“This experience was hands down one of the best of my entire life. I enjoyed every minute of being in Belize and working with the people there. The ISL staff was incredible and every day was full of fun and learning. I not only learned new nursing skills, but I learned about life as well. It was so great I plan on going on another trip!”
-Allison S., University of Maine
Enjoy the laid back atmosphere of Belize, rich with Spanish and British influence, featuring attractions such as Mayan archaeological sites, the world’s second longest barrier reef, caves and rivers, along with a variety of cultural foods, while serving and learning amongst its peoples.
“With its Spanish-speaking neighbors to the south and west and the laid-back Caribbean to the east, Central America’s youngest nation offers a cultural mélange – including Maya, Mestizo, Garifuna, Creole, Mennonite and more – unrivaled in Central America. Belize is home to verdant jungles, from the Maya Mountains in the southwest to the Shipstern Nature Reserve in the northeast, not to mention ancient ruins, remnants of bygone days as part of the greater Maya kingdom. Then there are the beaches, miles of white sand and blue sea dotted with a nigh-uncountable number of islands big and small. So what’s not to love?” –Joshua Samuel Brown, Author
While public health care in Belize is available to the population at no direct cost to the individual, most rural health clinics suffer from inadequate staffing, lack of financial resources to handle the patient volume, and a lack of equipment and medicine, according to the World Health Organization. Many families also lack the resources to travel to the nearest health care facility. Join ISL in aiding developing communities in Belize!
Communities We Serve
ISL serves small villages in different regions of Belize. Homes in these villages often lack basic provisions such as electricity and water. Although Belize is an English speaking country many of the people in these communities speak only Spanish, especially in the older generations. Regardless of language barriers, Belizeans believe in respect for all and the people in these villages are known for their warm and welcoming attitudes towards our volunteers. Don’t be surprised if they ask you into their home for some food and drinks during community visits!
Volunteers arrive for service in Belize via the Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE), located 20 minutes away from the commercial capital of Belize City. After going through customs and picking up their luggage, volunteers are met by one of their field team leaders and transported via ISL bus to team housing. The drive from airport to hotel is always scenic and may take from 1 to 2 hours, depending on the location of the team’s work site, for this reason volunteers must book flights that arrive and depart at Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE) between 11:00am and 3:00pm. The daily commute from housing to work site can be 20 minutes away or take up to an hour when working in more remote communities. On Recreation Day, the team usually moves to lodging in Caye Caulker or Placencia.
Our volunteers have the opportunity to explore ancient Mayan temples, learn how to dance with locals, and observe the diverse tropical wild life of Belize during our programs. Try swimming with sting rays and nurse sharks on snorkel trips and discover the longest barrier reef in the western hemisphere or go kayaking, tubing, or canoeing inside the reef at one of Belize’s 200 islands or “cayes”.
ISL helps volunteers get to know the diverse Belizean community through their cultural, historical and local pride by exploring the abundance of activities near the regions you’ll be living and working in.
ISL has strict housing standards for cleanliness, safety and comfort. Each volunteer shares a room and shower facilities, but has their own bed. Housing locations are selected according to proximity to program sites. ISL staff members stay with volunteers and are always available 24/7.
- Internet is available at most housing locations. Volunteers are transported by their Team Leaders to an internet location periodically if internet is not available at their hotel.
- Laundry services are provided at least once a week for a small charge.
- If food or drug stores aren’t nearby, Team Leaders make sure volunteers are transported to shopping areas periodically or as needed.
- ISL provides breakfast each day, unless otherwise specified in the team itinerary.
In Belize, smaller teams may stay with local ISL staff in their homes. Larger teams stay at the guest house or hotesls, whichever is closest to their team work site. Clean and comfortable rooms, internet and laundry services are always provided.
ISL Belize has a staff of native Belizeans who have a wide knowledge of Belizean history and culture. The majority of the staff is trilingual, speaking Creole, Spanish, and English, so getting around and communicating with other locals is never a problem. The doctors who work with ISL health teams are local and have an extensive knowledge of the healthcare system in Belize, as well as the health needs in Belizean communities.