TCC field courses, research and outreach programming in Belize take place in the southernmost Toledo District, the coastal town of Punta Gorda, the inland indigenous villages, and the Sapodilla Cayes in the Caribbean Sea.
The Toledo District is home to large tracts of tropical rainforest, coastal mangroves, rivers and waterfalls, as well as more than 30 indigenous villages and several ancient Maya ruin sites.
Punta Gorda Town, known locally as P.G., is the district town of Toledo, and the transportation and commerce hub of the district. The town is small, lively and diverse, with a population of around 6000 people of Kriol, Garifuna, Mestizo, Q’eqchi’ Maya, Mopan Maya, East Indian and Asian cultures. In Punta Gorda you can enjoy cultural events, the produce and craft markets, and Belizean cuisine!
The Sapodilla Cayes are a string of beautiful, remote islands located in the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve, a national protected area in Belize. TCC’s Coral Reef Ecology courses take place on Tom Owens Island, a beautiful and idyllic private island. The Sapodilla Cayes are located about 35 miles from the mainland and are surrounded by coral reefs and abundant marine wildlife.
Belize was a British Colony until 1981, so English is the national language, and you will hear most Belizeans speaking Kriol-English, though many also speak 2nd and 3rd languages including Spanish, Q’eqchi’ Mayan, Mopan Mayan, and Garifuna. Belize is at the same time both Central American and Caribbean, and most certainly uniquely Belizean!