While some financing for projects such as those mentioned come through grant funding and donations, Programme for Belize is committed to the goal of earning sufficient supplementary revenue to support the expansion of its efforts to preserve and manage the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area. Ecotourism is currently the most substantial source of self-generated income for Rio Bravo and is likely to remain so for several years.
With a vision to provide visitors with an enlightening yet low impact experience in the rainforest, Programme for Belize links environmental education with human-nature interaction. Every year international students visit Rio Bravo to participate in our Tropical Forest and Marine Ecology Programme, which offers an exceptional wildlife experience in forest and marine ecology education.
Guests visiting the La Milpa Ecolodge and Research Center experience first-hand the rich history of the Maya civilization through a tour of the breathtaking and majestic La Milpa Archaeological Site, the third largest archaeological site in the country of Belize. In 1996, the site received international recognition when a royal Maya tomb was found and a male skeleton adorned with a jeweled necklace was unearthed on its grounds. The La Milpa site is only one of 60 Mayan sites found in the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area.
Other activities at La Milpa include hiking nature trails, jungle trekking, and birding. Avid birders can compile a list of more than 150 species during a three-day trip. Visitors can also spend the day in the nearby Mestizo and Mennonite villages for a taste of Belizean culture.
For its part, the Hill Bank experience brings to life the architecture and artifacts of colonial land use, such as quaint wooden buildings of logging camps, antique steam engines and railroad tracks. Guests can explore the wilds of Hill Bank canoeing, crocodile spotting, hiking nature trails, birding, and jungle trekking. A scenic boat ride complete with wildlife sightings along the New River Lagoon is a must.
Both stations use state-of-the-art “green technology”, featuring 100% solar powered energy, no-flush composting toilets, rainwater collection systems, and gray water storage and recycling systems. Accommodations include private baths with hot and cold running water, and charmingly rustic and private thatched-roof cabanas or comfortable dormitories.
Further upgrades to the services and facilities at both La Milpa and Hill Bank are ongoing. In addition, new marine-based activities such as kayaking and fly-fishing are in development, within the framework of our visitor education programme which maintains the importance of conserving the environment.