I have had so much fun getting to know Captain Amado Watson these past six months and learning more about Belize ecotourism. His tour company, Caye Caulker Reef Friendly Tours, is very different from the average company you’ll find in Belize. He specifically focuses on providing animal friendly and reef friendly tours to guests.
People from everywhere in the world come to see the Belize reef that is thriving. But how do we as humans keep Belize ecotourism thriving while inevitably leaving our footprint on this magnificent place?
Amado specifically does these things differently to help:
- No chumming of the water to attract sharks to the boat
- No touching of wild animals
- Early tours when the reef is not as crowded with other boats
- Guests bring their own reusable water bottles
- No plastic packaging for food provided to guests while on tour
- Education while on tour about the natural reef habitat and how to maintain it
Listen to the episode:
6 Simple Ideas to Help the Ocean:
1. SIMPLY SAY NO. Be prepared with reusable items such as bottles, packaging, carrying bags, and straws, so that we can simply say no to these items when we’re out and someone offers them. If we run a business that offers these items, ask people if they want them before handing them out.
2. BOOK CONSCIOUS TOURS. It takes a little extra research time, but we can look for tours that go out earlier than others, specifically talk about their approach with animals and the natural environment, or mention bringing reusable containers for food and water.
3. TALK. PASS ON THE KNOWLEDGE. Tourism is often a very “word of mouth” business. We can share what we’ve learned with people around us and influence decisions just by providing information.
4. TAKE OUR OWN WATER BOTTLE. Literally everywhere. We can get into the habit of throwing our own water bottles into our purses or bags, making sure we even travel with them.
5. DON’T TOUCH ANIMALS. We can pay attention to offerings that include touching or riding animals, when we travel, but also in our home towns. Steer away from purchasing these experiences and share why we’re not doing it with others. This impacts the natural habitat and lives of the animals involved. It also assumes that these living beings want to be touched and handled. There’s a good chance that they don’t!
6. DON’T THROW FOOD TO ANIMALS. Giving human-made food to animals can disrupt their natural behavior and habitat. It’s best to really question this before doing it. Food that seems harmless to us could be harmful to them.
Important Links mentioned in this episode:
- Book at Caye Caulker Reef Friendly Tour and support Belize ecotourism
- Definition of “Chumming” and why it is bad
- Wild Tracks Manatee Rehabilitation in Belize
- Caye Caulker Strong Mangrove Protection Project with leader, Allie
- Other episodes on tourism and animals: Episode 34: Volunteer with Animals in Costa Rica for “Stop Animal Selfies” conversation, Episode 65: Elephants in Captivity with Ulara Nakagawa for visiting ethical sanctuaries, Episode 29: Exotic Animals: Rescue & Advocacy with Christin Burford
Captain Amado Watson is a professional tour guide with over 25 years of experience. He has a different approach than other guides on the island. He doesn’t believe in chumming the water to bring the sharks, rays and other animals close to the boat. He also refuses to molest or handle the animals. Feeding and handling the animals causes long term, irreversible damage. We are already invading their space just by snorkeling with them, but we are there just to look, not to touch.
ABOUT CAYE CAULKER REEF FRIENDLY TOURS:
Eco friendly snorkeling tours to Hol Chan and Caye Caulker Marine Reserves and more. Reef Friendly eco tourism that really cares – no feed, no waste! Caye Caulker’s only business nominated for? National Tourism Award 2019?.
Connect with Amado / Book a Tour:
Watch the episode:
Closed captioning transcript included in video. Subscribe on YouTube.