All posts by Judy

Study Abroad in Belize at Belize Botanic Gardens

Want to Study Abroad in Belize?

Where else besides Belize Botanic Gardens  (BBG) can you learn so much about nature’s flora and fauna in a living lab?  Set in 45 acres in Western Belize,  BBG is surrounded by tropical forest.  Just a five-minute walk takes you to the Macal River where you can cool off on a hot day.  Be inspired by nature and get  up close and personal to the hundreds of native and exotic plants found here.   With  unlimited access to the gardens you will have plenty of time to explore. 

About Belize

In addition to it’s amazing biodiversity, Belize has a rich history of cultural diversity. The ancient Maya Cities of Xunantunich and Cahal Pech are nearby and Caracol is within visiting distance.  These, as well as other sites,  are easily explored from BBG

Welcome to Belize Botanic Gardens

Student groups have been visiting BBG since 1997 and in 2012 we started teaching horticulture classes.  Our experience is what will provide you with a unique learning opportunity.  Due to Covid-19, we were forced to suspend study abroad activities for 2020 and 2021.
Now we are ready to work with you again.  Let us help you plan your trip to Belize.  We will be happy to consider your learning goals and budget. 

Eating and Sleeping


Best of all, you can stay right on the BBG grounds.  Stay in  our affordable 16-bed, 4-bathroom guest house or in the “Blue House which sleeps 6 people.   Meals are served in the nearby Visitors’ Center which also serves as a classroom.  Here’s where you can get online.  You might want to do some research with “real” books.  In that case, you can access our large botanical library.

 

Student Accommodations at Belize Botanic Gardens
Fun Learning Activities


Try some of our fun learning activities while you are here.   Foraging for edible plants is a favorite. And while you are here you can  help prepare meals from what you find on the grounds.   We won’t let you eat anything poisonous so you don’t have to worry!   You might want  to learn about Maya Medicinal Plants.    Or  maybe the medicinal and nutritional values of some of the little-known fruits and other plants found here, or both.  How about a guided bird walk with our experienced guide? 


Monkeys In The Wild


You can join our  Howler Monkey expert and follow a resident troupe to learn about  their habits and habitats.  Birds, butterflies, insects, amphibians as well as animals small and large abound.



Learn Horticulture Techniques

And don’t forget to  sign up for one or some  of our horticulture workshops where you will learn organic methods.  This is becaue BBG is one of the few totally organic Botanic Gardens in the world!

 

PLAN YOUR TRIP NOW

 

We can help plan your full itinerary in Belize including  field trips to other areas.   Just Click here to Book  and your upcoming Study Abroad in Belize experience can become a reality.

 

Fogon
Students learning to make tamales

So Much To See at Belize Botanic Gardens

There’s so much to see at BBG. Of course, there are many interesting trees, plants and flowers. There are also loads of interesting creatures that roam our gardens. Everything from the smallest ants (watch out, they have big teeth!) to tapir. The truth is that you probably won’t see any of the big animals because they tend to be nocturnal and shy.

Little Creatures you might see:

Since Belize Botanic Gardens is organic and has been since it was a farm in 1993, there are a number of small creatures living here. We don’t have too big a problem with insects here; rather their problem is with one another. This is because they are downright cannibalistic! If they’re not eating our plants, they’re eating one another.

Here are a few photos of things we’ve seen on the grounds of BBG.
Not only is it a great place to see plants and other critters, but there
have been more than 300 bird species counted in the area.

Don’t forget to visit when you are in Belize.

BELIZE BOTANIC GARDENS PHOTO GALLERY

Take a look at Belize Botanic Gardens Photo Gallery. This will give you an idea of what we’re all about; however, you can’t depend on photos to really know. The thing to do is to visit us.

Here you can walk our many trails on your own or with one of our knowledgeable guides. Learn about why our native plants are important. Check out the Maya Medicine Trail and sample some teas made from “bush” plants at Belize Botanic Gardens.

Join us for a tamale making experience and make your own lunch Maya-style.

Or just spend the day wandering around the gardens, having a picnic by the pergola or maybe under the bamboo tunnel. You could climb the tower and enjoy your lunch while looking out over the gardens.

Belize Botanic Gardens is home to around 300 species of birds so don’t forget to bring your binoculars.

You can stay with in our comfortable Guest House or rent the “Blue House” for your Belize Vacation. With access to lots of nearby points of interest, you can’t go wrong. And where else can you stay right in a Botanic Garden and wander the grounds any time you want?

Looking Back – What was it like 30-odd years ago?

What it was like before Running Water & Electricity

Looking back on the last 30-odd years I’ve been pondering life in Belize Visitors to Belize Botanic Gardens often ask what it was like here in the days before electricity and running water.  My favorite book growing up was Swiss Family Robinson so a family adventure always had a special appeal to me.

One big difference though was that the Robinson’s were shipwrecked on an island with a ship loaded with supplies.  When they ran out of good stuff – like fine wines, cheese, chocolate, etc, they merely rowed their dinghy out to the ship and brought back what they needed.  For us it was a hard-driven 10 miles to reach San Ignacio in an hour and change  (each-way),  with more riding  around town in order to find the basics.  And there was definitely a shortage of fine wines and cheese!!

Continue reading Looking Back – What was it like 30-odd years ago?

a Botanical Garden in Belize, Belize Botanic Gardens

News From Belize Botanic Gardens 

Belize Botanic Gardens is the largest botanical  garden in Belize.  BBG was opened  to the public in 1997.  Cleared farmland as late as 1993, our garden now extensive collections of native and exotic plants and trees.

One of our many features is a traditional Maya House where groups can arrange to make tamales over a wood fire.  Let one of our experienced guides show you  Belize Botanic Gardens’  Maya Medicine Trail.   This trail features many native medicinal and useful plants.

A Story From A Botanical Garden in Belize:

Once there was a young boy whose father told him to stay whose elderly grandfather was a learned medicine man.  The boy’s father sent him to stay with his grandfather to learn about the forest.  So the boy went to stay with his grandfather.  Every day they would walk in the forest and study the trees and plants so the boy could learn.

Maya House
Traditional Maya House At Belize Botanic Gardens, a Botanical Garden in Belize

 

One day the  grandfather told the boy to go to the forest  and bring him back a plant that was not useful.  He was gone for several days and finally came back feeling defeated.  “I could not find this plant, Grandfather,” he said.  “I am very sorry because I know that you will not be here long and I feel that I have failed you.”

“No, No, my boy,” the grandfather said, “It is because you have learned well and  now know that every plant in the forest has its use.”

Other Features:  Nursery, Trails, and More

In addition to the Maya House and Medicine Trail, Belize Botanic Gardens contains many other features.  Among these features are a Native Orchid House, Palm Area and Cycad Circle.  There is a tea trail where you can (by reservation) sample teas made from plants grown on the trail.  Also featured is a rainforest trail and a tower which overlooks the gardens.
Continue reading a Botanical Garden in Belize, Belize Botanic Gardens

Belizean Expressions

Belizean Expressions –

Understanding the Meaning Behind the Words

This link above will take you to a site where you  to a site where you can learn some Kriol and Belizean Expressions, It’s always been interesting to me how identical words and phrases take on different meanings in different places.  For instance, when we first arrived in Belize, nearly 35 years ago, and I first heard the expression, “Right Now“, we thought that meant immediately.  It didn’t take us long though to figure out that, in Belize, it  means sometime in the not-to-distant-future.

Even in different parts of our own countries we have differences in vocabulary, so when a Belizean uses a word you don’t understand, ask what it means and you will have learned something.  Then share one of yours with him/her.

When your waiter asks your title to put on your bar tab, don’t tell him you’re a bank manager, tell him your last name.

It can be  frustrating when you ask for something and are told
Right Now” and you wait patiently and then when nothing happens and you ask again a half hour-later and the reply is  an unapologetic “Right Now“. Continue reading Belizean Expressions

wildlife in Belize – Belize Botanic Gardens

 

Wildlife in Belize Is Not Just Animals

You may find that Belize is quite different than what you may be used to. You will delight in learning about  in climate, language, culture, people and even insects unique to the area. There is an amazing variety of wildlife in Belize and, hopefully, you will see some of it while you are here.

Some will be unfazed by the sudden early am chortle (ruckus) of Chachalacas (aka: bush chickens) just outside their window or ants in their deodorant stick (keep containers and zippers closed). Look for leaf cutter ants  (wee-wee ants) marching in single file along a trail and disappearing  into the jungle with their “leaf of the day”.

Leaf-cutter aka wee wee ants
tiny but important Wildlife in Belize, these leaf-cutter ants can wipe out a small bush in less than a day

Others may run screaming  at the merest glimpse of a tarantula. (No need; they don’t bite and are deaf)

Continue reading wildlife in Belize – Belize Botanic Gardens