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Caribbean Beach Conservation

  • In Brief
  • The Project
  • What to Expect
  • Reviews
  • Gallery
  • Extras
  • Dates & Costs
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Frontier Group Project

Working in collaboration with institutions and NGOs with the country, projects are research-based, creating sustainable and biodiverse programmes.

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The Caribbean boasts a wealth of picture-perfect beaches, turquoise seas and intensely diverse emerald forests. The location of Frontier’s Caribbean Marine Conservation project, lies at the centre of the Mesoamerican "biodiversity hotspot". Pristine subtropical forests provide a refuge for wildlife and conceal ancient Mayan ruins whilst the warm clear waters of the Caribbean lap sandy Cayes offering access to the world’s second longest barrier reef and a UNESCO World Heritage Site; renowned for its spectacular snorkelling and diving.

  

Infused throughout is the region's Afro-Caribbean roots, creating a fabulous laid-back atmosphere.

‘No shoes, no shirt, no worries’ is the infamous motto for this Caribbean region, and you will have the opportunity to discover infamous barrier reefs, dive world famous sites, marvel at an extraordinary array of colourful reef fish and rays, sea urchins, anemones, octopus and even sea turtles feed at luxuriant sea grass beds. You can explore this exquisite, untarnished underwater world as you learn to dive and snorkel.

You will explore, chart and monitor extensive areas of pristine coral and vast seagrass beds, record populations of reef fish and conch, learn about the conservation efforts to protect the vulnerable West Indian manatee and assist in annual reef health check. On shore you will explore the lush fringing mangrove forests, salt marshes and littoral forests of red, white and black mangroves; the unique ecosystem which bridges the land and the ocean.

Your days will be eventful; the work will be challenging, rewarding and fun. Your discoveries will be of huge benefit to the conservation of these fabulous coral reefs and you will gain immense satisfaction from knowing that you have helped protect these precious natural resources for future generations.

The results from your investigations will supply vital baseline information on the Caribbean coastline to enable the sustainable management of natural resources in the region and the protection of the marine wildlife in partnership with the local Fisheries Department.

      

PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS

  • Snorkel in pristine Caribbean waters
  • Take part in a long term coastal monitoring and conservation project
  • Make lifelong friends and return with incredible stories, photos and memories

PROJECT REQUIREMENTS

  • Intermediate level of English
Airport Pickup Camping Beach Emergency Physical Ground Transport Meals Research Terrestrial Qualification Coastal Snorkelling Free Time Beach Breakfast Family
FAST FACTS
Location The Caribbean
Activities Snorkelling regularly (weather permitting)
Locating coral reefs 
Opportunistic cetacean and manatee surveys 
Dugong, turtle & cetacean fisher surveys 
Reef health checks 
Work with local partners and conservation organisations 
Vegetation surveys on mangrove species 
Contribute to the Cayes Management Plan and the overall National Resource Management Agenda
Transport Airport pickup and transfer to the project site is provided for free if you arrive on the 1st Monday of the month.
If you want to join the project at any other time, you can book an airport pick up and transfer from Frontier for an additional $120USD / £95GBP.
Accommodation Beach camp 
 

WHAT'S INCLUDED

 

Before you go Pre-departure support
Travel & medical advice & documentation
Equipment advice
Advice on visas and equipment
Discounted medical kit
Free Frontier t-shirt
UK residential briefing weekend including food, accommodation and training (extra cost applies)
In-country Food
Accommodation
Airport pickup (for first Monday of the month arrivals), alternative start date possible
Internal ground transfers & in-transit accommodation (first Monday of the month arrivals) alternative start dates possible
Local orientation and training
24-hour international HQ back-up
Vocational academic diploma or certificate qualification in Tropical Habitat Conservation available
Dive training courses available. Dive training for PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water price includes PIC cards, PADI membership, and use of Frontier project equipment and diving equipment including tanks, regs, BCDs, weights and compressor.
Dive training PADI Open Water available at extra cost (subject to availability) 
Dive training PADI Advanced Open Water at extra cost (subject to availability) 
Discounted further dive courses: PADI Emergency First Response, PADI Rescue Diver, and PADI Divemaster qualifications
 

 

WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?

Our Frontier-Caribbean project is based in the beautiful, picturesque country of Belize. Despite being distinguished from its neighbours as the only country in the region with a British colonial heritage, Belize also has strong ties to Latin America as well as to the Caribbean. With one foot firmly planted in lush interior forests and another foot in the laidback and colourful Caribbean Sea, Belize’s animal and plant life are the stars of the country, thanks to conservation efforts from national and international bodies.

The Belizean government is now working with national management partners and international conservation and aid agencies to protect the county’s invaluable biodiversity. Co-management partners work alongside the Belizean Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development with long term aims to protect and conserve key marine and terrestrial hotspots. This is achieved through local conservation awareness, scientific monitoring & research, community support programs and implementation of protected areas co-management plans, and Frontier volunteers are an integral part of this effort.

Record marine biodiversity

To aid decision making and implement protected areas co-management plans, co-partners in Belize require long-term environmental monitoring to be in place to meet both national and international protocols, and for the establishment of more detailed research projects that can provide vital baseline data.

Through snorkel surveys you will survey coral, benthic and fish species using a number of common methodologies currently used in Belize plus taking part in simple community level assessments of these environments. Snorkelling under the supervision of a professional dive officer and research scientist, you will become confident and comfortable underwater. Your results will determine the sheer biodiversity of these waters and help formulate long term, sustainable management plans to protect this sensational island.

Other activities include surveying mangroves, a vital buffer against storm surges caused by cyclones, and an important part of the coastal ecosystem, opportunistic surveys of manatees, dugongs and cetaceans, beach clean ups, forest restoration work and annual surveys of conch, lobster and lionfish.

Belizean culture & communities

Working alongside the Belizean people will give you an insight into their colourful and laidback culture. Community work includes environmental education in local schools to explain Frontier's work, and interviewing local communities on their awareness and knowledge of the local marine reserves, particularly with regards to boundaries, zones and rules and the levels of involvement of local stakeholders in decision-making.

WHAT WILL I BE DOING?

Soak up the chilled out, Caribbean atmosphere of Belize whilst taking part in a long term and sustainable marine research and conservation programme. The Frontier Belize programme is run in association with the Belize Fisheries Department, and this research and conservation project aims to provide the local communities, stakeholders and government bodies with the baseline biodiversity data they need to design and implement management plans for the future protection of this pristine marine ecosystem.

To gather the data needed you will undertake rapid sampling snorkel surveys, underwater line and belt transects (weather permitting for all diving), mangrove point centred surveys, opportunistic mammal surveys and socio – economic surveys, with one day off each week. Your activities will involve locating and mapping the extensive, pristine coral reefs and studying the various communities existing on them. The number of snorkels completed each week on the project depend on the quarterly science plan and itinerary as set by the Frontier field staff. 

Whilst snorkelling in this Caribbean Odyssey, you'll see an extraordinary array of animals from colourful reef fish species to nudibranchs, sea cucumbers to cushion stars and spiny urchins to octopuses. By the end of your project you will be capable of identifying a wide range of colourful and patterned reef organisms, as well as being an experienced and competent diver. Although the work is intense and challenging you'll get immense satisfaction from having made a valuable contribution to the conservation of this marine environment.

Volunteers who join the project for less than 4 weeks may not be able to participate in the full range of project activities and surveys, but will still be able to make a valuable contribution to the work. You will return home with vast numbers of photos, lots of new friends, a wealth of fascinating stories and extraordinary memories.

You'll find your team to be a fun, dynamic mix of ages and experiences, with members who all share a passion about travelling in developing countries and conserving nature. Your staff will be a friendly and welcoming group who are highly experienced in their research field and many of whom will have been Frontier volunteers at an earlier stage in their career.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I ARRIVE?

Volunteers arriving before 2pm (local time) on the first Monday of the month will be welcomed by a Frontier representative at Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport. From here it's a short minibus or taxi ride from the airport to Belize City where you will then transfer to the project site via water taxi and be introduced to the Frontier-Belize programme.

You will meet the staff, receive some initial briefings, including an introduction to the science programme and techniques used, as well as health and safety lectures, so make sure your medical kit is complete and start reading your safety and medical briefs. All dive trainees will complete their dive theory during their time on camp.

At the end of your stay we will transfer those of you who are on the monthly program back to Belize City from the camp in time for you to head back home or continue on your independent travels. If you are joining for less than 4 weeks you will make your own arrangements to return to Belize City at the end of your stay, from where you can continue your own independent travel or return home.

Independent travellers arriving on dates other than the first Monday of the month can arrange a separate airport collection (extra cost; $120USD / US$162GBP) by contacting the camp staff in Belize.

WHERE WILL I BE STAYING?

During the project you'll live in the beach camp alongside other Frontier volunteers and staff. We aim to provide you with a unique and memorable living experience. The Frontier camp was constructed by Frontier volunteers working with local craftsmen, using traditional building techniques and locally sourced environment-friendly, building materials and tents. The camp which is situated in a clearing on the beach has been designed to blend harmoniously with the surrounding landscape. Camp life is very simple, unsophisticated and fun.

You will be staying in tents or locally built huts, your "shower" will be a jug or a bucket of water and you cook over an open campfire: so prepare for the basic, virtually footprint less, unencumbered lifestyle! On occasions you may have to journey further to reach a remote dive site, then you will stay in a "satellite camp"; basically a mosquito net pitched on a distant beach.

WHAT WILL I BE EATING?

Food on camp is simple and nutritious and consists largely of locally sourced fresh vegetables and fruit, rice, beans and noodles, all of which are purchased from nearby communities thereby helping to support the local economy. Luxuries such as chocolate, peanut butter and drinking chocolate are available in Belize City, so make sure you stock up before heading to your field camp or at nearby stalls accessible only by boat on weekends.

Part of your role on camp will be to help with the cooking. Creating spectacular meals over an open campfire or baking bread in the campfire oven will become second nature: so get your cookbooks out now and start thinking up recipes! Also, with luck you'll be invited to local feasts and festivals – a great way to engage with local communities and discover local cuisines and cultures.

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ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

The Frontier-Belize camp is fun and in your spare time you'll have opportunities to swim and snorkel, play football against the unbeatable local side or try out beach volleyball. Alternatively you may enjoy a traditional Saturday night themed camp party, play backgammon, poker or chess, or join in a camp quiz night. After a long hard day of snorkelling and diving you may prefer to relax with a drink and sway in the camp hammock, or sit around the campfire and chat to your new friends.

You will have weekends to enjoy the local culture, excursions, hostels and restauarnts on Caye Caulker or the wider area of Belize. Local tour operators offer the chance to dive at the famous Blue Hole, learn to kite surf, windsurf and sail or relax on locally built boats on sunset tours. These can be organised in country via the Frontier-Belize staff. Alternatively you can travel back to the mainland to visit the renowned Belize Zoo, famous Xunantunich Mayan ruins or lush tropical forests. 

Dive courses run monthly commencing on the first Monday of the month

*Medical certificate is mandatory for participation in dive courses

Modern conveniences

Caye Caulker

  • ATM
  • Bars / cafes
  • Bicycle hire
  • Daily sailing excursions
  • Hostels
  • Internet cafe
  • Supermarket
  • Western style restaurants

Belize City - 40 minute water taxi at your own cost

  • Attractions; Belize Zoo, Museum of Belize, Belize Tourism Village, Government House
  • Banks / ATMs; Heritage Bank, Atlantic Bank, Belize Bank, First Caribbean International Bank, and ScotiaBank
  • Bars / cafes
  • Bureau de Change
  • Cinema
  • Dentists
  • Hairdresser
  • Hospital
  • Internet cafe
  • Local and traditional restaurants
  • Medical clinic
  • Pharmacy
  • Post office
  • Supermarkets
  • Western style restaurants
  • Western Union

COSTS

1 week US$ 1,195

2 weeks US$ 1,545

3 weeks US$ 1,895

4 weeks US$ 2,245

5 weeks US$ 2,495

6 weeks US$ 2,795

7 weeks US$ 3,095

8 weeks US$ 3,395

9 weeks US$ 3,695

10 weeks US$ 3,945

20 weeks US$ 6,495

Extra week US$ 345

PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water training to be paid in country (US$400 for each qualification - price subject to change)

DEPARTURE DATES

First and third Monday of every month

Alternative dates available on request

 

DURATION

You can join this project for a minimum of 1 week

WHAT'S INCLUDED

Before you go

  • Pre-departure support
  • Travel & medical advice & documentation
  • Equipment advice
  • Discounted medical kit
  • Free Frontier t-shirt
  • UK residential briefing weekend including food, accommodation and training (extra cost applies)

In-country

  • Food
  • Accommodation
  • Internal ground transfers & in-transit accommodation (for volunteers arriving on the 1st Monday of the month & joining for 4+ weeks)
  • Local orientation
  • Project training
  • Project equipment & materials
  • Dive training PADI Open water (2 weeks) to be paid in country (US$400 - subject to change)
  • Dive training PADI Advanced open water (4 weeks) to be paid in country (US$400 - subject to change)
  • Advanced dive courses available
  • In-country emergency support
  • 24-hour international HQ back-up

AIRPORT INFORMATION

Nearest airport(s): Belize City Goldson Intl Apt (BZE)

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

Flights

Flights are not included in our project costs. However, Frontier have partnered with an experienced and professional team of travel experts to help our volunteers find the best flight deals for their trips with Frontier. This travel specialist operates in the tailor-made, long haul multi-stop travel market, arranging complex airfares and transfers for independent travellers. They provide expertise, security and a vast product range along with a Travel Butler service which is a single point of contact and support whilst you are overseas.

We recommend that you obtain a quote using the following contact details rather than book online, as our partner will offer you the most competitive fares. To receive your quote or to seek any advice for your flights, please contact Frontier’s dedicated team of travel experts on 0800 082 9994 (or +44 800 082 9994 outside the UK) or email frontier@flightcentre.co.uk .

Visas

For fast, efficient and up-to-date visa advice please contact our recommended visa consultancy partner:

Depending on your destination country and your country of origin, you might require a visa. Please see the appropriate country consular website for details or contact our affiliate visa consultancy service. Please note that your visa will usually start on the date that you enter the destination country regardless of when it was issued. Please check with the relevant embassy or high commission. If you are purchasing your visa or paying entry/exit fees in-country you will probably need to pay in US Dollars. If you have any questions please consult the relevant embassy or high commission. Please check the visa information regularly, as changes often happen without warning.

Insurance

You'll need to buy appropriate travel insurance covering your participation on the project. You won't be able to go without the right travel insurance so double check to avoid disappointment. Please make sure that you're covered for the whole duration of your trip – from the day you leave the UK to the day you return. It's also best to get your travel insurance at the same time as paying the deposit for your project. Depending on your policy, this will cover you for any unexpected cancellations.

Your insurance should include the following:

  • Medical cover, including medical emergencies and medical evacuations (up to USD$3,000,000 / GBP£2,000,000);
  • Personal liability (up to USD$1,500,000 / GBP£1,000,000);
  • Cancellation and curtailment of your trip (up to the value of your project contribution).

If you are going to be scuba diving you should get coverage for scuba diving up to 30m, including hyperbaric therapy treatment (unlimited). You should consider obtaining insurance to cover you for any additional activities which you plan to do during, before, or after your Frontier project. We recommend that you obtain cover for your baggage and personal effects.


LEGAL STATEMENT
Frontier Partner Projects and Frontier group projects are run in partnership with in-country NGOs, small community based organisations, local research institutes, academic organisations and conservation agencies. Project descriptions and information are supplied directly by our partners or field staff and are accurate at time of publishing.

We aim to keep information up to date and accurate, however, the nature of our projects and in particular the fact that they are constantly evolving and developing in response to changing needs means that project activities, travel schedules, tour itineraries and daily timetables can change overnight and without notice.

To apply for this project, or to register your interest, just click on the orange "Apply Now!" button at the top of the menu. Fill out and submit a short application form and then one of our advisers will give you a call back to answer any questions and to progress your application if you wish to continue.

There is no obligation when making an application, and you do not need to pay anything at this point.