17 independent reviews for Marine conservation in Belize

Reviews for Marine conservation in Belize

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review 15 Apr 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The diving was fabulous. The instructors are brilliant, very patient and informative!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Plan the weekends , especially if you are travelling alone.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes to all.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent!

review 3 Apr 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Diving with like minded staff and guests who love and appreciate the ocean and contributing to research and conservation.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Stay a day or two on each end of your week for local sites. The Hicketee Cottages and the Coral House were lovely places to stay. Heard Howler monkeys every morning. The island is small, but doesnt feel cramped. Be open to new people and appreciate the beauty and remoteness of it and the waters around it.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, to all. Very much so.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent opportunity and experience.

review 26 Mar 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Tom Owens Caye was a magic location for a chilled week diving in Belize. Polly, Patty and the team were generous hosts. The food was delicious with the lionfish and banana pancakes particular highlights! Diving was excellent. Still feeling good about the lobster survey!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Book for at least two weeks! I was only able to come for one week, but left wanting more. Southern Belize is a very chilled and relaxed place, be prepared to live the motto 'go slow'.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

The team are passionate about conservation and the value of the reef in supporting sustainable development. Our focus was on fish, coral and lobster surveys etc to enhance our understanding of the state of the marine environment over time, and the effectiveness of marine park conservation and management. The project supports local people through direct employment and investment in teaching diving skills to those locals that are interested, as well as through bringing people into Punta Gorda that would not otherwise be there.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was excellent. Met and exceeded my expectations and I definitely hope to return later in the year for a longer stint!

review 2 Jan 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Excellent diving with a lot of attention for safety. Fantastic reef diving. Great care and knowledge of reef.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Relax and Enjoy

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, both people and animals

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

The staff makes it great holiday for everyone. They should start a Reef I cook-book, all the made from scratch was delicious. Their dive training is one of the best I have experienced

review 29 Mar 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Difficult to figure out which was the most exciting part since I thought the whole holiday was a new and exciting learning experience for me. Learning how to scuba dive and diving in a beautiful area with eagle and sting rays was definitely at the top and watching the dolphins play with our boat......

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Pack rain gear for the trip to the island.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes I did.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

I stayed for 4 weeks and I really enjoyed and I could have easily stayed longer, loved it.

review 23 Mar 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Seeing a five foot barracuda while snorkelling.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be prepared to get wet on the transfer to the island!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was almost as expected but would have liked more research involvement. A very professional team provided excellent service to the guests.

review 2 Sep 2011

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Of course the diving was the best. Not only because of the wonderful reef, but also the very professional attitude from the team. Being instructed by Polly and making fun dives and surveys with Laura and Chris made me a better and more confident diver. It was incredible that only after a week of the unfortunate robbery, everything was rearranged without the guests (such as me) having any inconvenience of it at all. The base location from the island is beautiful and right on the reef! Also in the weekends you can stay in the house but you can arrange also some great trips into the jungle, to Maya grounds or easy going villages.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Try to plan your trip including a full moon so you can experience the string of pearls. You will feel like Tinkerbell in the water with all the stars in the sky and all the lights in the water. Ask for travel advice from the team and the places you will stay in Belize. They will have the best tips for places to stay, ways of travelling and sightseeing. In addition for example Polly and Ian (from Hickatee Cottages, PG) will help you arrange trips and get you much better deals with guides. And overall.....Try everything! I never expected to go caving anywhere in the world, but caving at Blue Creek Cave was one of the most exciting things I ever did.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

As important it is for the reef and local environment, the volunteering we did by lion fish spearing and conch survey was a lot of fun and I did not considered as "work". I learned a lot of the reef environment and became more aware of my environment while diving. The dive operator’s concept of holidays and doing some conservation in the water was a unique experience as this dive operator really gives you the feeling of a luxurious stay while doing some volunteering.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Belize for me was opening up new horizons. Both as a traveller as well as a diver I enjoined it tremendously. I felt welcome and a great click with the dive team and considered them as friends by the time I left. I rate this trip definitely one of the most beautiful and exiting holidays I have ever been on.

review 16 Aug 2011

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

We spent a week on Tom Owens Caye off the coast of Belize. Run by Polly, the operator is a small group of divers/conservationists who are great fun and really passionate about what they do. The Caye itself was idyllic, and although it was a desert island, it had creature comforts, such as electricity, even internet if we wanted, and wonderful food every day! I was a novice diver, but Polly and Laura were excellent instructors, I couldn't have had a better introduction to diving. I felt very safe and every dive I was relaxed and enjoyed every moment. I now have my PADI open water qualification and hope to do more diving in the future. The whole week was full of amazing discoveries, not just underwater. The night sky on the island was spectacular, and shooting stars were easily spotted. We also spotted dolphins one day and everyone rushed out on the boat to swim with them. They really are spectacular creatures. My partner went on an early morning fishing trip whilst I prepared for dives, and took a kayak around the island. After dives, there were hermit crab races, and volleyball tournaments. One evening we noticed the 'string of pearls' phenomenon in the water by the dock and it was amazing to snorkel in that. It was like the night sky had fallen into the sea. It was such a romantic location, it was there that my partner decided to propose to me. It really was an unforgettable holiday.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Go now! It's amazing! Even if you haven't ever dived before, you will love it. Also, don't be put off by weather forecasts - the weather on the Caye is completely different to that reported for Belize City. The weather was fantastic. The only time it rained was whilst we were asleep.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

We were helping Polly and her team on their various projects. Since I was doing my PADI for the week, I was limited on what I could do, but I definitely got to see first hand the great work they are doing, especially with trying to reduce the numbers of invasive lion fish.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent! 11 out of 10! It was better than I could ever have imagined.

review 26 Apr 2011

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The people, the places and the experience. A fantastic trip of a lifetime

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Don’t be fooled by appearances... Punta Gorda was truly wonderful, with fantastic people and a friendly atmosphere.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes very much so. Tourism is an important income stream at PG and the locals were very accommodation and never hassled you.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

A real experience and trip of a lifetime. We met friends for life and experienced thing we may never get opportunity to experience again.

review 7 Feb 2011

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Living on a secluded island with the ocean surrounding us for miles. Arriving at Tom Owens was magical, we couldn't believe how lucky we were. We were there for three weeks and we never stopped being amazed. Make sure you sleep at least one night under the stars in a hammock!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Bored of a regular dive holiday? Try this - everything else will pale in comparison. This is a great place to go for scuba divers who want to learn a bit more about what's under the surface. Polly and her team are fantastic. It doesn't matter if you're a first timer or a seasoned pro. If you're looking to do some sort of eco-diving then I'd def read up on what fish and coral life there is in the caribbean beforehand - it'll benefit you massively when you're out there. Otherwise you can study between dives and put what you've learnt into practise in identification, surveying and general enjoyment of recognising what everything is. Remember - you're on a small island in the middle of the caribbean. It's a tropical paradise, but there's limited electricity (generator) and fresh water (for showering etc) is precious. It's not 5* accommodation, but the sorts of people who would pick this aren't looking for that. As there's a constant breeze there's no mosquitos, humidity or oppressive midday heat - a blessed relief from when you're on the mainland.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

The whole set-up is very responsibly run. Locals make up part of the team, from dive crew, cooks, helping hands and boat drivers. Diving is done with the utmost safety and respect for the environment you're in.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was an unforgettable experience which I can't recommend highly enough. The sort of people we met were like minded and everyone got along brilliantly. I'd definitely recommend going for two weeks (or more!) if you can. It just means that when you return for the second week (you spend the weekends on the mainland) you have a chance to do all the things that you didn't get round to the first time!

review 29 Jun 2011

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Diving.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Relax and enjoy it.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Great, I will go back.

review 13 Jan 2011

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The diving! I'm still very new to diving so everything I got to see underwater was new and exciting. It really helped that Polly really knows her stuff and was able to guide us on very nice dives. Getting to see the large Moray Eel and Barracudas underwater was spectacular.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be prepared for long days enjoying yourself and lots of very, very good diving.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes. All the staff on the island were local folks from Punta Gorda that the tour operator had been working with for a while.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

This is one of the best vacations I've been on and I would not hesitate to go diving with this company again or recommend it to a friend.

review 6 Dec 2010

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Difficult to pick only one memorable moment. The whole experience was memorable. But here are some highlights. Being surrounded by an under-water Milky Way during a night dive when we experienced the String of Pearls. Connecting with Polly, the founder of the organisation and learning so much from her from becoming a much better diver to being able to identify so much marine life and being infected by her love and passion for the reef and the ocean. Continuously basking in the beauty of the sky and the sea on a beautiful tiny island. Feeling that I did my bit to help make a difference while relaxing and enjoying myself as a guest. Eating delicious food prepared by our excellent chef Brandon. Feeling safe and thoughtfully taken care of by Polly, our captain Roland and dive master Fabienne. Encountering dolphins and eagle spotted ray and nurse sharks. Never encountering any other divers than the ones in our little group. Making friends with lovely people. And having fun! Keep in mind that these are only the highlights. This holiday was a transformative experience.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Don't expect 5 stars accommodation but sheer island beauty and very very comfortable camping like situation. And know that by you supporting the operator, this will improve over time.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes. Absolutely.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Fantastic, fun, transformative experience.

review 29 Sep 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The diving was only minutes away. Good equipment, boat, and Dive master.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

I was there for only 1 week. Longer would be better, as there are a number of good dive sites.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes. Employees were local. Instruction on marine conservation is emphasized.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very Good. The quality of the diving equipment, boat, and dive master were excellent. The lodging on the Caye is very comfortable and scenic - much nicer than I expected for a "volunteer" vacation. The food was good. All together excellent value for the price for a scuba diving vacation. I would especially recommend to anyone wanting to learn to dive or improve their diving skills this is the perfect environment, beautiful, and reasonable price. The staff were also very helpful and accommodating with making weekend arrangements and when my flight was delayed 24 hours on arrival.

review 7 Feb 2008

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

One day we were sitting around after yet another wonderful dive, just chilling in the sun playing cards and the only noise to be heard was the noise from people talking and the waves gently lapping on the reef. The boat captain had gone off fishing just 10 minutes before and alll of a sudden he was back shouting "whale sharks". Everyone got up and ran together to the boat just taking enough time to pick up a mask, snorkel and fins. 5 minutes later we were on the boat just off the reef with hundreds of birds flying around in circles above us diving down snatching fish up from the water's surface that was quite literally bubbling. We couldn’t hear ourselves think due to the noise and then "go go go", the voice of the captain broke over the screeching of the birds and we all rolled over. None of us had spotted the whale shark from the boat but we couldn’t miss it when we rolled in and found it to be just a couple of feet under us!! It's sight that has embedded itself in my memory for all time. Five minutes later we were back in the boat. This particular day we dropped in with 3 whale sharks and even got to see one feeding, hanging there upright just below the surface.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Make sure you book enough time off work! I was there for a whole three months during the summer of 2007 and it wasn’t enough time so I've just booked another holiday for March 2008 for a month. If you can plan in some time on the mainland this Company offers weekends in the jungle (well worth doing). Also try some of the day trips available. There are plenty of tour guides which this Company can recommend and I'd recommend going up to see the caves and some of the Mayan ruins. Have you ever caught a fish??? The boat captain is an excellent fisherman and this Company can organize fishing at the weekends or during the week from the islands when the boat is not in use. The best time is 5am watching the sunrise from the reef while reeling in a 4ft barracuda. It's amazing.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Punta Gorda is off the beaten track being tucked away right in the South of Belize and most of the tourism is up in the North in San Pedro or Caye Caulker. While I was there this Company was training two local young adults to dive up to Divemaster level. They came out to the island and helped out, and in return they were given an education in diving, marine biology and environmental awareness. I met some of this Company's past students in San Pedro who are now working as Divemasters. Having been properly taught about the impact on reef systems they are now able to have a well paid job (all of them sending money back home) and also helping to protect the marine system "leading by example". This Company was carrying out both lobster and conch surveys along with reef check when I was there. The conch and lobster survey results are for the Belizean government as both species are a main source of income and food for the local fishermen

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

A five star diving holiday so out of the way that it hasn’t been destroyed by millions of visitors. A real "lost corner of the world", I can't wait to get back.

review 20 Aug 2008

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Diving everyday at the most pristine & undamaged reef sites we’ve ever visited. We felt very privileged to be there & feel that we are helping in the survey & information collection on the reef environments. The island is a beautiful setting far away from it all.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, as they employ local people, and in addition when on the main land we are spending money in the local bars & shops, taking tours of local sites. The negative is the distance we’ve flown to get there.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

We had a fantastic time, seeing a bit of Belize, and doing some fantastic diving, with some exceptional sites on the barrier reef.

review 29 Oct 2007

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The diving - it is amazing.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

The accommodation is very basic - which is fine if that's what you expect, just be prepared. Also, you get fed a bare minimum on the protein front (typical Belize diet), so think about bringing extra snacks for energy.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes. Local employees, who were great. The only serious impact on the environment is the boat trip out to the Caye every week, which is inevitable.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

7/10

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