|Location||Caribbean Island located in the south of Belize|
|Start dates||Throughout the year, starting on a weekend
Project closed 28th September to 1st November 2014
|Duration||1 week - 6 months|
|Availability||Spaces available, fully booked 22nd June - 26th July 2014|
|Cost||From £795 / $1255 - see pricing table below|
Your primary role is to contribute towards the projects on-going surveys, data collection and conservation work. By volunteering at the project you will make a major contribution to the understanding of the reef ecosystem in the Sapodilla Cayes. Your time and efforts will also help to raise awareness of the importance of the marine life and the research collected by the project team helps inform government decisions, particularly in regard to the department of fisheries.
The reef conservation project is not for profit and the majority of the programme costs directly benefit the local community. The contribution also provides a critical source of funding for future research and conservation work.
Read what past volunteers have said about this project in our Belize Reef Conservation reviews.
Volunteers work 5 days per week (Monday-Friday), each day will differ but volunteer tasks can include:
Diving is structured, but relaxed, and not regimented. There are opportunities to do a mix of reef check survey dives and species dives, wall dives and of course fun dives, and generally there will be 2-4 dives per day. The early morning and night recreational dives are a great way to begin or end your day. Often new dive sites are discovered by the project team as there are few other divers in the area
For beginner divers it is safe non-challenging place to learn with visibility in Caribbean waters ranging from 15-40 metres and no strong currents. To participate in the conservation work you will need to be at least PADI Open Water certified and beginners will obtain this in their first few days.
There are usually around 6-10 volunteers at one time with a maximum of 15.
PADI Dive Courses
Whilst on the island you can improve your diving skills by doing additional PADI courses; Advanced Diver, Rescue Diver, a variety of speciality dives, EFR first aid or your Divemaster course.
PADI Open Water is included in the placement cost but the following courses can be done for an additional cost:
The projects primary objective is to encourage the Belizean Government to enforce preservation zones in the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve. They carry out marine surveys in the area surrounding the island, collecting data on the local fish & invertebrate population and this is submitted internationally to Reef Check headquarters for inclusion in global coral reef status reports, and locally to the Belizean Department of Fisheries.
They have been very active in the monitoring of local fish populations, particularly the lionfish, and have been instrumental in the increase in community awareness campaigns.
During the week volunteers are based on a 1-acre squared island, the surrounding area is abundant in marine life and you can take a kayak out, fish (hook and line) or snorkel around the island. On the reef, along with the more common marine life, volunteers frequently spot hawksbill and loggerhead turtles, spotted eagle rays, dolphins and manta rays. If you are lucky, at full moon you may also see whale sharks and the fantastic light show from the String of Pearls.
You will be working 5 days a week and then return to the mainland town of Punta Gorda at the weekend. At the weekends you can enjoy the laid back Belizean life in sleepy Punta Gorda or stay in a tropical jungle lodge. You will find yourself becoming part of the local community in Punta Gorda at the weekends when you return to the mainland. For example the project sponsors a local football team and guests often go along to watch the matches.
During the week volunteers stay on a small island off the coast of Punta Gorda, accommodation private rooms in small simple cabanas overlooking the sea. The main building is run on solar power. all rooms are clean and comfortable and have fans. There are also rooms suitable for couples. The bathroom facilities are shared and the communal area.
Weekend accommodation is not included but the project has a guesthouse available and there are a number of hotels for various budgets in Punta Gorda.
|Before you go||On your placement|
|On your return|
|Not included: Flights, travel insurance, visa (if required), PADI admin fee, PADI Dive Manual(s), World Heritage National Park fee, weekend accommodation. Budgeting guidance is provided in our information booklet which we will email you when you apply.|
PoD is run as a non-profit volunteer organisation. Fee levels are set to match costs and any surplus monies are distributed to the projects we work with via the PoD Charity - for more details click here.
Prices in currencies other than GBP are indicative only and volunteers are invoiced in GBP. For current exchange rates please see www.xe.com
Becky in the PoD UK team is the placement manager for this project so if you apply you will hear from her soon!
|Caribbean Children's Home
|Caribbean Wildlife Centre
|All conservation projects|
· Training for survey methodologies
"I think what you do for people and communities is absolutely amazing..."
Population: approx 300,000
Currency: Belize Dollar (BZD)
Life expectancy: 76.9 years
Percentage living on less than US $1.25 per day: 12.2%
Number of threatened animal species: 92
Health & Safety: FCO travel advice
If you are interested in volunteering as a family we have a range of amazing projects suited for families with children under 18
We are passionate about volunteering and are dedicated to providing well supported projects where there is genuine need
Combine two or more projects to make the volunteering trip of a lifetime!