The artfully sustainable Spanish Creek Rainforest Reserve cultivates noninvasive bamboo, and sources rainwater and food from its 2,000 acres to create a true haven in the rainforest.

By Melanie Lieberman
February 04, 2016

Tucked between a second-growth rainforest and a wildlife sanctuary in Belize lies the haven of Spanish Creek. Here, Mark Ellenby and Sol Tucker have created a 2,000-acre reserve—including a solar-powered farm cultivating one of the largest growths of noninvasive bamboo in all of Central America. Ellenby shares with GLP Films how he and his team practice pesticide- and herbicide-free farming to create a finca that is completely self-sustainable. Water comes from the rain and food is grown on the land, including the fruitful orchards of avocado, banana, plantain, passion fruit, and mango trees.

Travelers, volunteers, and villagers from Rancho Dolores are encouraged to stop by the Spanish Creek Rainforest Reserve and learn about the property’s pioneering agroforestry, agritourism, and conservation efforts. Of course, there’s always time for leisure: guides offer crocodile safaris, trail walks, canoeing, horseback riding, or simply relaxing beneath one of the bamboo palapas. “We always have this belief,” said local Belizean and tour guide Raymond Reneau, “the forest is not ours: it’s for our children.”