School & university group expeditions
Blue Ventures offers unique group expeditions to Madagascar and Belize – some of the most biologically diverse places known to man. These group expeditions are highly suitable for schools and universities wishing to visit a tropical location, with expert guidance and wide-ranging activities.
Students will see wildlife that exists nowhere else on Earth. And they will learn first-hand how conservationists work to protect threatened coral reefs, mangroves and other habitats that sustain life on Earth.
Since 2003, Blue Ventures has brought hundreds of people from around the world to join our conservation expeditions to the southwest coast of Madagascar, home to the fourth largest continuous coral reef system in the world.
Madagascar has been designated a “hotspot” for its vast biological diversity. Scientists say 6,000 marine species are known to live off the shores of Madagascar, but this represents only a small fraction of the underwater diversity yet to be discovered. Madagascar is also the only place you can find lemurs in their natural habitat. And the country is home to famous baobab forests where trees can live to be 1,000 years old and grow more than 10 metres in diameter.
Blue Ventures is now offering mini-expeditions, which will take students through national park areas where they can hike through canyons, swim beneath waterfalls and spot lemurs jumping through trees overhead.
Students will visit Blue Ventures’ conservation research site in the remote fishing village of Andavadoaka – population 1,200 – located along the southwest coast of Madagascar. In 2007, Andavadoaka won the prestigious Equator Prize award from the United Nations for its work with Blue Ventures and other conservation groups to protect local marine resources.
Students will learn snorkelling and fish identification. They will explore coral reef areas where they can spot brightly coloured angel and butterfly fish, endangered sea turtles, spotted stingrays, giant lobsters and fluorescent corals.
Students will stay in an eco-friendly lodge with seaside cabins, located adjacent to Andavadoaka. They will ride in traditional dug-out canoes called “pirogues” and learn how the nomadic Vezo people rely on the sea for food, transport and cultural identity. They will also see first-hand how conservationists are working with local villagers to create a vast reserve that will span 700-square kilometres, benefit 25 local villages and protect coral reefs, mangroves, sea grass beds and other threatened habitats.
We are now offering group expeditions to our new research site in northern Belize. Students will spend time in the village of Sarteneja with the local fishing community, receiving lectures and workshops from conservationists in the region, visiting the local manatee rescue and research facility, taking part in a school exchange and visiting ancient Mayan ruins. Transferring to our remote research site in the Shipstern Marine Reserve at Bacalar Chico, students will get the opportunity to learn about the rich coral reefs, important mangrove habitats with their mysterious sinkholes, bird and reptile populations.
It is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure for students to experience new cultures and habitats.
Example itinerary - Madagascar
Blue Ventures bring groups of students and teachers to Madagascar and Belize for two-week expeditions. The trips build student confidence, give real-life examples of conservation in action and help schools meet curriculum requirements. Trip activities can be tailored to your school’s needs. An example itinerary in Madagascar will include:
Days 1-3: Arrive in Madagascar's capital Antananarivo. Spend night in the historic city of Fiaranatsoa (“Place of Good Learning”). Travel to Isalo National Park to see waterfalls, sandstone rock formations and lemurs. Spend night in port city of Toliara.
Day 4: Arrive in fishing village of Andavadoaka, population 1,200. Safety review and tour of conservation project site. Swim test (in preparation for snorkeling activities).
Day 5: Seminar on local habitats, environmental threats and conservation strategies. Tour of Andavadoaka and meeting with village elders to discuss local Vezo culture and customs.
Days 6-8: Classes on region’s fish and corals. Snorkeling lessons and excursions to point out marine species.
Days 9-10: Tour of the spiny forest and baobab trees. Lessons on flora and fauna, mapping and surveying techniques. Lessons in Malagasy language. Visit local school and meet Vezo children.
Days 11-14: Depart Andavadoaka for Antananarivo. Stops in Toliara and Ranomafana National Park where visitors can see lemurs, chameleons and fossas, Madagascar’s largest predator, in pristine primary rainforests.
For groups of 12 students with one school representative and a Blue Ventures guide:
- from £1,250 per person, this price is a guide and may be subject to change
- Includes all meals, accommodation and activities for 13 nights. Price excludes drinks and snacks, visa, insurance and carbon offset payments
- Airfare will be paid separately and can be arranged with Blue Ventures’ preferred Travel Agency, or direct with airlines
- For groups of 12 students or more, school representatives pay only their airfare, visa and carbon offset fee
For more detailed information and example itinerary, please see the Group Expedition Guide.