastest-growing trends in travel today.
Many people are realizing the enormous potential to affect very real and positive change in the world through volunteer travel. One of the great things about volunteer vacations is having a chance to get to know the people in the country you are visiting and learning about their lives.
I would encourage everyone to volunteer travel, it can be as simple as bringing down school supplies or donating time towards a community project.
Find an incredible volunteer project anywhere in Belize. Here are a few good organizations I have blogged over the years. These groups can always use help be it in person or bringing down wish list items that will help them operate.
Dive in and Explore
Belize offers world-class diving with an incredible array of marine wildlife finding protection in Belize’s barrier reef. San Pedro Red Cross offers you a chance to get to know the community you are vacationing in.
Belize is an English-speaking country located just south of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula in Central America. Belize is 8,867 square miles but for its small size, the country offers endless adventures by air, land and sea.
A Volunteer Vacation in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize is one you will treasure always. Plus it’s a feel good, fun, way to learn about the country of Belize, it’s wonderful customs, people, with rich history.
Belize is home to the second-largest barrier reef but is quickly becoming the largest living reef in the world. The diving options are nearly endless on the thousands of finger canyons that go from the northern to the southern, tip of this beautiful country. With average depth visibility in excess of 100 feet, a wide array of fish, turtles, rays and coral life awaits you. San Pedro is the most popular dive destination in Belize. With 39 named dive sites along the coastline of Belize’s remarkable barrier reef that runs less than a mile offshore, you will be sure to get your fill of marine life viewing. Divers will see remarkable coral formations including canyons, grottos and tunnels that are teeming with abundant colorful sea life. Underwater photographers looking for that “National Geographic” shot are sure to be satisfied. Larger day trips are also available to the Blue Hole and Turneffe Atoll.
Your group can also enjoy a historical Belize adventure and explore breathtaking ancient Maya ruins. Most are on the mainland, but Ambergris Caye does have one official ruin. Located at the southern end of the island is the Marco Gonzalez Maya Site, the only one of 18 sites that are recognized to have protected status on the 25-mile long island.
After a day of volunteering in the community, there is nothing like a sunset cruise with breathtaking views of the island as you sail along the reef. Watch as the sun sets on the waters behind Ambergris Caye, and again the photo opportunities of beautiful Belize are almost endless.
The two pictures below are from 2 volunteer groups. Sperro to the left came and helped to do a large island-wide food drive to support our local food bank. The group on the right came from Florida to do an assessment of San Mateo neighborhood. It is an area lacking in proper infrastructure and needs help.
A Few non-profits on Ambergris Caye:
ACES Wildlife Rescue: A very important non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation and protection of Belize’s native wildlife and their critical habitats. They provide 24/7 emergency response to injured, ill, or orphaned wildlife. Great wildlife pictures on Aces Facebook Page.
Holy Cross Anglican School in San Pedro Belize was founded in 2006 to provide an education to over 425 of the islands poorest children. Before the school was founded, many of these children simply roamed the beaches, sold jewelry to tourists and had little hope of a brighter future. We started with a patch of lagoon and with the help of donations and teams of volunteer have built a school with 16 classrooms, a library, computer lab, dental clinic and a cafeteria. We also have a preschool. The children who come to holy cross are the poorest children on the island. Many come from San Mateo, a suburb where many families cannot access electricity or basic sanitation. Although their parents try to find work, many struggle simply to feed their families each week. Holy Cross Anglican School Facebook page.
6 thoughts on “Voluntourism”
I am happy to be able to provide you with a few options albeit you kind of hit the nail on the head when you mentioned bringing down supplies. There is always a need for school supplies for that matter, pretty much anything. Don’t underestimate a time or skills share donation either. Life here is very slow paced, so just be prepared. 🙂
Hope Haven – Belize is a Children’s shelter just getting going.
Sagebrush Church is always looking for volunteers at their “Pit Stop” ministry – where they fix bikes for kids and single moms (usually once per month) – They are also trying to start a transportation ministry (so golf carts and drivers are needed) to help folks actually get to the services on Sunday mornings. The Campus Pastor is Rafael Torrez – FB page Sagebrush Belize Campus
Just to list a few more… The Rotary Club of Ambergris Caye Belize, San Pedro Lions Club, Belize, San Pedro Cancer Society.
Thanks for your inquiry. The answer to your question really depends on what part of Belize you like to make your new home.
The Red Cross HQ is located in Belize City they can provide information on other branches. The San Pedro Branch is involved in Emergency Management as well as CPR/First Aid training and Blood Drives.
B.E.R.T. is probably the closest to anything (emergency medical wise) from the US – Assuming that is where you would be coming from – but it is only on the mainland.
NEMO is another site you can take a look at. I really do not know about the job prospects, however, there is an issue of a work permit to consider (possibly easier to get if you have an offer).
While we do have 24h medical options, there is no hospital or working ambulance on Ambergris Caye.
I am considering the move to Belize, sooner than later I expect and would be interested in the Red Cross. I have been employed as an Environmental Inspector for the Govt. and also have a background in Firefighting, and hold a degree in “Emergency Management”. I would be interested in volunteering but am also curious on actual job prospects in and around these fields. Thanks for your time…Cheers TC
Good day. I have just begun to research Belize, and have run across your article on Voluntourism and must say that it is more than interesting. Thank you for the information you provided, however I saw no ‘How To’ in your article. Is it possible for you to provide me with some additional information and possibly a point of contact? I am not sure at this point what skills I have to offer beyond being able to ‘bring down supplies’ donating time and muscle, but am more than willing and able to participate. I want to help, visit, explore and research for possible permanent move to Belize. Just to give you a brief on my background, to perhaps help you understand what you may be able to provide to me, in re this request;
57 y/o male, recently widowed, retired from U.S. military, Have worked in various capacities both prior to and after military life, from menial labor to administration supervisor, to security,,, and many more positions. If you require more information I will gladly provide it. Any response you may give will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your time and consideration in this request.
Dennis R. Strope
S. Dillon, congrats on considering retiring here. We would love to have you with San Pedro Red Cross. We are active in both monthly first aid training for businesses and individuals and quarterly blood drives. Would love to meet you when you come in Feb.
Much like Dennis I am a widow who will be retiring next year and am considering a move to Belize. I have medical training having worked in the field in various capacities for over 30 years. I am very interested in what I may be able to do to serve in your community. I fell in love with both place and people there while on vacation and will return in February to explore options.