Wildlife Medicine in Belize and Guatemala - FAQs
What does the registration fee include?
The registration fee includes airport pick-up and transfer, all accommodations throughout program (shared occupancy, private room at additional cost), all lectures/equipment/lab costs, basic international health insurance*, some meals (see itinerary), excursion to Yax-Ha Maya Ruins, transportation to/from Flores, and the program at ARCAS Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.
What is not included in the registration fee?
The registration fee does not include airfare, personal items, passport and border crossing fees, laundry service, alcoholic beverages, some meals (see itinerary), trip cancellation insurance, additional “add-on” excursions, and other incidental expenses.
Can I bring a guest?
Due to the nature of this trip, the course is only open to veterinary professionals and guests are not permitted.
Will additional excursions be available?
Yes. There is an optional birding trip the morning of Wednesday, March 11th for an additional $20. Also, a two-day trip to Caye Caulker can be added on to the end of the trip (March 14-16, 2020) for $295/person (includes ground transportation to the water taxi in Belize City, round trip water taxi, 2 nights hotel, half-day reef/snorkel excursion with gear).
What is the BWRC/Wildlife Institute?
The Wildlife Institute (WI) was founded in the U.S., in 2011 along-side the Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic (BWRC) by Justin Ford MSc. (Ecological Manager) and Dr. Isabelle Paquet-Durand (Wildlife Veterinarian). WI’s mission is to support wildlife conservation through education and travel. Justin Ford is the general educational and development programs director at WI, while Dr. Isabelle provides free veterinary care to wildlife at BWRC.
The BWRC’s mission is to support wildlife conservation; animal health and welfare; and the veterinary profession in Belize through medical services, education, research, and collaboration. They have provided free veterinary care to over 1,300 animals. The facility is a modern, fully staffed veterinary clinic with x-ray and gas anesthesia; for both wildlife and domestics. BWRC rescues, and when possible, rehabilitates injured, orphaned, displaced or otherwise imperiled wildlife in cooperation with existing facilities and the Forest Department. They also assist the Forest Department in providing health assessments for captive and confiscated wildlife.
What is ARCAS?
ARCAS is a non-profit Guatemalan NGO formed in 1989 by a group of Guatemalan citizens who were concerned about their country’s wildlife. ARCAS was originally created for a very specific and urgent purpose: to build a rescue center to care for and rehabilitate wild animals that were being confiscated on the black market by the Guatemalan government. Since its establishment, the ARCAS Rescue Center has grown into one of the largest and most complex rescue centers in the world, receiving between 300 and 600 animals of more than 40 species per year.
For more info, visit their website at http://arcasguatemala.org/.
What travel documents are needed?
All U.S. citizen travelers should have at least 6 months of validity remaining on their U.S. passports after the date of entry or they may be turned back by the airline or immigration.
Belize - No visas are required for citizens of the United States for tourist visits of up to 30 days, but they must have proof of their intent to depart Belize (such as onward or return air tickets) and proof of sufficient funds to maintain themselves in Belize.
Guatemala – No visas are required for U.S. citizens for stays of 90 days or less.
Are there any health or safety concerns with traveling to Brazil and Guatemala?
Program participants are required to carry a current health insurance policy that will cover the full cost of their care and medical evacuation from Belize and the region, and repatriation of remains. Additionally, participants are encouraged to purchase travel insurance should unforeseen events disrupt or alter their itinerary.
Students will not knowingly come into contact with animals that show signs of infection with transmissible zoonotic diseases. Recreational Activities: Some recreational activities may be included in course itineraries. All activities incur inherent risks. Activities selected are deemed low-risk, such as hiking, walking up temple stairs, swimming and snorkeling. We are not responsible for the health and safety of participants engaged in off-itinerary recreation and extracurricular activities.
Please check the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website for current health information for travelers to Belize and Guatemala. No vaccines are required, but several are recommended. Visit with your healthcare provider to determine if any additional precautions or vaccinations are necessary for your trip.
Do I need to make my own flight arrangements?
Yes. You will be responsible for making your own flight arrangements. Arrival/departure is from the Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE) in Belize City. Plan to arrive before noon on 3/7/20 and book an afternoon flight for departure on 3/14/20.
What should I pack?
Registered participants will receive a detailed list of items to bring. Pack and be prepared for all weather conditions (hot, humid, dry, cool, wet, etc.). Comfortable walking footwear, including closed toe shoes, and clothing that dries quickly will be necessities. Plan to bring any required medications, sunscreen, and bug spray.
How much CE is offered?
Approximately 30 hours of CE is available during this course.
Do I have to know Spanish in order to participate?
No, there is no requirement to know Spanish to participate in this trip.
What is the average cost of meals not included in program?
Estimated meal costs that aren’t included in the program are typically between $5-15/meal depending on the restaurant. There are many dining options within walking distance to the hotel accommodations.
Where will I stay?
While in Belize, participants will stay at Hode’s Place, which is located in the Town of San Ignacio. It is conveniently situated within walking distance to restaurants, bars, and other tourist attractions. For the overnight trip to Guatemala, participants will stay at the Hotel Peten in Flores, Guatemala, which is located on the shores of Petén Itzálake in Flores Island. Accommodations will be shared, and a limited number private rooms are available for an additional charge.