insyte to the programme

Are you passionate about protecting the world’s oceans and preventing environmental issues like plastic pollution and coral bleaching? The Mexican coastal area known as the Riviera Maya, is one of the most unique and important habitats in the world. It is home to one of the largest coral ecosystems around the globe as well as critically endangered species such as the Hawksbill sea turtle. Human factors affecting this habitat include unsustainable fishing methods, unregulated property development along the coastline, unchecked tourism activities, and climate change. Since 2018, a new coral illness, known as white band, has caused fatalities in over 40% of Caribbean coral in one year.

Volunteers on this program will contribute to conserving the reef by conducting surveys to determine the health of the reef and growing coral fragments in a laboratory for transplantation onto the local reef to assist with recovery. They will also assist with minimising marine plastic pollution by collecting waste from local beaches and the ocean floor and then recording data on the waste collected. From May to October, they might also participate in a sea turtle monitoring program, depending on the needs of our local partners at the time. Engaging local students, businesses, and community groups, as well as international visitors in environmental education workshops is also an important year-round component of this program.

Your program will start with our professional diving staff and marine conservation experts providing you with the necessary training. Learn how to conduct underwater survey while preventing any harm to the reef. During this time you will be earning your PADI Advanced Open Water Diver and receive the Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality segment of the PADI Divemaster course. This unique offering by GVI & PADI teaches you about best practices when conducting underwater coral reef surveys. This is offered to participants staying for 2 weeks or longer.

itinerary

Day 1 - (Saturday)

Meet the local team at San Pedro Airport, tropic air terminal at 10 am on your project start date. 

A program representative can provide a pick up service from the airport or the ferry terminals the day before your programme start date from 12:00 PM - 06:00 PM. This would need to be arranged in advance.

Day 2

Receive orientation and training on the program and our local partners  as well as health & safety training. With the beach being a short walk away from your accommodation, you may be given some downtime to explore and enjoy the immediate surroundings.

Days 3 - 7

Most of your time during the week will be spent on project activities. Since this is a diving program, you will be trained up in your PADI Open Water as well as PADI Advanced Open Water depending on your program duration. 

The main focus is monitoring reef and mangrove ecosystems in both national reserves and unprotected waters and you could expect to dive or snorkel one to two times a day depending on the weather conditions.

Day 8 - Day 9 (usually Saturday and Sunday) 

Weekends will be free for you to explore the local culture and sites along with your fellow volunteers. 

Here are some examples of things you can do in your free time: 
  • Go for a recreational dive in Belize’s famous Great Blue Hole
  • Visit sacred Mayan cenotes, cave systems and temples surrounded by rainforests and waterfalls

Day 10-14 (Monday to Friday) 

Project work will commence and you will pick up on the activities you started in your first week.

Your last day

Oh no …… no matter how long you’re here for, one of these days it will be time to say goodbye to your newfound friends.  The local project coordinator will drop you back off at the airport in time for your departure flight.

snapshot

start date

Saturday's

minimum age

you gotta be 18 to do this program

Highlights

  • Preserve the unique ecosystem of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. 
  • Participate in a range of other impactful marine conservation initiatives. 
  • Contribute to UN SDG #14, Life Below Water. 
  • Learn to dive in the tropical waters of the Caribbean sea.
  • Earn your PADI Advanced Open Water Diver certification.
  • Complete GVI & PADI's unique qualification, the PADI Coral Reef Research Speciality.
  • Make new friends when you work with a group of like-minded individuals from around the world.

apply

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