Facilitating successful curated trips requires a lot of work.

A reliable plan is needed for every detail, like…

a team of people having fun in Belize

Selecting the best staff, guides and drivers

two men standing in front of a bus in Belize

Arranging private, reliable transportation

photo of a lodge in Belize

Choosing safe lodging with onsite amenities

delicious food photo in Belize

Providing excellent food

a group of 4 people having fun in Belize

Planning enriching, relevant activities

…One snag can ruin an entire trip, endanger guests, and reflect poorly on our team. Discovery Global Travel provides the highest service quality, AND we will do everything FOR you. Meaning from the moment you step off the plane… our team will exceed all of your needs.

All you have to do is soak up the experience of a lifetime.

Meet the Team that Makes Magic Happen:

headshot photo of Justin Ford in Belize

Justin Ford

Get to know our founder
Director & General Manager

The summer I turned 18, I was desperate to see the world… so I got my passport, bid goodbye to my hometown in Oklahoma, and set off for my first study abroad trip. 3 study abroads, 6 months in Bolivia, and a few years in Europe later — I knew I had found my calling.

A Harvard graduate, I hold a BA in Global Studies and an MS in Sustainability and Environmental Management. Previously, I taught Natural Resources Management and created a Wilderness Survival program in Belize to teach students to survive in the jungle.

I’ve also served as the co-founder and director of the Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic and Wildlife Institute. I’ve specialized in conservation, education, health and study abroad for more than a decade…

… I’ve lived in Belize for about 20 years, and worn a lot of hats: everything from a cook, to a driver to a tour leader…to a business owner, professor, university sports director, and an environmental consultant!

In a less formal capacity, I’ve been a PTA president and sporting events organizer and directed a summer camp for kids. I’m the father of 2 teens and a twenty-something and I visit my grandmother in Boerne, Texas every chance I get.

Needless to say, I’m passionate about education, service quality excellence, good wine, travel, conservation and animal welfare, and health & human development.

I know I’ve found my calling, because I love both the exchange of ideas and making people feel really welcome.

To me, creating the ultimate study abroad experience is an art form, like orchestrating a Broadway play. When it’s done right, study abroad evokes feelings, tastes, smells and sounds by combining hands-on experiences with stimulating new ideas. I know I’ve done my job well when I see my students in those moments of reflective silence at the end of the day; I can see on their faces that they’ve had a rich, deep experience that has touched them forever. That’s when I know I’ve made a difference — both in the life of my students and in all the lives they will touch moving forward.


I can’t wait to see your students’ lives transform, because of the experience we design for them.


Jaime Vega

Culinary and Experiential Curator

Jaime is an energetic, creative, overachiever whose mission in life is to make you happy during your trip. She ensures that your needs are met intuitively, the stress of travel is eclipsed, and your days are seamlessly balanced. Jaime understands the full impact of our trips isn’t unlocked until you take the time to stop, savor, and dream. She carefully curates your experience, and garnishes it with comforts that evoke security, warmth, and happiness. She’s also takes the lead on our Maya, Native Natural Traditions, and Culinary Arts trips.

A Puerto Rican-American, Jaime originally came to Belize to work with Dr. Rosita Arvigo at Ix Chel Farm, where she furthered a life-long interest in traditional medicine. She fell in love with our beautiful country and stayed. In her life outside of Discover Global Institute, Jaime owns a business that specializes in delivering culinary bliss to the clients of high-end tour operators. An Amherst College alumni, she’s a mom (to humans, cats, and dogs), the daughter of a policeman, and passionate lover of Studio Ghibli anime and carrot cake. 


Jannine Gillett

Group Leader

Jannine’s passion is endangered species–especially snakes. Native born, she’s proud to call Belize home because she loves to snorkel the barrier reef and encounter the amazing diversity of marine life. She’s a dog mom of two…and ironically, both of her pups hate the beach! She’d love to add a ball python to her family, and a rescue cat soon. 

Jannine holds a BSc. in Wildlife Conservation and plans to complete her Masters in Genetics. She’s done ABB Beetle and Hellbender research at the Columbus Zoo.

When she’s not exploring animal life, she loves cosplay, reading mystery novels, and traveling. Her favorite travel moment so far was staying in a castle in Ireland that was the setting for one of her favorite Nora Roberts novels. She also enjoys fishing and watching American football with her dad.

Jasmin Ford

Jasmin Ford

Group Leader | Future Marketing Manager

Born in Germany, Jasmin spent her early childhood in Europe. Her family moved to Belize when she was still young, and Jasmin grew up immersed in Belize’s conservation scene. Her mother is a wildlife vet and runs a wildlife center, and her dad taught week-long wilderness survival courses. Jasmin remembers learning to survive off frogs and snails and craft her own bush shelters with a machete and palm leaves. She spent countless hours swimming in the turquoise rivers, hiking in the Pine Ridge, and kayaking. Stepping into a similar role as her parents was natural for her.

She’s currently pursuing her Bachelor’s of Economics at the University of Texas and working as a TA and Honors College Mentor. She joins Discovery Global Institute as a trip leader in the summers.

She’s also passionate about music, dance, and theater. Her favorite quote is, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re probably right.”


Carmita Lemus

Group Leader

Carmita was born and raised in San Ignacio, she grew up in a single parent home and is the 11th child of 14 children. She feels most fulfilled and happiest when serving humanity, taking road trip discovering rivers, waterfallsand swimming in fresh water across Belize.

She also has a great interest in music and has supported local artists with gigs to increase their visibility and promote their music skills. Carmita considers herself destined to serve humanity. She has dedicated nineteen years of her career in the service of humanity and have worked with several non profits across Belize. She is a certified counselor and is pursuing a Bachelors in Business Marketing.

She has a special believe and interest in youth and their development and seeks every opportunity to work and support young people.

She is the Lead founding member and also the Director of Fountain of Youth Foundation a non profit organization.

Yorleny Jiminez

Yorleny Jiminez

Medical Studies and Field Clinic Manager

Dr. Yorleny Jimenez is a practicing community health specialist, medical professor, Mother, dog mother and exercise enthusiast. During Covid, she and her then 15 year son started a dog-walking business which gave him both focus and exercise during those dark days of quarantine. Dr. Yorleny is a native-born Tica (Costa Rican) who emigrated to Belize. Dr. Yorleny has a small private practice, but focuses most of her attention on community health and teaching.

For years her mission has been to improve lives of many of Belize’s most vulnerable through health care and education. A big part of this is Dr. Yorleny’s work with nursing and medical students and their faculty in providing community health clinics.

“My passion is community health and teaching. When we work in the underserved villages that have pressing healthcare challenges, I know that we’re making a positive, long-term impact on community health. It’s clear to me that our work is important and appreciated. My husband is also a doctor for the ministry of health and our 16 year old son Darian wants to become an engineer. I’m so grateful for the blessings bestowed on our family.”

Discovery Global Travel’s Mission is to provide the best and safest possible experience for our guests and support the sustainable growth of communities in which we operate.

This was an eye-opening and life-changing experience.

When I arrived, I only had a vague idea what to expect. This trip, however, gave me SO much more than that. The trip was amazing because of the variety of the work we did, but more importantly, the persistence and passion the team has for their work. This made me love Belize even more. I will always carry my memory of Belize with me!”

– Katherine Zhou, Boston Massachusetts

The time I spent in Belize was life-changing in every aspect.

Words fall so short of my actual experience. It was the most real and involved situation I have ever been in up until this point, and I’ve utilized the knowledge I gained over and over again. Belize now feels like my second home and the team feels like my family. The whole team was so involved while I was there, and they’re still part of my life today. I honestly don’t know how the direction of my life would have gone if I hadn’t gone to Belize!”

– Helen Sung, UCLA

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