Tropical Marine Ecology and Conservation is an intensive, experiential coral reef ecology course that covers a ten-day timeframe and includes classroom, field and laboratory components. Field work will be mainly snorkeling. As much as eight hours per day will be spent at sea. This is a very physical course. Students should be prepared for rigorous activity with a lot of sun exposure.


The focus of this course is to learn the key biotic and abiotic components of a coral reef system and how they interact. Students will come to understand the worldwide importance of coral reefs as well as their “canary in a coal mine” status. The course explores the current state of the Belize Barrier Reef east of Ambergris Caye and south to Caye Caulker. The biological and ecological history of this reef system will be used to inform attempts to predict its future under varied management strategies. Our local findings will be theoretically applied to all coral reef systems. We will also explore anthropogenic activities that have positive and negative impacts on these ecosystems in general. Lectures will encompass uninformed human activities locally and globally that can be addressed to achieve a more positive outcome for coral reefs.

Belize’s Barrier Reef is a series of coral reefs straddling the coast of Belize. The Belize Barrier Reef is a 300 kilometers long section of the 900 kilometers long Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. It is the second largest coral reef system in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and is popular for scuba diving and snorkeling.

The Belize Barrier Reef is home to a large diversity of plants and animals and is one of the most diverse ecosystems of the world. It is comprised of 70 hard coral species, 36 soft coral species, 500 species of fish, and hundreds of invertebrate species. With 90% of the reef still needing to be researched, it is estimated that only 10% of all species have been discovered.


Our 2021-2022 programs are open for applications and include our COVID-19 100% Tuition Refund Policy. If a program is canceled by C.E.L.A. Belize due to COVID-19, we will refund 100% of any program tuition you have paid (including the deposit).


Section B: June 1 – June 11, 2022


Jan 2 to Jan 13, 2022


Class schedules may be subject to change depending on farm availability

Introduction & Orientation

Barrier Reef Structure

Coral Ecosystems

Nurse Sharks

Green Turtles

Free Time To Discover Belize



Program tuition is $3,180, not including international airfare.

Interest-free payment plans are available. Current college students may be able to use federal financial aid toward their tuition.

The first $500 of your tuition (your program deposit) holds your space in the course. This deposit is non-refundable. All prices are in US dollars.

Want to stay for a whole month? Combine 2 courses!

Tuition for 2 programs is $6,360 Only $5900 – SAVE $460 on your month of adventures in Belize!


  • Course
  • Housing
  • Airport pickup
  • Class excursions
  • All meals
  • Orientation

Not included:

  • $30 Application fee

  • Transcript
  • Personal budget for meals, tours, laundry, evening activities, souvenirs, etc

  • Airfare

  • Medical insurance (required)


Want to study abroad but not sure if you can afford it? You are not alone! Whilst studying abroad gives you an appreciation for the world outside of your home country, grows your character and confidence, gives you great opportunities, may still worry about paying off student debt in the future. Thankfully there are a couple of options you can pursue that may make that trip of a lifetime a little bit more affordable.

The Gilman Scholarship offers awards of $5000 for undergraduate study abroad for U.S. undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university. Talk to us about applying!


Many of our alumni have been successful raising money from friends, family, and community through crowdfunding. Tell your story, share your passion, and people may want to be a part of your adventure and growth!

The Gilman-McCain Scholarship is open to US citizen undergraduate students who are child dependents of active duty service members and receiving any type of Title IV federal financial aid to participate in study abroad programs worldwide.

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