Toledo Ecotourism Association

Visit the picturesque Maya villages of southern Belize and step hundreds of years back in time to the great Maya civilizations of antiquity.

Surrounded by virgin rainforests and pristine rivers teeming with fish, birds and other wildlife, ancient ruins and customs link the past with the present, providing you with a utterly authentic experience of rural village life.

Let us guide you to thundering waterfalls, majestic caves, wildlife sanctuaries and cultural wonders of Toledo District.  Don't speak Spanish? No problem! Belizean Mayans are all taught English and you will be able to share in their lives without any language barrier.

We promise you the experience of a lifetime.

The Toledo Ecotourism Association is one of the first and most successful Community-Based Ecotourism operators in the region. It is owned and operated by an association of Mopan, Kek'chi and Garifuna villages, and the Association enables the local people to plan, control and profit directly from ecotourism.

About the TEA

The T.E.A. was founded in 1990. The idea came out of a series of workshops on ecotourism in Punta Gorda.  With virtually no funding, villagers volunteered their labor to build five guesthouses in Mayan and Garifuna villages, gathering much material out of the surrounding jungle.

In 1995 the group received financial support of US $55,000 from Maya Forest Foundation and Natural Resource Management Project, which bought the materials to build five more guesthouses, five multi-purpose buildings, five concrete water tanks, while renovating the old guesthouses.

Once again, in a show of solidarity, the communities volunteered their labor.

The structure of the T.E.A. is based on sharing the benefits of tourism as widely as possible (see the packages tab for more info), and features a democratic management model.

The Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary are elected for each T.E.A. village every two years. In addition to this members vote on a district level and this board oversees the running of the program, ensuring guesthouses maintain high standards and that the tourism is distributed evenly among villages.

A rotation principle is used throughout the organisation. From the guides to the food providers, the entertainers to the actual villages, every effort is made to distribute the oppurtunities to as many families as possible (~ 8 families participate per village).