Water & Ablutions
The water system in mainland Belize towns/cities is normally potable and safe to drink. Be sure to bring a durable water bottle and we will provide drinking water throughout your guided time in our care.
Fresh water out on the cayes is at a premium. Most water available on the islands is from rainwater catchment systems or has been imported from the mainland, so water conservation is of the utmost importance to the inhabitants of the islands.
Each lodge will have a closed water system of their own which is controlled with hydro, solar and generator powered water pumps. Water is pumped into raised black tanks to provide pressure to the system. The water in these tanks are warmed by the sun. At some lodges this will be the only source of heat. Some facilities will have a propane or electric hot-water-on-demand system. Often generators will be stopped through the night as a conservation measure. This can affect water pressure and availability of light in the night and early morning.
Showers should be taken sparingly and using a technique that helps conserve water; a quick rinse, soaping up while the water is turned off, then turning the water on to rinse off.
Many of the lodges we use have a mixture of en-suite and shared bathroom facilities. Toilets on the islands are generally flushing toilets, but some islands will have composting toilet facilities. Our island Adventure Basecamps have composting toilet facilities with private stalls and sinks with running tap water collected as described above. There is a separate shower building with private stalls that use the same water system. If your trip has a Moho River Paddle & Camping Component then your bathroom facilities will be low-impact pit toilets with thatch walls and roof, built by our Maya bush guides.
Biodegradable Soap & Shampoo
The use of biodegradable soap and shampoo is recommended as a way to help protect the reefs and surrounding environment. These products are difficult to source locally. IE encourages guests to bring environmentally responsible soap products and use these when products provided by local businesses are not clearly marked as biodegradable. Our basecamps and lodges provide biodegradable hand soaps, but please bring appropriate shampoos. There are some all in one solutions, such as camp suds, but there are many products on the market.
Biodegradable sun-block is environmentally friendly sunscreen that lacks the harmful ingredients that are destroying the world's coral reefs. These sunscreens are biodegradable, meaning they break down naturally in the environment, and eco-friendly, meaning that they minimize damage to the environment. We strongly encourage using only biodegradable sunscreen anytime you are going to be in the water.
Please read and understand the labeling.
"Natural", "environmentally friendly", and "nontoxic" may lack standard definition. Even "biodegradable" means little, unless the claim is specific: for example, "biodegradable in three days" or "certified biodegradable." Look for meaningful claims such as . "Certified biodegradable" means independently verified, as is the Leaping Bunny symbol on Earth Friendly and Seventh Generation detergents. This logo indicates that a product wasn't tested on animals during any stage of its development. Another tip: Look for specific claims such as "contains no artificial dyes or fragrances," then look for an ingredients list, which might help confirm the claim. Some of the most harmful ingredients that many sunscreens contain may actually be biodegradable even though they are harmful to the reef and your body. For more information, see this article - https://poolonomics.com/sunscreen-guide/ Link does not open new page
You can find responsible brands at REI, MEC or similar outdoor retailers. You may also find some brands on-line through various sources such as Amazon or at your local health food store.
Plastic in our oceans and on the Cayes
Unfortunately, garbage (especially plastics) is found throughout the world's coastal regions, Belize is no exception. Weather, wind, and currents can all cause excessive build-up of garbage to occur along the beaches and in the mangroves. The sad part is that much of this garbage is from offshore and not from mainland Belize. Besides making sure that we leave no garbage while on tour, we try wherever possible to pick up some of this extra refuse. IE organizes a number of work crews each season to clean up the cayes where we camp and it is an integral part of our educational trip programs.