The Best Location for Marine Education on the Belize Barrier Reef

Educating students about the marine environment of Belize

We are an educational and research NGO which immerses both local Belizean students and study abroad students in experiential learning on the Belize Barrier Reef. Providing bespoke learning programs to middle school through to university students, Tobacco Caye Marine Station can tailor a study abroad program to any age and education focus.

Our Projects

The invasion of the Red Lionfish in Belize started in December 2008. They are the first invasive species to establish themselves in the Western Atlantic. Our project seeks to remove them from around the South Water Caye Marine Reserve and document what species they are preying upon.


Plastic pollution and marine litter is one of the greatest threats our oceans are facing. 8 million metric tons of plastic is entering our oceans every single year! Our reef clean project is tackling this global issue by collecting, documenting, reusing, repurposing and disposing of marine litter washing on our reef crest and island.


Our oceans are changing and coral species are struggling to adapt to this change, causing more recurrent signs of bleaching and disease. With the citizen science project from the University of Queensland’s Coral Watch Project we are helping to monitor the reef health and recording our results on a global database.


Lionfish eggs prevented from being released

Total amount of lionfish culled and researched by TCMS

Total amount of plastic nurdles collected by doing Nurdle Patrol Surveys

Total number of eco-bricks made

Total number of corals surveyed for bleaching through

Discover our Marine Internship Program!

The most fun you will have when you learn, evolve, adapt, & understand. Become a marine ambassador for our oceans

Providing hands on learning with our STEM research projects

Over the past four years we have developed research projects which students can get involved with at any age. From finding nurdles on the beach to dissecting and holding the invasive lionfish, we strive to provide interesting and meaningful experiences to inspire the next generation into science. For students looking to create a research project, we are happy to share our historical data on our research and collaborate.


Our Unique Campus

Tobacco Caye is one of 450 sand and mangrove cayes located right on top of the Belize Barrier Reef. With this easy accessible marine environment as our classroom, students can explore the diverse biomes of coral reefs, seagrass and mangroves with our knowledgeable guide teams. Our educational field excursions around the South Water Caye Marine Reserve offer students the opportunity to snorkel in a variety of unique flora and fauna locations. We also take the opportunity to visit the Smithsonian Caribbean Research institute just a 15 minute boat ride away.


Tobacco Caye Marine Station Office

“The instructors at Tobacco Caye Marine Station did a terrific job of instructing students about marine resources and also demonstrating, through their management of the station, what responsible marine stewardship looks like. The activity of the Reef Clean with Tobacco Caye Marine Station drove home for our students the importance of stewardship and their personal connection to problems of global significance.”


University of Wisconsin Oshkosh