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Looking for ECO-FRIENDLY tour while in port for one day

East Coast
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Looking for ECO-FRIENDLY tour while in port for one day

Hi! We are travelling via cruiseship (Carnival) to Belize. Will be there on Wednesday, November 17th from 8:00 to 5:00 pm. We are thinking about snorkeling. We NEVER book through the cruiseline, but I have been hardpressed to find a day-snorkel that in my opinion is eco-friendly and will not take you to where the masses are. It seems there are three main snoreling areas where EVERYONE goes to. We are not interested in that. I also do not want to go where "chum and food pieces" are thrown to attract fish/rays/sharks, etc. We would rather see less in a more natural environment, without the crowds. Does such a thing exhist in Belize? I realize our timeframe is small ... HELP! Already posted on cruisecritic, but it seems everyone there has the same.old.suggestions. We are running out of time.

Seattle, Washington
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1. Re: Looking for ECO-FRIENDLY tour while in port for one day

I'm in the same boat as you because I'm not thrilled about the touching and petting of the sealife, trash that gets tossed overboard or just basic lack of educating tourists on sustainability. I'm not pointing the finger at anyone it's just reality that there are some eco-friendly tour companies and some not so, just about everywhere.

I haven't used this company yet but found it when I was researching. Maybe it's what you're looking for.

http://www.mangrovebelize.com/

Davie, Florida
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2. Re: Looking for ECO-FRIENDLY tour while in port for one day

I for one am dumfounded that you are on a cruise ship and concerned about eco friendly, that is a huge...........contrast. There will be guides just outside the your landing area and I'm afraid they are all likely to go to the same sorts of spots for the same sorts of reasons.

San Ignacio, Belize
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3. Re: Looking for ECO-FRIENDLY tour while in port for one day

I wonder if there is an option for just a day trip. I still recommend cave tubing since it has little impact, and is lots of fun. But you should do it on your own, and not use the cruise line.

You really don't think you'll find what you're looking for, but if you do, let us know how it went.

East Coast
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4. Re: Looking for ECO-FRIENDLY tour while in port for one day

Thanks everyone for your responses. The website that was suggested was already looked into. Unfortunately, they have a notice on their site that says they are currently out of business due to the economic downturn. That would have been my first choice, though. As far as the other comment regarding the hypocrisy of cruising and then looking for an eco friendly tour, believe it or not, I somewhat agree with your thoughts. But, travel, no matter what form, has some sort of negative impact on the environment. If we flew to Belize, we would be burning up jet fuel and polluting the air. The building of the hotel we would stay in would have (to some extent) involved clearing of land, infringement on ecosystems, destruction of wildlife habitat etc. So, in my mind, there is no easy or correct answer or solution. We try and do what we can on an individual basis. We are attempting to support locals in THEIR quest to do the right thing and make an honest living. Again...thanks for all of your responses. Still haven't found anything. Sent a direct email to Belizequeen in the hopes that she may have some good ideas for us. :)

Texas
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for Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos
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5. Re: Looking for ECO-FRIENDLY tour while in port for one day

We went snorkeling at Mexico Rocks from Ambergris, not sure if you could find a tour to go there or not. We booked it through our hotel.

Hol Chan is amazing, but there were a lot of people there when we went, and it involved going to shark ray alley which you wouldn't enjoy.

East Coast
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6. Re: Looking for ECO-FRIENDLY tour while in port for one day

Thanks, Volcanogirl! I have read a lot about Ambergris, but I think given our short time frame that would not be an option for us! :( Hol Chan is one of the three snorkeling stops that EVERYONE seems to go to (as well as shark alley) and I am just so turned off by the crowds and the commercialism of it. URGH! I really have hit a wall with this. Maybe I need to totally rethink this stop and go to the ruins instead. I know the crowds will be horrific (I think there are 2 or 3 ships in port that day) but if I had to pick a place to be crowded in, I would rather it be the ruins, then the water. And, we've never seen ruins.......

Bradenton, Florida
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7. Re: Looking for ECO-FRIENDLY tour while in port for one day

The trip to Lamanai is amazing.

San Ignacio, Belize
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8. Re: Looking for ECO-FRIENDLY tour while in port for one day

If you did Altun Ha on your own, you'd get ruins, and not a lot of crowds...at least not as many as other places.

Los Angeles...
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9. Re: Looking for ECO-FRIENDLY tour while in port for one day

Kris48 has the best tour in mind - Lamanai, which is a riverboat ride on a rain forest waterway for about 30 miles. Birds, turtles, bats, crocodile and fish species were amazing. And then the lake on whose shore lies the Maya ruins. The palapas, tall green trees with two species of monkey and more birds, including the beautiful toucan. That was a serious highlight tour for us and we did it from a cruise - and did NOT buy on board. Major Tom in Belize set us up with another operator who took us there and back in good time. I would say that was an excellent eco - tour, with not many people there at all. Here's the description from Major Tom's website :

LAMANAI MAYA SITE and NEW RIVER TOUR

Just an hour up the paved Northern Highway is the New River, which flows from the New River Lagoon north to the Bay of Corozal. This river is a wildlife haven and offers the perfect combination tour of ancient Maya site and pleasant riverboat tour with exotic flora and fauna. The boats at the New River Bridge take you for about an hour and a half on this pristine rain forest river for the first leg of your adventure, where you will also pass the famous Mennonite settlement of Shipyard in the area, and other small farms. Arriving at the Lamanai Maya site on the New River Lagoon, you’ll first be treated to a great Belizean lunch of rice and beans, and stewed chicken, with fruit and a drink, under the palapa at the site, before setting off on your easy rain forest trail through one of the most ancient cities of the world famed Maya civilization, actually called LAMANAYIN, which means “submerged crocodile”. The croc was considered to be an earthly manifestation of the first dark lord of the underworld (the Maya believed NINE dark lords ruled the underworld, called “XIBALBA”). Look out for exotic birds and the howler and spider monkeys who inhabit the trees at the site. At the end of your exploration, hop back on board your riverboat and head back to the bridge where you started, and then on board your van, back to Belize City, or wherever it is you started from on this most popular full day tour.

East Coast
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10. Re: Looking for ECO-FRIENDLY tour while in port for one day

Thanks for all of the "ruins responses", now that I am rethinking this port! : Lamani would be my first choice...I have previously researched it. It seems the most impressive, and is the furthest away so I would assume that would mean less crowds. I am very concerned with the time, though. We will need to be tendered to the port, sometimes a long, lengthy process. Then, a bus ride to the boat and then a boat ride to the ruinis. Our cruise does not offer this excursion, which makes me think timing is an issue. URGH! I will look into Major Tom and see who else offers this, and then make a decision on whether or not I think it is doable. Missing the ship would NOT be a good thing! :)))

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