San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize-"La Isla Bonita"
"Peace Corps-San Pedro, Belize"
I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in San Pedro, Belize from August 2001 until July 2003. Peace Corps is a volunteer organization based in the USA that was created by John Kennedy in 1961. As a PCV we serve in different developing countries throughout the world (currently over 7,000 volunteers in over 70 countries world wide: Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia, Pacific Islands, and Central and South America). There are many sectors that the Peace Corps serves such as Environmental Education/Natural Resource Management, Agriculture, Rural/Youth and Community Develepment, HIV/AIDS Education/Awareness, Information Technology, Special Education, Primary Education, and more. I served as an Environmental Education Coordinator at Hol Chan Marine Reserve. I acted as the biologist/environmental education officer (I have a degree in marine biology) for the Reserve.
Basically, at Hol Chan Marine Reserve (HCMR) I helped out with all of their monitoring of natural resources such as lobsters, conch, reef fish, and coral. This means that I spent a good bit of time diving/snorkeling to count and measure different animals that live on or in association with the Belize Barrier Reef. We monitored not only the Hol Chan Marine Reserve but also Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve as well as some of the other important Marine Reserves of central and southern Belize. I also assisted in an education program that taught fundamentals of mangrove, seagrass, and coral reef ecology to primary school children on the island. In addition, I also improved upon the informational resources of the Visitor's Center at the HCMR office by recreating the educational posters we used to help tourists and locals better understand the purpose of HCMR and what and why we protect the tropical marine habitat. I also developed informational brochures that were free to be taken as handouts from the office. We hosted class field trips and gave presentations and attended important seminars/meetings/workshops etc. It was super fun.
In the two years I spent in Belize I also traveled all over the country to visit my other volunteer friends so I really got to know the mainland part of Belize as well. I served as tourguide for my parents on three separate visits that they made to see me. I came away with a really good sense of all that Belize has to offer the backpacking traveler as well as the mid-range to upperclass tourist on vacation/holiday. I figured out where all the best deals for meals, hotels, tours, bus fares, bars, and clubs could be found throughout San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Cayo (San Ignacio), Belize City, Dangriga, Belmopan, and even some good places in the extremes of the northern and southern parts of Belize. I am slowly forgetting some of the names of places as it has been a few years and I have traveled all over since then, but I am confident that a little memory jogging will be able to produce any tips that someone may need.
Please, feel free to email me concerning travel in Belize.
I LOVE BELIZE...a piece of the Caribbean in Central America.