Belize Study Abroad
Design your day spent at IZE's Blue Creek Field Station by choosing two activities per day from the list below:
Short Cave Hike: The Ultimate Tropical Rainforest Experience! You will follow your Maya Guides up a steep incline to the entrance of one of the most spectacular limestone caves in Belize. Stalactites hang from the ceiling and colonies of bats dwell in the darkest crevices. Long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, hiking boots or sturdy-soled sneakers are recommended. Be sure to take along your camera and headlamp!
Cave Snorkel & Swim: Three-hour activity that starts with a hike from IZE’s field station that winds along the river to the mouth of the cave. You will have the opportunity to swim and snorkel in the interconnecting crystalline lagoons, majestic waterfalls and mineral pools teeming with exotic fish.
Iguana Hike: Two-hour activity where you will swim and hike along the clear blue river as your Mayan guides look for iguanas in the overhanging trees. Belize is home to 21 of the 700 species of lizards! Shorts, T-shirts, water shoes or sturdy hiking sandals are recommended. Bring along a dive mask if you are interested in helping the guides.
Monkey Hike: Three-hour activity where you will have an opportunity to meet "The howlers" known locally as baboons! Slow moving and often quiet they sometimes go unnoticed on the trails, so stay alert and on the lookout. But when the males let loose...their loud and piercing chorus of roars is sure to surprise you. Long pants or shorts, a long sleeve shirt, ( tank top of light weight material worn under your long sleeve shirt for the hot walk back ) hiking boots or sturdy sole sneakers, sunscreen and insect repellent are recommended.
Bird Walk: Three-hour activity. Enjoy the dynamic diversity of birds with your local guide. Early morning and late afternoons are when you find most birds active and vocal. Over 300 species of ornate birds can be observed from the keel-billed toucan to the purple-crowned fairy. Don't forget to bring your binoculars. Shorts and long pants, T-shirts, hiking sandals or sneakers are recommended.
School Tour: Visit the local elementary school where you will have the chance to participate in classroom activities, exchange ideas, and stories. Join in the fun during recess by participating in a game of soccer or softball. Donations of books and school supplies are always most welcome.
Community Service Projects: For student groups looking to contribute to the Mayan people of the village of Blue Creek, there are a number of projects available to participate in. Past projects have included: assisting with agricultural needs like planting of mahogany and cocoa, teaching classes at the local school and lending a hand at the library. Working together helps create meaningful lifelong bonds. * Please contact us in advance for current projects
Ethnobotany & Farming: Two-hour activity where you will explore the medicinal and culinary uses of the local herbs, plants, and trees. The Mayans were masters at utilizing the jungle’s natural resources for their medicinal needs. You will learn about the vines that store drinking water and other remarkable remedies that nature offers. You will get a firsthand look at the crops Mayans harvest such as avocados, citrus, cocoa, mango, cashews, rice, beans, etc.
Arts & Crafts: Three-hour activity where you will work with local Mayan and Kekchi craftsman as they create colorful embroidery, jippi jappa weavings, slate carvings, and pottery. You are welcome to participate in the production of these native arts & crafts. During this activity, you will be entertained with fables and folklore that have been passed down through generations.
Jungle Climb: This four-hour adventure will have you trekking through the jungle and up the mountains behind IZE’s Blue Creeks Field Station. As you follow the path along the river, you will experience wildlife, flora & fauna and the incredible sounds of the jungle. You will take in the magnificent views of the valley and enjoy a spectacular 360-degree view of the surrounding countryside and hills of Guatemala. The reward for your effort is waiting for you at the bottom as you dive into the clear blue pools at the mouth of Blue Creek Cave. This adventure is recommended for those in very good physical condition
Cave Tubing: On this two-hour adventure you will trek along the river from IZE’s lodge to Blue Creek Cave. Once at the mouth of the cave your guide will take you in inner tubes to explore the mysterious & mystical parts of Hokeb Ha Cave, (Mayan name meaning “where the water enters the earth”)
Home Stay: Feeling adventurous? We can arrange an overnight home stay with a family from the village of Blue Creek. Living with a family, students can take part in the day-to-day rhythms of Belizean lifestyle of Kekchi or Mopan Maya culture. Observing and participating in making the day's tortillas, listening to the strains of Mayan music by firelight in a thatched hut, – these experiences will turn into memories to last a lifetime.
Chocolate Farm Tour: This three-hour adventure will have you tour a local cocoa farm, meet & interact with the farmers and their families and learn how the pods grow, are harvested and processed. Your group will even get to try their hand at processing the cocoa and sampling the local kukuk drink and chocolate! If timing is right you will be taken to Punta Gorda to visit the markets where the cocoa is sold.
Lubaantun Mayan Ruins: This late classical ceremonial center is noted for its unusual style of construction distinctive to southern Belize. The large pyramids and residences are made of dresses stone blocks with no mortar binding them together. The name is Maya for "Place of Fallen Stones". Pottery and other archeological finds at the site are on display at the visitor’s center.
Nim Li Punit Mayan Ruins: The name Nim Li Punit is derived from a carving on one of the site's twenty-six stelae, which depicts a figure wearing a large headdress. In the Maya Kekchi language, Nim li Punit means "the big hat." The monument on which this carving appears is the longest stela in Belize (Stela 14), originally located in an area called Plaza of the Stelae.
Nim Li Punit is a small site in the Toledo District. It is situated on a ridge in the foothills of the Maya Mountains just off the Southern Highway, 25 miles north of Punta Gorda. Nim Li Punit is regarded as a ceremonial center consisting of two plazas, one higher than the other. There are 25 stelae of which 8 are carved. The largest structure is 33-40 feet above the plaza level and is constructed of dry, sandstone typical of sites in southern Belize.