Belize Central America – There is a growing trend among travelers to undeveloped countries to “give back” and aid in sustainable tourism efforts in the places they visit . Laura Howard, who holds a graduate degree in Maya archaeology, is attempting to give eco-travelers to Belize this chance. Her company. Beyond Touring Inc., specializes in Belize only, focuses on Maya archaeology, offers high-end ecotours, and truly helps the remote rural village of Indian Church, located in the Orange Walk District in northern Belize.
Belize, a tiny country positioned just south of the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico and east of Guatemala is the only country in Central America whose official language is English. Belize did not gain full independence from Britain until 1981 and was known as British Honduras prior to 1973; so British influence is evident throughout the country. The community and archaeological site that Beyond Touring Inc. focuses on is Indian Church Village, which is immediately adjacent to the third most visited Maya ruins in Belize, Lamanai. Visitors are attracted to this Maya site because it is accessed by an hour-long river safari that offers views of Morelets’ crocodiles, birds, and orchids. A tropical forest that teems with wildlife, including Black Howler Monkeys and tropical birds such as parrots and toucans, surrounds the incredible ruins.
Giving back is not a new concept, but Beyond Touring Inc. has found a unique way to combine a love for the country of Belize, ecotourism, a rural community, and archaeology to create a unique product that truly does make a difference. All parties benefit in this equation. Beyond Touring clients experience authentic cross-cultural interaction; contribute to the community development project on a level of their choice; often gain insight into how fortunate they truly are; and aside from ruins and wildlife enjoy cave exploring, river tubing, and swimming among tropical corals and fishes on a barrier reef (Belize’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site). Indian Church Village is a destination in and of itself, and tourists provide villagers with jobs as guides and heritage interpreters and provide other direct tangible benefits, such as making their library and literacy programs a reality.
The tiny country of Belize, with just over 270,000 people, is an ideal destination close to home and away from the crowds. Whether you’re a seasoned Belize traveler or seeing Belize for the first time, Beyond Touring Inc. offers custom and packaged ecotrips and tours, honeymoon packages, and educational student programs.