WHY GO NOW: Support bold moves to save the oceans
One of Central America’s smallest countries (roughly the size of Massachusetts) is making big waves in marine conservation. In June 2018 the Belize Barrier Reef System, which Charles Darwin deemed “the most remarkable reef in the West Indies,” was removed from the UNESCO World Heritage site danger list. The turnaround is due to extraordinary ocean protection and restoration measures, such as a moratorium on maritime oil exploration, tougher regulations to safeguard mangrove forests, and a planned government ban on single-use plastic-foam cups and plastic products by Earth Day 2019. One of the most biodiverse reefs on the planet, the Belize barrier reef is home to several rare and threatened species, such as the red-footed booby, West Indian manatee, and loggerhead turtle. Back on land, head to Belize’s largest Maya site, Caracol, which is bigger than its famous neighbor, Tikal, in Guatemala—but with a fraction of its visitors. The Belizean government plans to pave the road to Caracol in 2019, making the archaeological site more accessible.