The Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) organization works in collaboration with various buffer communities in the vicinity of the Chiquibul National Park and Vaca Forest Reserve. These communities are critical to the protection of the park and reserve, as they help to prevent encroachment and illegal activities in these protected areas. FCD works closely with these communities to promote sustainable development practices and provide training and education on conservation and natural resource management. Through these efforts, FCD is able to strengthen the relationship between these buffer communities and the protected areas, and ensure the long-term sustainability of the region’s natural ecosystems.
San Jose Succotz is a village in Belize located on the southern bank of the Mopan River. It is home to the Xunantunich Maya Site and has its own administration, schools, grocery stores, and is also home to the only realistic co-management organization the FCD which already manages the adjacent Chiquibul National Park. FCD has its base in San Jose Succotz which is relatively close and in the past, FCD has been involved in various activities in the various buffering communities around the Vaca Forest Reserve and the Chiquibul National Park.
Nestled in the western district of Belize lies the picturesque Benque Viejo del Carmen Town, a vibrant community with a rich cultural heritage. Located just six miles from the Guatemalan border, this town is a melting pot of Maya, Mestizo, and Spanish cultures, offering visitors a unique glimpse into the history and traditions of the region. With stunning natural scenery, friendly locals, and plenty of activities to enjoy, Benque Viejo del Carmen Town is a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Belize.
Nestled in the heart of the captivating Cayo District in Belize, Arenal Village is a hidden gem that offers a tranquil escape amidst the natural beauty of the region. The Village of Arenal is located right on the international border with Guatemala, therefore the village consists of two sections: the western half in Guatemala and the eastern half in Belize. This picturesque village is tucked away near the banks of the pristine Mopan River and is surrounded by lush rainforests and rolling hills.
Nestled in the foothills of the Maya Mountains in the Cayo District of Belize lies the charming village of Cristo Rey. Surrounded by lush jungle and stunning natural scenery, this tight-knit community is home to friendly locals and offers visitors a glimpse into the traditional way of life in Belize. With a rich cultural heritage, vibrant markets, and plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, Cristo Rey is the perfect destination for anyone looking to immerse themselves in the beauty and culture of Belize.
Located in a valley, about a 20-minute drive from the twin towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena, the village of San Antonio, Cayo lies along the way to the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve. Populated primarily by Yucatec Mayas, the village is known for its artists and healers. San Antonio is also the home of the late Don Elijio Panti, a shaman guide and herbal healer. The Elijio Panti National Park established in his honor is located just at the buffer zone of the village along with its neighboring villages of Cristo Rey and El Progresso. The village also boasts a Maya ruin, Pacbitun.
Seven Miles is occasionally referred to as Seven Miles El Progresso. The village is in an agricultural region with the most frequent crops being citrus and banana. It is one of 192 municipalities administrated at the village level with a population of 482 in the 2010 census. The village is on karst plateau containing many caves. Barton Creek Cave underlies the village and its entrance is at the base of the cliffs.
These photos can capture the beauty of the natural surroundings, as well as the unique traditions and practices of local residents. By sharing these photos, we can raise awareness of the importance of these buffer communities in protecting our natural resources and promote sustainable development practices that can help to preserve the region’s cultural and environmental heritage for generations to come.